Dictionary.com has announced that “xenophobia” is the 2016 Word of the Year. “Xenophobia” means “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers”.
On June 24, one day after the results for Brexit, the internet search for “xenophobia” increased by 938%. A surge came back again on June 29 when President Barack Obama used the word in a speech about President-elect Donald Trump. Other searches included police violence, transgender rights, and Syrian refugees. The surge was the reason Dictionary.com chose the word.
Reactions on Twitter showed that people were disappointed the word was chosen, but felt that it was the best choice.
“Xenophobia” was introduced to the English language in the 1800s. “Xenos” means “stranger or guest” and “phobos” means “fear or panic”. The words are of Greek origin.