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What were the most looked-up words in 2011?

In our occasional search monitor series, we take a look at your most searched-for words of the past month. But what were your top look-ups for the past year? Below is a word cloud containing the top 300 most looked-up words in our free online dictionary. Hover over the words to find out more or click on the words to be taken to the dictionary entry. Click on the refresh button to see discover more of your top looked-up words.

It’s not just about the newbies

Some of the newer additions to our dictionary proved to be surprisingly popular; LOL, OMG, nom nom, and sexting all appear in the top 300 most looked-up words despite all being relative newbies in the dictionary. Woot! More everyday words also feature highly, with take, look, come, go, turn, and put all ranking in the top 20 and get coming very close to taking the top spot. ‘Get’ may be a small, commonplace word, but if you think about how many different senses and definitions this three-letter word has, and the fact it features in numerous phrases and phrasal verbs, it’s perhaps not so surprising that it is the second most looked-up word in 2011.

We’re also glad to see that our dictionary has been a useful tool to check how to spell a word, whether you’re unsure about the differences between US English and British / World English spellings, such as programme vs program or practice vs practise, or you want to double check how many m’s are in commission and commitment.

An old favourite

One word which always ranks highly in our search monitors, but you rarely hear in everyday conversation, is floccinaucinihilipilification. Meaning ‘the action or habit of estimating something as worthless’, this intriguing word is perhaps popular simply as a result of its novelty value (it is one of the longest English words listed in our dictionary alongside antidisestablishmentarianism and pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis). Perhaps not very Twitter friendly though!

Which brings us to our surprise winner …

The most looked-up word in 2011 was only added to the dictionary in August 2010 but still managed to make it to the top spot. And our winner is… kawaii. Meaning ‘cute’, ‘kawaii’ is a loanword from Japanese and is popular amongst fans of Japanese anime and manga. You can find out more about ‘kawaii’ and other Japanese loanwords in our blog post Kawaii Japanese for everyday life.

Explore the word cloud below to discover which other words made it into the top 300 most looked-up words in 2011.


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