Dictionary.com Reveals Its Top Searched Words of 2009

Users receive a grammar lesson while searching for the difference between "affect" and "effect"; Synonyms for "greedy" on the rise

Dec 01, 2009, 06:00 ET from Dictionary.com

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Dictionary.com, the leading online dictionary and a service of Ask.com, an operating business of IAC (Nasdaq: IACI), revealed today its top searched words of 2009. These lists are based on the actual searches of more than 43 million people a month who use Dictionary.com to help them communicate more effectively. Users accessed word definitions, synonyms, antonyms, spelling suggestions, example sentences and audio pronunciation through Dictionary.com's website and mobile iPhone and BlackBerry applications.

Top Searched Words of 2009

  1. Affect
  2. Ubiquitous
  3. Irony
  4. Socialism
  5. Effect
  6. Melancholy
  7. Love
  8. Integrity
  9. Nostalgic
  10. Pedantic

Top Gainers of 2009

  1. Esurient
  2. Impeded
  3. Shuddering
  4. Fugacious
  5. Suffering
  6. Negative
  7. Namaste
  8. Adjuvant
  9. Callipygian
  10. Twitter

Top Decliners of 2009

  1. Bush
  2. Maverick
  3. Solace
  4. Liberal
  5. Obsequious
  6. Rhetoric
  7. Superfluous
  8. Condescending
  9. Cynical
  10. Ostentatious

Top Misspelled Words of 2009

  1. Perseverance
  2. Convenient
  3. Embarrassed
  4. Prerogative
  5. Pretentious
  6. Appalled
  7. Genius
  8. Definitely
  9. Inadvertently
  10. Separate

Insights and Trends

  • Last year's top searched words Bush, maverick, and liberal fell completely off the list as attention diverged from the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Politics aren't completely off Americans' minds, though. Socialism remained popular for the second year in a row.
  • In the midst of the Bernie Madoff financial scandal, AIG's collapse and numerous bank failures, it's no surprise that esurient, a synonym for greedy, experienced the greatest growth in popularity with an 831 percent increase.
  • However, Dictionary.com users are feeling less cynical as evident by a 17 percent drop in search popularity for that word.
  • Meanwhile, despite being the most misspelled word of the year, perseverance is the best way to describe the current attitude of Dictionary.com users.
  • While it's everyone's prerogative to check their spellings with Dictionary.com, people can't be "pretentious" if they misspell the word. That mistake might leave them embarrassed.
  • Some things never change. Knowing when to use affect vs. effect continues to stump English speakers.

"Dictionary.com's top searched words of the year clearly illustrate the everyday value of our service in helping people communicate smarter and more effectively," said David Wygant, Senior Director of Products and Programming. "With more than 43 million users relying on Dictionary.com per month, our end-of-year lists serve as a barometer of the prevailing attitudes and sentiments of people throughout 2009."

About Dictionary.com

Dictionary.com is a leading provider of language reference products and services on the Internet and an affiliate of Ask.com, a leading search engine website. Both are wholly-owned subsidiaries of IAC (Nasdaq: IACI). Dictionary.com, LLC, which includes Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com and Reference.com, serves an average of 43 million unique worldwide users per month (source: 2009 Quantcast data).

SOURCE Dictionary.com