Exploring the pathways of our lexicon
December 2, 2009By Ben Zimmer
A couple of weeks ago, Merriam-Webster announced their top words of 2009 based on the intensity of lookups to its online dictionary and thesaurus. Now Dictionary.com has their own announcement of the most looked-up words of the past year. Though the main list is full of usual suspects like affect and effect (perennial stumpers even for native English speakers), the "top gainer" is a very unusual word: esurient, meaning 'extremely hungry; desirous; greedy.' What might explain the ravenous interest in this obscure term? Continue reading...