Merriam Webster Is Fighting Fascism With Wordplay

And 2016 is giving us a serious case of the fantods

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Merriam Webster has tweeted a cry for help, revealing that the most searched for word on its site for 2016 has been… 'fascism'.

This is particularly irksome, as the number one lookup becomes the word of the year. Which means 'fascism' will be this year's entry to a roster that includes such noble concepts as 'democracy', 'integrity' and of course, 'w00t' (an expression of joy, approval, or excited enthusiasm, particularly via digital channels dontcha know).

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Of course, it hasn't all been rosy. In 2008 we came crashing down from 'w00t' to 'bailout', which we followed up with 'admonish' and then 'austerity'. But we pulled ourselves together a little in 2011 with 'pragmatic', before flirting with 'socialism', and then reaching up to 'science' and 'culture'. Then 2016 happened, and people felt it was necessary to understand the exact meaning of 'fascism'. And the rest of the most searched words in 2016 aren't much more inspiring.

But Merriam Webster isn't taking this lying down. It is encouraging users to fight back by searching instead for a different word to try and topple 'fascism'. The word of choice, 'flummadiddle' (a noun, meaning… actually, I'm going to make you search for it to help the cause) has seen a spike in searches since they started tweeting about it.

While it may be too late to save 2016's word of the year from 'fascism', the effort of trying to oppose it with esoteric wordplay is to be applauded. In celebration, we've listed some of our favourite niche vocabulary, along with helpful hints of how to use each word before the year is out. Oh, and if all this has got you feeling a little blue, the most used hashtag on Instagram for 2016 was #love. W00t!

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Absquatulate, verb. To abruptly leave an event without informing the host.'The prosecco was running dangerously low, so I absquatulated for the party over the road.'

Beano, noun. British slang for a celebration or party. 'The networking drinks event turned into a right old beano when the karaoke got brought out.'

Crapulent, adjective. Sickness cause by excessive drinking or eating. 'The Boxing Day sales are not for those suffering from crapulence.'

Cynosure, noun. A person or thing that is the centre of attention or admiration. 'In my gold metallic jumpsuit I was the cynosure of the banquet.'

not pronounced how I would've thought, but a GREAT word nonetheless! Also - lovely and unusual etymology #wordoftheday

A photo posted by An Interested Mind (@thedataholic) on

Effluvium, noun. A slight or invisible ex vapoir, especially one that is disagreeable or noxious. 'I want to make sprouts, but I'm scared of Aunt Belinda's seasonal effluvium.'

Fantods, noun. An ill-defined state of irritability and distress, the extreme willies. 'I always wake up on January 1st with a raging case of the fantods.'

Kakistocracy, noun. A government run by the worst people from its society. 'I fear we may be entering into a kakistocracy.'

Quidnunc, noun. An inquisitive and gossipy person. 'Uncle Bernard was being a quidnunc as ever, asking all about my cousin's illicit affair with a unicyclist.'

Tintinnabulation, noun. A ringing or tinkling sound. 'What a tintinnabulation! It must be Santa riding past in his sleigh.'

Weltschmerz, noun. A feeling of melancholy and world-weariness. 'Eugh, hurry up 2017, I need to climb out of this pit of weltschmerz.'

Zaftig, adjective. Pleasantly plump. 'I jolly well will have another mince pie, I'm looking spectacularly zaftig this winter season.'

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