Xenophobia is Dictionary.com’s Word of the Year

The online dictionary selected “xenophobia” as its Word of the Year because searches for the word, defined as “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers,” increased after the Brexit vote in the U.K. and the U.S. election. The word xenophobia is actually relatively new, and only entered English in the late 1800s. It finds its roots in two Greek words, xénos meaning “stranger, guest,” and phóbos meaning “fear, panic.”

Fear is an adaptive part of human evolutionary history and often influences behaviors and perceptions on a subconscious level. However, this particular year saw fear rise to the surface of cultural discourse. Read more

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