Advanced Search  
China Daily  
Top News   
HK Edition   
Business Weekly   
Beijing Weekend   
Shanghai Star  
Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.
World ... ...
    Dictionary reveals US 'word of the year'

2005-12-12 05:33

SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts: In a year filled with political wrangling, natural disasters and pop culture curiosities, Americans turned to Merriam-Webster to help define it all.

Filibuster. Refugee. Tsunami. Each was among the dictionary publisher's 10 most frequently looked-up words among some 7 million users of its online site.

But topping the list is a word that some say gives insight into the country's collective concern about its values: Integrity.

The noun, formally defined as a "firm adherence to a code" and "incorruptibility," has always been a popular one on the Springfield-based company's website, said Merriam-Webster President John Morse. But this year, the true meaning of integrity seemed to be of extraordinary concern. About 200,000 people sought its definition online.

"I think the American people have isolated a very important issue for our society to be dealing with," Morse said. "The entire list gives us an interesting window that opens up into what people are thinking about in their lives."

Ralph Whitehead, a journalism professor at the University of Massachusetts, said it may indicate the continuing discussion about American values and morality, or perhaps that integrity itself is becoming scarce so its definition is unfamiliar.

Number 10 on the list is "inept," a word that Morse said was getting a lot of attention in the days after President George Bush delivered a live prime time news conference that came to an awkward end when some television networks cut him off to return to their regularly scheduled programmes.

"Tsunami" jumped in popularity after one ravaged countries along the Indian Ocean last December, while "levee" and "refugee" are linked to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Interest in the definition of the latter word "one that flees; especially: a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution" grew after media organizations were criticized for using it to describe hurricane victims.

"Filibuster" gained in popularity as Democrats threatened to use it to block federal judicial nominees, and "contempt" drew attention when former New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed for refusing to reveal a source in the CIA leak case.

(China Daily 12/12/2005 page7)


| Home | News | Business | Culture | Living in China | Forum | E-Papers | Weather |

| About Us | Contact Us | Site Map | Jobs | About China Daily |
 Copyright 2005 All rights reserved. Registered Number: 20100000002731