RISMEDIA, September 9, 2010—Merriam-Webster Inc., one of America’s leading language reference publishers has announced the “Top Words of Summer 2010,” based on the volume of user lookups at Merriam-Webster.com.
Topping the list by a wide margin was Sarah Palin’s attention-getting coinage refudiate, a blend of refute and repudiate, both of which were also heavily looked up. Refudiate was followed by the box office-inspired inception (2) and despicable (3) and by the oil spill-related moratorium (4). Rounding out the top five, and reflecting the effects of global economic conditions, was austere (5) and the closely related austerity, both of which peaked around the time of the Greek debt crisis but have remained heavily looked-up all summer.
The worlds of entertainment and politics, as well as sports, were also evident in the rest of the list, which includes cacophony (6), used to describe the sound of the vuvuzelas during the World Cup match in South Africa; doppelganger (7), used in reference to the similarity between Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, and Julia Roberts, who portrays her in the movie; and vapid (9), a word used by Supreme Court-nominee Elena Kagan in reference to the confirmation proceedings.
And in an odd pairing, both opulent (8) and frugal (10), made the list—opulent in reference to Chelsea Clinton’s wedding and frugal in several late-summer stories about how Americans are adjusting to new economic realities.
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