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What were your top dictionary lookups in April?

Have you ever wondered which words other people are looking up in the dictionary? Wonder no more… As part of our occasional search monitor series, we’ve taken a look at which words were looked up the most in our free online dictionary last month.

We’re very happy (the 259th most looked-up word) here at Oxford Dictionaries to see that you are exploiting the full potential (the 183rd most looked-up word) of our online dictionary by looking up a variety of words. From those tricky to spell words (vulnerable, environment, acquire) to checking the definition of easily confused words (affect and effect, compromise and comprise), and finding out the meaning of less commonly used words (ubiquitous, egregious, oligarch), you really have made full use of Oxford Dictionaries Online.

You did manage to throw in a few surprises – just to keep us on our toes. Swag made an unanticipated appearance in the top 20, along with an old favourite: floccinaucinihilipilification (try saying that one quickly!). Even more unexpectedly, wether (meaning ‘castrated ram’) featured in the top 30 lookups. Whether you were in fact looking for whether or weather, we won’t ever know. Or perhaps you have a keen interest in ovine-related topics?

What was the most looked-up word in April?

Cue drum roll… The most popular search term in Oxford Dictionaries Online last month was kawaii. Our top lookup of 2011, meaning ‘cute’, has retained its crown, once again appearing at the top of the list. The historical Oxford English Dictionary has dated the use of this Japanese loanword in English back to 1965, with the first-known citation appearing in the New York Times: “When East meets West Japanese call it kawaii”.

Over to you…

Now it’s your chance to explore. Below is a word cloud containing the top 300 most looked-up words in Oxford Dictionaries Online. 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 discover more of your top looked-up words.


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