From monetary meltdown to a pop diva’s flop, people go to Cambridge Dictionaries Online to understand the language being used to describe major events. Here are your most searched-for words – the People’s Words of 2015 – and the events that sent you to our dictionaries.
The People’s Words of
Which English words really mattered in 2015?
[noun] a difficult economic situation caused by a government reducing the amount of money it spends
Austerity measures continued to dominate political debates and became the main focus in May’s General Election in the UK. It also led to a number of anti-austerity marches across Europe. It’s therefore no surprise that ‘austerity’ achieved the highest number of search spikes this year -
your Word of the Year!
[noun] unofficial discussion in which people make agreements that provide both sides with advantages
In India, an audio recording of a phone call between a political leader and former legislator brought about fierce allegations of ‘horse-trading’ when forming their new government.
[noun] a slightly annoying form of behaviour, especially in sport, that is intended to attract attention or admiration because it is very skilful
The footballer Neymar Jr. was accused of showboating during Barcelona's Copa del Rey victory, driving people to find out what ‘showboating’ meant.
[noun] a large group of people all moving together
The UK Prime Minister caused a furore when he described the migrants attempting to enter Britain from Calais, France as a swarm; the media accused the political figurehead of using negative and dehumanising language during the humanitarian crisis.
[adjective] able to think clearly and be in control of and responsible for your actions
After a spectacular fall at the Brit Awards, Madonna confirmed to worried fans that a doctor had checked she was ‘compos mentis’, leaving many wondering what this term actually meant.
[noun] an occasion when the sun disappears from view while the moon is moving between it and the earth
On March 20th a total solar eclipse occurred in the North Atlantic, and an almost total eclipse occurred across northern Europe. On average, it takes about 375 years for a total solar eclipse to happen at a specific location again!
[noun] a hard, dry Italian cheese used especially in cooking
A keen Reddit user shared an error they spotted with the audio pronunciation file for ‘Parmesan’ on Cambridge Dictionaries Online. This got shared repeatedly across social media, leading to a large number of searches for the term - but it was also short-lived, as we quickly fixed it!
[phrasal verb] to do gentle exercises to stretch the muscles in order to prepare the body for more active physical exercise
The London Marathon sees thousands of runners ‘limber up’ ahead of the event, which could explain why thousands of people searched for the term in April.
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