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LINGOWISE: The top 10 words.

Lamat Rezaul Hasan dicusses the list of those words which comprised the list of top words released by Merriam Webmaster.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 12:38 IST

Dictionary.com and Merriam Webster’s online dictionary have issued their annual lists of the most searched words. While dictionary.com has compiled a list of the top word searches from A to Z, Merriam Webster has announced a list of the top 10 searched words.

Dictionary.com lists affect, benevolent, cynical, definitely, effect, fallacious, gregarious, hyperbole, irony, jaded, karma, love, metaphor, naïve, oxymoron, paradox, quixotic, rhetoric, theme, ubiquitous, virtue, whether, xenophobia, yield and zeal as the most searched words in 2005.

Look closely and you’ll realise that the list contains words which can be confused with another word (affect), or are usually difficult to spell (definitely). In contrast, Merriam’s list is small, but reflective of the changing times. In a world where we read about corruption everyday it is no surprise that integrity was the most looked up word in the list issued by Merriam.

Integrity has been defined as firm adherence to a code, especially moral or artistic values; incorruptibility. The second most searched word, refugee one that flees; especially a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution also comes as no surprise.

Contempt willful disobedience to or open disrespect of a court, judge or legislative body; filibusterthe use of extreme dilatory tactics in an attempt to delay or prevent action; and insipid lacking in qualities that interest are also on high up on the list. Other words in the list include tsunami which killed thousands in 2005, pandemic, conclave, levee and inept. More on top words next time.