'Xenophobia' Declared Word of the Year Due to Brexit, Trump's Win
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) November 28, 2016
Pointing to the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and President-elect Donald Trump's election win, Dictionary.com named xenophobia as its Word of the Year.
In the announcement, the company also mentioned police shootings, the Syrian refugee crisis and transgender issues as major news stories that centered around people fearing the "other."
The website saw its biggest spike in look-ups for the word in late June after the referendum in which British citizens voted to leave the European Union. The second-largest spike came after a June 29 speech by President Barack Obama in which he blasted then-candidate Trump for using "nativism, xenophobia or worse" in his rhetoric.
Liz McMillan, CEO of Dictionary.com, said in the release, "While we can never know the exact reasons why xenophobia trended in our lookups this year, this reflects a desire in our users to understand the significant discourse surrounding global events."
According to Dictionary.com, the word, which is of Greek origin, entered the English language in the late 1800's. The Greek word "xenos" means stranger or guest, while the Greek word "phobos" means fear or panic.
Politicians and critics of Trump have routinely used the word following the election:
There is no working with a president who will bring forth programs based on bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 22, 2016
Here’s the truth: we must actively reject racism and xenophobia in our politics.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 28, 2016