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‘Populism’ is Cambridge Dictionary’s ‘Word of the Year’

Published on December 02, 2017
The word “populism” has been announced as the Cambridge Dictionary 2017 Word of the Year.
‘Populism’ is Cambridge Dictionary’s ‘Word of the Year’
  • The word is not only be the most searched-for words but is also reflected in spikes — occasions when a word is suddenly looked up many more times than usual on or around a particular date.
  • The dictionary defines populism as “political ideas and activities that are intended to get the support of ordinary people by giving them what they want”.
  • The dictionary definition of populism includes the usage label “mainly disapproving”.
  • The release said: “Populism has a taint of disapproval because the -ism ending often indicates a philosophy or ideology that is being approached either uncritically (liberalism, conservatism, jingoism) or cynically (tokenism).”
  • According to the university, both aspects of -ism are evident in the use of populism this year — the implied lack of critical thinking on the part of the populace, and the implied cynicism on the part of the leaders who exploit it.

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