Austerity is Merriam-Webster's most searched word of the year

Austerity leads pragmatic, moratorium, socialism and bigot as top 5 searched words of year

Austerity: "enforced or extreme economy." That's the word of the year according to dictionary specialist at Merriam-Webster.  The company's Top Ten Words of the Year for 2010 are determined by the volume of user lookups at Merriam-Webster.com.

According to a release, lookups for austerity peaked several times throughout the year, as people's attention was drawn to global economic conditions and the debt crises in Europe.  "Austerity clearly resonates with many people," said Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large at Merriam-Webster, who monitors online dictionary searches. "We often hear it used in the context of government measures, but we also apply it to our own personal finances and what is sometimes called the new normal."

The #2 word, pragmatic, was pinged a lot during the election season and the political negotiations that followed.

According to the company a number of words on this year's list reflect a somber national mood, with "ebullient" being the most upbeat - used a lot in the Chilean mine rescue.  

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year rankings for 2010 are:

1. austerity

2.pragmatic

3. moratorium

4. socialism

5. bigot

6. doppelganger

7. shellacking

8. ebullient

9. dissident

10. furtive

Since 2003 the most searched words have been:

2009: Admonish

2008: Bailout

2007: w00t

2006: Truthiness

2005: Integrity

2004: Blog

2003: Democracy

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