Merriam-Webster’s 2015 Word of the Year

Merriam-Webster’s 2015 Word of the Year

Merriam-Webster’s 2015 Word of the Year

Written by Staff Writer

16 Dec, 2015 | 8:09 am

Suffixes are as fruitful as they are underappreciated

The editors of Merriam-Webster found that three little letters kept appearing at the end of words their users were looking up in 2015: –ism.

Merriam-Webster explained the rationale behind its choice thus: “A suffix is the Word of the Year because a small group of words that share this three-letter ending triggered both high volume and significant year-over-year increase in lookups at Merriam-Webster.com.”

Suffixes aren’t words in the technical linguistic sense; they’re bound morphemes — parts of words that can’t stand alone.

Ism – suffix that got the honor this year, due to searches for words like “racism,” “fascism” and “socialism.” Other “-ism” words that comprised popular Merriam-Webster searches this year include “feminism,” “communism,” “capitalism” and “terrorism.”

Merriam-Webster also noted a few other popular searches this year that might have been named word of the year if it weren’t for the non-word that won. These were “marriage,” “hypocrite,” “respect,” “inspiration” and “minion.”

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