Look alive, “selfie.” There’s another word of the year that’s not all about you.
While Oxford University Press, the British publisher of the Oxford dictionaries, declared those little smartphone self-portraits its winner last month for 2013 word of the year, the folks at Merriam-Webster, an American maker of dictionaries, announced “science” as its pick on Tuesday.
Oxford tracked a huge jump in overall usage of “selfie,” but Merriam-Webster stuck primarily to words that people looked up on its Web site, recording a 176 percent increase for “science” compared with last year.
“It does lurk behind a lot of big stories,” said John Morse, president of Merriam-Webster.
Science, he said, is connected to broad cultural debates — science vs. faith, for instance.
Jason Silva, host of the popular “Brain Games” show on the National Geographic Channel, was thrilled with the news.
“Ooh, that’s awesome,” he said upon learning of science’s dictionary shout-out. “People are increasingly scientifically minded, and that makes me very happy.”