Austerity, defined as “the quality or state of being austere” and “enforced or extreme economy,” is Merriam-Webster’s 2010 word of the year, the dictionary’s president announced Monday.
John Morse said the noun saw more than 250,000 searches on the dictionary’s free online tool. Its sudden popularity is undoubtedly linked to global interest in the European debt crisis and the austerity measures implemented by some European countries.
“What we look for … what are the words that have had spikes that strike us very much as an anomaly for their regular behaviour. The word that really qualifies this year for that is austerity.”
What word would do it for you?