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Word of the Year 2008

With politics and the economy foremost on the minds of many, it is no wonder that bailout—a word ubiquitously featured in discussions of the presidency and fiscal policy—took home honors as Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2008.

Bailout, defined in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, Eleventh Edition as "a rescue from financial distress," received the highest intensity of lookups on Merriam-Webster Online over the shortest period of time. As evident from the 2008 Word of the Year contenders list below, the presidential campaign and financial issues factored heavily in the concerns of our online visitors throughout the year.

Traffic to Merriam-Webster Online now exceeds 125 million individual page views per month. This corresponds to approximately ten lookup requests in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary or Thesaurus per second. During peak hours, this may increase to more than 100 requests per second.

Merriam-Webster's #1 Word of the Year for 2008:

1. bailout (noun)

: a rescue from financial distress

Click on each of the other words in the Top Ten List for their definitions in Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary:

  1. vet
  2. socialism
  3. maverick
  4. bipartisan
  5. trepidation
  6. precipice
  7. rogue
  8. misogyny
  9. turmoil

Word of the Year Archive