The Word of 2013? Merriam-Webster, Oxford Dictionaries Disagree
Beware, word-lovers, the war of 2013 is on: Following the Oxford English Dictionary's announcement that the Word of the Year for 2013 is 'selfie," Merriam-Webster has announced their own contender. And it is ... drum roll please ... 'Science.'
The Word of the Year is 'science.'
According to Merriam-Webster, the word 'science,' a derivative of the Latin scientia, has been around since the 14th century. It's not exactly a novel concept or sexy, but the dictionary claims it's still the word of the year.
Why? Apparently, in 2013, people looked up the word 'science' online 176 percent more often. (Take that, creationists.)
President and publisher of Merriam-Webster, Inc. John Morse had this to say:
The more we thought about it, the righter it seemed in that it does lurk behind a lot of big stories that we as a society are grappling with, whether it’s climate change or environmental regulation or what’s in our textbooks.
Although the dictionary powers-that-be probably weren't grasping at straws to decide on a word ("Right, so let's put in 'showrooming,' 'twerk,' 'olinguito,' 'bitcoin,' and, um, 'science' — like that'll get drawn!") we like to imagine this is how the decision went down:
9:41 p.m., Dec. 2, Merriam-Webster conference room.
The time for the announcement is drawing near, and the Word-of-the-Year team has nothing. Nouns and verbs are lost to them. Suddenly, John Morse remembers a textbook that the intern, Martha, left on his desk. What was that word on the cover?
It comes to him. He clears his throat.
"Science," Morse says. "The word of the year should be science."
His tone is as grave as the thup of a closing dictionary.
(A reverent silence.)
"Because, science," Morse says. (Note the use of the new prepositional-because.)
(Everyone slow claps.)
"To science!" intern Martha proclaims, raising her mug of fair-trade rooibos.
But no one's paying attention to Martha. No one ever pays attention to Martha.
(Image: Helder da Rocha/Flickr)