Springfield, Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster has announced their pick for word of the year and the winner is . . . culture. Really? Culture? My initial reaction was to ask, “What were they thinking?”
The dictionary giant based the choice on the 15% year-over-year increase in look ups on their on-line dictionary and app. Apparently 15% is huge in terms of hard numbers. Culture is a word that causes little to no misunderstanding when used among English speakers and writers. It’s denotative meaning was agreed upon long ago:
Middle English, cultivated land, cultivation, from Anglo-French, from Latin cultura, from cultus, past participleFirst Known Use: 15th century (Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary)
So what makes culture so suddenly special?
As I ponder possible answers, it occurs to me that the word culture is no longer a stand alone in terms of usage. It is has been wedded to everything from business to school to…
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