TheYearin

Language

2016

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What is the definition of

?

We identified 2016’s rising words by ranking Search interest growth for definitions of words (e.g., searches for “woke definition,” “define woke”).

In 2016, these 10 words led the pack: Triggered, Shook, Juju, Broccoli, Woke, Holosexual, Shill, Gaslighting, Bigly, and SJW.

2016’s top trending words is based on emerging words. With Google Trends data, we examined words with very low Search interest in 2015 that thereafter grew consistently, month-to-month, throughout the course of 2016.

This approach identified new words, (e.g., “woke”) rather than established words (e.g. “emoji”).

In the past 12 months, each of 2016’s top rising words achieved a level of Search interest to qualify it as a common search, reaching the same frequency ordinary English words.

For context, this methodology would have identified “selfie” as the top rising definition in 2013 and “netflix and chill” in 2015.

“Selfie” has gone on to become one of the most popular definitions on Google, with its Search interest peaking in mid-2014.

None of 2016’s top rising definitions has achieved the pervasive popularity of “selfie.” But comparing helps with context: “woke,” for example, is about half as popular as “selfie” was at its peak in 2014 – an incredible feat and testament to “woke”’s widespread adoption.

Now let’s examine the history of 50+ words from 2013 to present day.

To understand how certain terms grew in popularity, we also examined regional trends in the US.

Starting with “woke,” explore the state-by-state variations to grasp each word’s geographic etymology.

Where Words Come From

Search interest¹ for top rising definitions by state, 2015 - 2016

Woke
by State

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For instance, “woke” only reached peak interest in the northeast and west, while “wavy” only took hold in Virginia.

What will be the words for 2017? Keep an eye out on Google Trends.