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Socialism, Capitalism Are Dictionary's 2012 Words of The Year

Dec 5, 2012

Socialism and capitalism were the most-searched words in Merriam-Webster's online dictionary as the 2012 US presidential elections influenced people's interests.

Users searched for the definitions of both words especially around the Democratic and Republican conventions, presidential debates and times of heavy media coverage about healthcare, the US's leading dictionary publisher revealed on Wednesday.

"It's fascinating to see which language from a campaign or debate speech resonates with our users," said John M Morse, president and publisher at Merriam-Webster. "With socialism and capitalism, it's clear that many people turned to the dictionary to help make sense of the commentary that often surrounds these words."

Both became buzz words this year as US President Barack Obama sparred with Mitt Romney with both sides trading jabs. The Republicans frequently attacked Obama for what they claimed were socialist policies such as his healthcare law and calls for the expiration of tax cuts for the wealthy. Obama criticized Romney for his business practices and for remarks he made about Americans' dependence on the government.

Peter Sokolowski, editor at large, said that while both expressions were often searched throughout the year, there was a huge spike for socialism on Election Day.

"Lookups of one word often led to lookups of the other," Sokolowski said.

Other words that made the Top 10 list in 2012 include touche, democracy, schadenfreude and malarkey, an expression US Vice President Joe Biden used during a debate with then-vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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