Merriam-Webster has chosen its word of the year for 2011: ‘pragmatic’. And while that word might seem to be an improvement on the word for 2010, which was ‘austerity’, some might wonder if we’re truly living in an age of pragmatism.
To be pragmatic is to be practical and logical, and to ignore the influence of emotions when it comes to decision-making. So perhaps this is part two of the age of austerity, a time when we have to do things we don’t like in order to get our economy working again.
Other words that came high on Merriam-Webster’s list of top words for 2011 include ambivalence, insidious, didactic, diversity, capitalism, socialism, vitriol, and “apres moi le deluge”, the latter a French term referring to people who don’t care what happens after they’re gone.