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What should be the 2011 Word of the Year? We have a few ideas

It’s only November, but Best of the Year lists are going around and the time has come to discuss the Word of 2011. A couple of weeks ago, we asked our Facebook fans for early candidates for the year-defining term. Of course, the political turmoil of the 2011 dominated the responses. Occupy and revolution were popular choices, along with spring. Other terms along those lines include transition, upheaval, and toppled. (On Twitter, our followers suggested the word “retweet” among others.)

We always face a dilemma when making a choice like this (a choice that one could argue is like choosing one color to describe the rainbow.) Should the Word of the Year be one that was actually used with frequency? Or should it be an esteemed entry in the dictionary that complexly yet perfectly describes the character of the past 12 months? We put this question to our Facebook audience as well. Overwhelmingly, voters said it should be a complex word that exemplifies the spirit of 2011.

Here are 10 of the words that seem to be front-runners in the 2011 campaign:
Common and Prescient:
Obscure but Apt:
For 2010, we chose the word “change,” in both senses of the word: transformation and coins in your pocket. We chose it in part because you—the totality of our audience—were interested in it; the number of searches for “change” surged in 2010. Read about our selection here.

This year, a few of the words that have been more looked up include conscientious, antonym and app.

At this point, though, we should also keep in mind that the year’s not over yet. The Occupy movement is only six-weeks old, so who knows where it will be in another eight weeks, and the ever-evolving Republican primary campaigns may have much more in store for us as well. Perhaps someone will utter something so remarkable it will make Charlie Sheen’s unsettling loquacity seem tame.

So, weigh in. What words do you like, and what direction do you recommend for our choice? We value your insights and we’ll keep you updated on the influx of opinion.

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