'Surreal' Is Merriam-Webster's 2016 Word of the Year - Rolling Stone
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‘Surreal’ Is Merriam-Webster’s Word of 2016 After Trump, Cubs Victories

Runners-up included “bigly,” “icon,” “deplorable” and “irregardless”

'Surreal' Is Merriam-Webster's 2016 Word of the Year'Surreal' Is Merriam-Webster's 2016 Word of the Year

"Surreal," the only term capable of succinctly describing 2016, is Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year.

Scott Olson/Getty, Drew Angerer/Getty

Merriam-Webster made it official: the best way to describe 2016 is “surreal.” The dictionary company reported that the definition for “surreal” was the most-searched for this year online, likely due to high number of – well, surreal – events including former TV star Donald Trump winning the U.S. election, Brexit, the Chicago Cubs first World Series win in over a century and the deaths of iconic artists like David Bowie and Prince.  

The biggest headline tied to “surreal” was Donald Trump’s election victory in November, according to Merriam-Webster. The dictionary defines the word as: “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream.” The word also saw spikes around global terrorist activity, particularly the attacks in Brussels, Belgium and Nice, France and the coup attempt in Turkey. 

“Surreal” beat out key 2016 presidential election phrases like “bigly,” “feckless” and “deplorable.” Other, nonpolitical ‘Word of the Year’ contenders included “revenant” (thanks to the Oscar-winning film), “icon” (following Prince’s death), “Faute de Mieux” (thanks to Ruth Bader Ginsburg) and “In Omnia Paratus” (because of Gilmore Girls)


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