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Between Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump, this year has been filled with so many racist and Islamaphobic incidents that Dictionary.com has dubbed “xenophobia” 2016’s Word of the Year.

“This year, some of the most prominent news stories have centered around fear of the “other.” Because our users’ interest in this theme emerges so starkly for one word in our lookup data, xenophobia is Dictionary.com’s 2016 Word of the Year.”

Following police violence against BIPOC, the Syrian crisis, ISIS, Brexit, the rise of Donald Trump and anti-trans violence, the website saw a spike in searches for the word “xenophobia.”

Dictionary.com defines “xenophobia as the “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures or strangers.” And it plans to expand its entry to include fear or dislike of “customs, dress and cultures of people with backgrounds different from our own,” Jane Solomon, a lexicographer for the site, said in a recent interview.

Stop worrying about who is working and start worrying about creating more jobs.

The word is relatively new; it entered academia in the late 1800s at the beginning of the industrial revolution, in which worlds were being connected by railroads and commerce. Its roots are in two Greek words — “xenos,” meaning “stranger or guest,” and “phobos,” meaning “fear or panic.” In a world connected by the internet, joining both fact and opinions which are often blurred as one another, the word is more relevant than ever.

Related: How to Be Less of a Jerk 101 (Part 2): Admitting Racism

Searches for the word increased by 938 percent from June 22 to June 24, after the Brexit vote for Britain to leave the European Union. The following month, the searches spiked after President Barack Obama’s June 29 speech in which he insisted that Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric was not a measure of “populism,” but rather “nativism, or xenophobia or worse.”

“I don’t think most people even know what xenophobia is,” said Reich, who teaches public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, in an interview. Reich served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was President Clinton’s labor secretary. “It’s a word not to be celebrated but to be deeply concerned about.”

The Oxford Dictionary chose “post-truth” as their word of the year. Let that one sink in.

“I wish,” Solomon said, “we could have chosen a word like unicorns.”

Us, too, Solomon. Us, too. 

via Hollywood Reporter.


Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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