The People’s Choice Word of 2010 is . . . (It was almost a tie)

If you had any doubt that 2010 was a complicated year, consider this: the five finalists for our People’s Choice Word of the Year were all fairly close contenders, and three of the words were multisyllabic mouthfuls. The top two entries were incredibly close – out of over 10,000 votes, the winner was only 40 votes ahead of the runner-up.

The top five words, those that received the most nominations, were:

What do these choices say about the past year? They all reflect strong feelings, whether love or the desire to throw someone out the window. And it’s certainly hard to argue with the sentiment behind both brouhaha and discombobulate: on every end of the ideological and cultural spectrum, there were plenty of scandals, embarrassments, gaffes and guffaws. Which brings us to the 2010 People’s Choice Word of the Year: epic. 

Was 2010 an “epic” year? Many of the people who nominated the word associated epic with the slang phrase “epic fail,” as in a major screw-up. Others nominated the word as a comment on how often they heard the word misused to describe events that clearly were not of an epic nature.

If there is a lesson in the nature of these words, it may be discretion. The antidote to epic failure, brouhahas and discombobulated scenarios is to be careful. We propose the following resolution for 2011: watch your words, learn precise, fresh ways to express yourself, and enjoy a year of self-awareness. We’ll be here to help.

The Dictionary.com Word of the Year was chosen based on the number of people who used the term in the past year. To learn the surprising result, click here.

What do you think of the collective choice? Let us know!

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