What one word can sum up a year marked by an endlessly brutal presidential election and a parade of celebrity deaths?
Well, according to Merriam-Webster that word is “surreal.”
The dictionary publisher released its annual “Word of the Year” list on Monday, featuring the terms most frequently searched on the company’s website throughout the year—and “surreal” was the leader of the pack.
The adjective, which Merriam-Webster defines as “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream,” was looked up most frequently after the November election—but other spikes in search traffic occurred after the Brexit vote, the Pulse nightclub shooting and the terror attack in Brussels, among other events.
“What’s truly remarkable this year about ‘surreal’ is that so many different stories led people to look it up,” Merriam-Webster editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski said in a press release.
The year’s other top word searches, in no particular order included:
- “Revenant,” or “one that returns after death or a long absence,” which gained in popularity following the release of the Leonardo DiCaprio film of the same name.
- “Icon,” which spiked after Prince’s death in April.
- In omnia paratus, a Latin phrase meaning “ready for all things,” which was searched frequently in November when Netflix’s Gilmore Girls revival was released.
- “Bigly,” which many television viewers thought they heard Donald Trump say in a September presidential debate—linguists determined that he actually said “big league.”
- “Deplorable,” following Hillary Clinton’s “basket” comments.
- “Irregardless,” which one announcer used during game seven of the World Series—it’s a real word, though the dictionary doesn’t encourage its use.
- Assumpsit, a Latin legal term for “contract” used at the Democratic National Convention.
- Faute de mieux, a French phrase meaning “for lack of something better” used in a Supreme Court verdict about abortion clinics in Texas.
- “Feckless,” a synonym of “weak” and “ineffetive” which Vice President-elect Mike Pence used to describe the Obama administration’s foreign policy in a debate.
One word that thankfully didn’t make the top 10 was “fascism,” the dictatorial political philosophy which many people looked up after Trump won the presidential election. But Merriam-Webster’s wonderfully catty Twitter account begged people to search for any other word:
Here’s hoping 2017 won’t lead to an increase in “fascism,” in the dictionary or elsewhere.