'Surreal` is named 2016 `Word of the Year`

Donald Trump`s upset win in the US presidential election astonished people so much that they rushed to the dictionary to look up the word everyone was using to describe the event: surreal.

AFP| Last Updated: Dec 20, 2016, 01:58 AM IST

District of Columbia: Donald Trump`s upset win in the US presidential election astonished people so much that they rushed to the dictionary to look up the word everyone was using to describe the event: surreal.

Indeed, Merriam-Webster`s dictionary on Monday named surreal its Word of the Year 2016, the honor given to the word or term with the sharpest spike in look-ups over the previous year.

Surreal, definition: "marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream."

It actually triggered not one but a series of sudden jumps in people looking it up.

The first came after terrorist bombings in Brussels in March. Thirty-two people died, as did three attackers. 

It happened again in July after the coup attempt in Turkey and the terrorist attack in Nice, France in which a man driving a truck swerved back and forth through a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks, crushing 86 people to death. 

But the biggest spike came after Trump -- the tweeting, shoot-from-the-hip political neophyte and property tycoon who insulted women, minorities and Muslims during the campaign -- defeated Hillary Clinton during the November 8 race for the White House.

"When we don`t believe or don`t want to believe what is real, we need a word for what seems `above` or `beyond` reality. Surreal is such a word," the dictionary company said in a statement.

It said another word looked up big-time in 2016 was `bigly.` 

"Donald Trump used the term `big league` in an unusual way, as an adverb during a debate, and many people thought he said `bigly`," said Merriam-Webster editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski.

Bigly actually is in the dictionary, and means in great scope, or with a blustering manner.

Clinton`s use of "deplorable" as a plural noun to describe some of Trump`s supporters -- "a basket of deplorables" -- was also a top trending word for 2016, Merriam-Webster said.