OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Dictionary.com (www.dictionary.com), the preferred online and mobile dictionary for students of all ages, announced it has chosen "bluster" for its 2012 Word of the Year. Bluster has five definitions including "to roar and be tumultuous, as wind" and "noisy, empty threats or protests; inflated talk." Dictionary.com selected a word describing a memorable political campaign season and some of the most extreme weather conditions in human history, from floods in Australia to cyclones in China to Hurricane Sandy, and more. Man-made disasters spiraled as the European Central Bank continued to hem and haw over bailouts and austerity, and Greeks went to the polls after years of uncertainty. Even after many spilled words, the stability of the Euro fuels debate around the world. More than any other word, we feel that bluster conveys these dominant trends of 2012.
Dictionary.com's editorial team elaborates on the choice of bluster on its Hot Word blog:
Today's definition of bluster closely relates to the Old English "bluster" which meant "to wander or stray." However, unlike the 11th century, 2012 was full of bluster from the skies and from the mouths of pundits. As the US Congress faces the looming fiscal cliff, we can only anticipate more bluster from politicians (hopefully it will only come from them, not from more nor'easters and early winter storms).
Here are a few examples of how the word has turned up in the press:
On May 19th, 2012, a writer for The Economist wrote: "Greece may be a small economy, but a Greek departure from the euro, amid brinkmanship and bluster, would not be a small event." On October 22nd, 2012, The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman used the word to describe China's economic policies: "So this is an odd time to be making confrontations over China's currency a centerpiece of your economic policy — unless, of course, it's just bluster aimed at making voters think you're tough," in The New York Times (Blog).
Even without new coinages, English is such a ripe and fertile language that we didn't need to look far for a word to sum up this year. We believe that the act of finding a perfect word when searching for meaning can help one overcome challenges of all kinds – natural, political or otherwise – because no problem can be solved until it is articulated. We hope Dictionary.com can continue to serve as an aid against confusion for years to come.
Dictionary.com will also shortly be launching a Word of the Year contender word list and word learning game on Word Dynamo, its new online and mobile learning experience that combines the engagement of gaming with proven study techniques.
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