Fill in the blank: 2016 has been one ______ year. If your first thought is unprintable, mine was too.
The people behind the Merriam-Webster dictionary announced their 2016 Word of the Year on Monday, and it was surreal. No, the word itself wasn't a surreal term, the chosen word was "surreal" ("very strange or unusual : having the quality of a dream").
Dictionary editor Peter Sokolowski explains the reasoning in a short video.
"Surreal," Sokolowski says, was "one that people came back to over and over again in response to different events." They looked it up often during coverage of the Brussels terror attacks in March, during the coup attempt in Turkey in July and during the terror attacks in Nice, France, also in July.
But you can probably guess when the largest number of "surreal" lookups came: after the US presidential election in November.
Other top word lookups, Sokolowski says, included "bigly," which he calls "easily the most-looked-up word that was never actually used, since Donald Trump used the term 'big league' in an unusual way, as an adverb, during a debate and many people thought he said bigly."
People also looked up "deplorable" a great deal, thanks to its use by Hillary Clinton. "It's defined in our dictionary only as an adjective, but she used it as a noun," Sokolowski says.
And as we look to 2017? We might do well to take the meaning of an oft looked-up Latin phrase Sokolowski cites: "In omnia paratus," which means "Ready for all things." Because ready or not, this surreal year is almost over.