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Merriam-Webster's word of the year isn't selfie, it's science

Rating its 10 most-searched-for words, the online dictionary shows that people are interested in more than just buzz-worthy semantics.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
Merriam-Webster's word of the year is science. Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

Not all faith in humanity is lost as dictionaries become crowded with words like selfie, srsly, and twerking. On Tuesday, Merriam-Webster came out with its top ten words for 2013, and this list wasn't bogged down in text-speak or Internet memes.

Merriam-Webster's grand prize goes to: science.

That's right, the top word for 2013 is the age-old term, "science," defined as "knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation."

Merriam-Webster selected its top ten words of the year by looking at the most-searched-for words on its online dictionary, along with the words that show the biggest increase in look-ups compared with years past. The results were based on about 100 million queries per month.

Science had a 176 percent increase in look-ups over last year and stayed a top term throughout the year. The online dictionary said this year's top words were terms often seen in the news.

"A wide variety of discussions centered on science this year, from climate change to educational policy," Merriam-Webster Editor at Large Peter Sokolowski said in a statement. "We saw heated debates about 'phony' science, or whether science held all the answers. It's a topic that has great significance for us."

The following nine top words were, from most popular to least: cognitive, rapport, communication, niche, ethic, paradox, visceral, integrity, and metaphor.

This list goes to show that people are genuinely interested in more than just celebrity, scandal, and spelling shortcuts.