The wordsmiths at Merriam-Webster have named “culture” the 2014 word of the year.
The word was chosen based upon its high search rankings on the dictionary’s website, which gets around 100 million page views every month.
“This gives us a sense of what people are thinking about,” Merriam-Webster editor Peter Sokolowski says. “We’re kind of eavesdropping on a national conversation.”
Sokolowski says “culture” is a “chameleon of a word” and further explains:
The term conveys a kind of academic attention to systematic behavior and allows us to identify and isolate an idea, issue, or group: we speak of a “culture of transparency” or “consumer culture.” “Culture” can be either very broad (as in “celebrity culture” or “winning culture”) or very specific (as in “test-prep culture” or “marching band culture”).