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This screen image released by Dictionary.com shows the definition of xenophobia, named as word of the year. Searches for xenophobia on the site increased by 938 percent from June 22 to June 24, Solomon said. Lookups spiked again that month after President Obama's June 29 speech in which he insisted that Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric was not a measure of "populism," but rather "nativism, or xenophobia, or worse." (Dictionary.com via AP)

'Xenophobia' is Dictionary.com's word of the year


You've probably heard the word "xenophobia" thrown around a lot throughout 2016 and now, it's Dictionary.com's word of the year. 

The site defines xenophobia as the "fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures or strangers." 

Dictionary.com dates the spike in interest in the term to April 2014, saying the increased interest was connected to attacks on foreign workers in South Africa. The site notes that it was lookups worldwide that contributed to the spike. 

Dictionary.com said the largest spike in its data for term came on June 24 when the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, a decision known as Brexit. 

“It has been significant throughout the year,” Jane Solomon, one of the site's lexicographers told CBS News. “But after the EU referendum, hundreds and hundreds of users were looking up the term every hour.” 

The second-largest surge in lookups for the word happened in June when President Obama insisted that President-elect Donald Trump's campaign was not an example of populism, but rather of "nativism or xenophobia."

Dictionary.com isn't the only site to see an increase in searches for the word xenophobia. On Nov. 13, Merriam-Webster reported that fascism, bigot, xenophobe, racism, socialism, resurgence, xenophobia and misogyny were among the top-searched words of the day. 

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