PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dictionary.com has chosen the 2016 word of the year and it is… xenophobia.
Dictionary.com says they chose the word xenophobia because the year’s the most prominent news stories have centered around “fear of the other.”
“The largest spike in our data for the term xenophobia this year occurred on June 24 with a 938% increase in lookups—that’s hundreds of users looking up the term each hour. This was the day after the UK voted to leave the European Union as the result of a much debated referendum, also known as Brexit.”
Xenophobia finds its roots in two Greek words, according to Dictionary.com. Xénos meaning “stranger, guest” and phóbos meaning “fear or panic.” It is also a relatively new word, only entering English in the late 1800s.
According to Dictionary.com, soon after Brexit, the second largest surge in lookups for the term xenophobia led to the U.S. presidential race.