“Surreal” is the word of the year according to Merriam Webster Dictionary. It is an adjective meaning “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream.**” The word is used to describe something shocking or surprising, something above or beyond what is real. In 2016 it was used to describe terrorist attacks and the US Presidential election.
Contenders for Merriam-Webster’s word of 2016 include
- Revenant, a noun: one who returns after a long absence
- Icon, a noun: a person who is successful and admired
- In omnia paratus, a Latin prepositional phrase: ready for all things. This phrase was used in the original Gilmore Girls TV show and in its revival.
- Bigly, a phantom word thought to be used by Donald Trump. Actually, he said “big league” in debating, but it sounded like “bigly.”
- Deplorable, an adjective used as a noun by Hillary Clinton. It means “lamentable,” “deserving censure or contempt,” “wretched” or “abominable.”
- Irregardless, an adverb used on air by a broadcaster during the final game of the World Series. This word is nonstandard English, and the dictionary recommends using “regardless” instead.
- Assumpsit, a noun: a legal term meaning an express or implied promise of a contract. It was used by Rep. Joe Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention.
- Faute de mieux, a French phrase: “for lack of something better.” It was used by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a decision she wrote.
- Feckless, an adjective: weak or ineffective. Mike Pence used it in a Vice-Presidential debate.