Merriam-Webster recently announced top 10 words of the years of 2014 based on look ups frequency in their online dictionary. So this list is data driven (they are using look up frequency and also have temporal distribution of it across the year) and It’s quite interest to see how spikes in interest to certain words are correlate with real world events. It’s interesting to see that French expression “Je ne sais quoi” (“a pleasant quality that is hard to describe”) made its way into this list (guess what made people wondering about this phrase 🙂 ). I can not help but notice that modern technology makes life of modern lexicographers, dictionary editors and comparative linguist much more easier and unbelievable well equipped for their tasks by contrast with such pioneers of that field as James Murray – for those all luxuries of technology were unavailable (though while working on OED James Murray was already employing crowd sourcing techniques using newspaper adverts and postal service).
Here is video of Peter Sokolowski Merriam-Webster’s editor at large talking about Merriam-Webster top 10 Word of the Year look-ups for 2014:
You may also read about these 10 words on Merriam-Webster web site. Top 10 words are following: Culture, Nostalgia, Insidious, Legacy, Feminism, Je ne sais quoi, Innovation, Surreptitious, Autonomy, Morbidity.
\nReally interesting to see how real world events influence the look up frequency for certain words.