In the end they made the practical and logical choice.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s finally the moment we have all been waiting for — Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary announced their prestigious “Word of the Year.” I know, I can’t believe it’s that time of the year already either. It seems to creep up you.
Nevertheless, I’ve been grinding my teeth in anticipation for the most haphazardly chosen award of the year. Past winners have gone on to appear in Double Jeopardy categories, spelling bees and Jonathon Franzen novels.
This year’s champion (drum roll please) was “pragmatic.” The three syllable adjective, whose first know use was in 1616, had a big year.
When our politicians couldn’t agree on wallpaper in the Senate bathroom, let alone raising the debt ceiling, “pragmatic” became a very important trait our elected officials all seemed to be missing.
Though it wasn’t traced to a specific news event or quote from a famous person, searches for “pragmatic” jumped in the weeks before Congress voted in August to increase the nation’s debt ceiling, and again as its supercommittee tried to craft deficit-cutting measures this fall.
“Pragmatic” may have sparked dictionary users’ interest both because they’d heard it in conversations, and because it captures the current American mood of encouraging practicality over frivolity, said John Morse, president and publisher of Springfield, Mass.-based Merriam-Webster.
“Pragmatic” is a word that describes a kind of quality that people value in themselves but also look for in others, and look for in policymakers and the activities of people around them,” Morse said.
It was the perfect word to describe what our government was lacking, because quite frankly this year the suits in D.C. were about as pragmatic as 2nd graders fighting over half a brownie at lunch. Basically the word of the year was the product of our wishful thinking.
When the people working for a dictionary start making subtle wise cracks about our government, you know it has been an interesting year.