Did this year seem not real to you? Almost like a 365 day-long nightmare? Don’t worry, you are not alone. This year was a literal mess. I would even go further and say that it was a pile of garbage. When I look back on 2016, I will think of a burning trash can. Am I being dramatic? A little bit, but I don’t care. This year was surreal. I’m still reeling from the death of all all of the amazing icons who passed away. I went into this year thinking, “in omnia paratus” but just ended the year thinking about deplorable it was. Did any of those sentences make sense? It’s fine if they didn’t, since I used some of the most popular words that the internet searched in 2016 and TBH, they are pretty weird.
The best part about using lesser-known words is that people barely ever know what you’re saying, which just makes you sound smart (for the most part). Merriam-Webster recently released their most notable words of 2016, which is just a collection of random and strange words that people searched this year for some reason. So, if you want to sound smart and also learn some more cool words you can throw around, take a look at these 10 significant words that the internet learned in 2016:
Yes, this year was surreal. Is it weird that you guys searched that weird so much? A little bit. But it makes sense. A ton of super unbelievable things happened this year, so I’m sure you needed to find out what surreal really meant. The word actually became most popular on November 9th, the day after Donald Trump was elected president. Yep. Surrealism is defined as the “intense irrational reality of a dream” AKA when you cna’t belive that these things are really happening. That about sums up the year.
Remember when Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar earlier this year, and it seemed like 2016 was actually going to be okay? It wasn’t. But, Leo won for his performance in The Revenant, which caused people to head to the internet to learn WTF a revenant actually is. According to Merriam-Webster, a revenant is “one that returns after death or a long absence.” So, I’m guess that’s what happened in Leo’s movie. TBH, I didn’t even see it. I just know he gets stranded in the woods and get attacked by a bear.
You probably knew what an icon was before this year, but ICONIC and icon had a new meaning in 2016, since so many iconic things happened. But what really made this word became popular this year was the death of Prince, who was considered a pop icon.
4. In Omnia Paratus
Familiar with this phrase? Unless you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, probably not. The phrase, which means “ready for all things” in Latin, was used throughout the series as the motto of a secret group of college students called The Life and Death Brigade. More recently, it was used in the revival, which is probably why everyone was wondering what it actually meant. I do admit to googling this phrase, even thought I have heard probably a hundred times before. Hey, you learn something new every day.
This word basically just means “big” or “of great force,” but for some reason, every time Trump said “Big League,” the world thought he was saying “bigly” which is what sparked the popularity of the word. To be fair, it totally sounded like that’s what he was saying. It actually took a linguistics professor to figure out what he was saying. So, I don’t blame the world to looking up this word.
When Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters deplorable, they had to search it to make sure it wasn’t offensive. It was. It means something that is “very bad in a way that causes shock, fear, or disgust.” Obviously, Trump didn’t like that very much.
So, technically, irregardless is a word, but it is a little silly to say. After all, it’s essentially just another way to say “regardless.” Apparently, a sports commentator said it during the World Series, which caused a spike in searches. Irregardless, the world is still pretty weird. But ANYWAY.
I had never heard this word, but apparently it’s a legal term that means an “implied promise or contract not under seal on which an action may be brought.” It was another word that was brought up during the 2016 election, when Elizabeth Warren asked Joseph P. Kennedy III what it meant. He didn’t know, and I doubt anyone else in the room knew either.
9. Faute de Mieux
This French phrase means “for lack of something better or more desirable.” It’s a little bit like a fancier way to of saying you’ll settle for something less. Example: I hated 2016, but I had to live in it faute de mieux. Get it? Use this phrase to sound pessimistic while still sounding classy AF.
Feckless literally means “weak or ineffective.” Another definition: me. Kidding (kind of). This word became popular when Mike Pence said that President Obama’s foreign policy is “feckless.” Just another great example of the politics of 2016!
What word did you learn in 2016? Tell us in the comments!