Dictionary.com Picks ‘Xenophobia’ as the 2016 Word of the Year

By Maryann Yin 

The team at Dictionary.com has picked “xenophobia” as its 2016 Word of the Year. The video embedded above features an explanation as to why this word was chosen by the former United States Secretary of Labor (1993–1997), Robert Reich. The website has listed the following two definitions for this word:

  • Fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers.
  • Fear or dislike of the customs, dress, etc., of people who are culturally different from oneself.

According to the press release, “xenophobia” was first introduced into the English language back in the 1800s. This word has been often used in news articles that discuss several major events that occurred in 2016 such as the Syrian refugee crisis, the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” vote, and the 2016 presidential election. What do you think about this selection?