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'Austerity' named word of the year

US dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster named "Austerity" as the word of the year, reflecting the cost-cutting ethos that has gripped the US economy and culture.

entertainment Updated: Dec 21, 2010 18:13 IST

US dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster named "Austerity" as the word of the year on Monday, reflecting the cost-cutting ethos that has gripped the US economy and culture.

"'Austerity' clearly resonates with many people," said Peter Sokolowski, editor at large at Merriam-Webster, who monitors online dictionary searches. "We often hear it used in the context of government measures, but we also apply it to our own personal finances and what is sometimes called the new normal."

Second on the list was "pragmatic", a word that rose steadily in searches this year, and which the dictionary said "described a quality that people value highly, want to understand fully and are looking for in their leaders".

"Moratorium" was third on the list, reflecting the ban on offshore oil drilling that followed BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Other words in the top 10 included socialism, bigot, doppelganger, shellacking, ebullient, dissident and furtive.