By Adam Brown
By Adam Brown
Rabat – In an announcement yesterday, the web-based dictionary platform stated that they named xenophobia as Word of the Year due to massive spikes in searches over the past year.
1. Fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers.
2. Fear or dislike of the customs, dress, etc., of people who are culturally different than oneself.
This word, Xenophbia, was just named as Dictionary.com’s word of the year. Along with the announcement of the word, the company’s statement discussed how this year will be remembered by several instances of xenophobia.
Dictionary.com states that they, “…Aim to pick a Word of the Year that embodies a major theme resonating deeply in the cultural consciousness over the prior 12 months.”
The company highlighted several large spikes in searches for xenophobia and felt that the word matched sentiments found in the current political climate.
According to the Dictionary.com’s announcement, interest in the word first spiked April of 2015. This data point fell in line with an attack on foreign workers that took place in South Africa.
Since that time, xenophobia has been spiking periodically, with the largest increase in lookups taking place on June 24th, the day after Brexit. This created a 938% increase in lookups, an indicator of the tensions surrounding the infamous decision of the United Kingdom to leave the EU.
The second largest search took place on June 29th when President Obama gave a speech describing some of Donald Trump’s rhetoric. “Obama insisted that this was not an example of populism, but of ‘nativism or xenophobia’”.
These data spikes show a general trend of events over the past year that have raised concerns about xenophobia.
The influx of Syrian immigrants and a general rise in tensions concerning Islam may explain the rise in interest in the 2016 word of the year.