How the world saw 2016? – Top 5 words of the year

It happens every December. Teams of lexicographers in several countries sit down to compile a list of the most appropriate words to describe the year. Their selection is then presented to the public who can vote for their favorites. The most popular entry is announced the Word of the Year. The French call it le mot de l’année. This year their mot de l’année is “réfugiés” (refugees).



The selection wasn’t easy. There’s a debate going on in France whether to call the recent movers from the Middle East migrants or refugees.

Close to 100,000 people weighed in with their opinion. Then, after a long debate the jury settled on “refugees,” calling it “le plus symbolique, le plus significatif, le plus émouvant de l’année” (the most symbolic, the most significant, and the most emotional word of the year).


Sticking to their reputation as a nation of philosophers, the German Die Worte des Jahres is the profound-sounding “postfaktisch” (post-truth).


To us, it’s just a fancy way to cover up lies but the Germans may not agree. It’s worth noting that despite taking in more than a million refugees–the most in Europe–Germans selected a philosophical term that originated in the US.

THE US(United States of America)

Across the Atlantic Ocean, the US seems to be embroiled in a political frenzy since the presidential election. Abnormal is becoming the new normal over there and this state of affairs is reflected in the English language.


The Oxford Dictionaries captures the turmoil that’s caught many in the US off-guard with “post-truth,” a word that describes the world where facts matter little. That’s quite a change the year has brought.


The US is not the only nation to have changed in 2016. Across the Pacific, Singapore has its own story to share. “Gold” is their word of the year.


Singapore won its first gold at Olympics. In its neighborhood, Japan moved to minus interest rates, South Korea impeached its first female president, Taiwan welcomed its first female president, and Donald Trump won the US presidential race. That was quite a lot packed into 365 days.


Japan has a long tradition of selecting the Kanji of the Year. In 2016, they chose “gold.”


Like Singapore, the Japanese were proud of the gold medals they won at the Olympics in Rio. They were also worried about the negative interest rates. That probably spurred them to capture their anxieties and achievements in “gold.”

Overseas DTP hopes you had a great time in 2016. So think and let us know which is your word of the year in 2016 and why.

We look forward to your comments.

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