Monday, November 28, 2016

Dictionary.com Word of the Year 2016: Xenophobia

I receive a daily email from dictionary.com giving me their choice for Word of the Day.  The words are chosen, I'm sure, for their distinctness, current event interest or literary opulence.  Sometimes the word of the day is one I recognize and use in my vocabulary, sometimes it's a completely new word for me.

In today's group of emails came the dictionary.com Word of the Year for 2016:  xenophobia, a noun meaning (according to dictionary.com): 
1.  fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers:  Xenophobia and nationalism can be seen as a reaction to the rise of globalization.
2.  fear or dislike of the customs, dress, etc., of people who are culturally different from oneself:  Learning a foreign language can help to overcome xenophobia.

Here's the link to Dictionary.com's explanation of the choice of the word as Word of the Year:

Dictionary.com Word of the Year: Xenophobia

What are you thoughts about the choice of the word and the reasons for the choice?

19 comments:

  1. I agree, although it pains me that it's true. As we continue to process through this incredible globalization so many people, even friends of mine, have become (or are recently exhibiting) xenophobia. I take the word and its meaning to be a negative concept.

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    1. Xenophobia is often happened to people that never travel.
      Mark Twain: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome , charitable view of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

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    2. I wasn't familiar with this quote of Mark Twain, but it's oh, so true. I'm currently living in Antigua, Guatemala and find such camaraderie with most of the ex-pats who live here. We're the ones who have ventured out and discovered an incredible world - to be learned about and enjoyed. I have local friends here from all over the world, and, I have so many friends from the Latino and indigenous cultures here in Central America. My life feels full because of the experiences I have everyday learning about people who are different than me - but oh, so good to know.

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  2. Excellent word. The world today is not like was..so I might have a tendency towards xenophobia if I were traveling and didn't know the language i.e. middle eastern countries...so much do's and don't I might unknowingly offend someone or wind up in jail....yikes!!. I was reading Travel with Kevin and Ruth and having some difficulty with language barrier...thank heavens for google translate.

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    1. Kevin and Ruth are true adventurers; but, generally speaking, people all over the world are so much the same. We grow up and grow old. We have families. We work. We need community. We worry about our loved ones. We try, in different ways, to give praise to a power greater than ourselves, whether it be nature itself, or a god as we know him/her. I believe we're headed for a world community so we'd better be able to live and let live.

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    2. In the United States we can (and must) be better that this. However, fear and hate are sadly on the rise. Not so very long ago, America was a place that welcomed immigrants with "open arms" and provided opportunities for all regardless of color, creed, and culture.

      A close runner-up for "word of the year" would be nativism (prejudice in favor of natives against strangers; the practice or policy of protecting the interests of native residents against those of immigrants).

      As long as there are "influential" people at community and national levels promoting hate and fear, I fear we are doomed as a society to repeat "the mistakes of the past" in the present.

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    3. It's the fear of offending someone in a foreign country unknowingly is my big concern. I love to travel but I'd prefer a tour if I didn't know the language or the do's and don't of a particular village.

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    4. Thanks Cheryl and Rita for your comments. I agree with both of your sentiments. When traveling in a foreign (or just different) place it's nice to have the input of a guide or local who can explain the local customs / culture. And travel broadens one's perspective on life and living. My way is NOT the only way and I need to appreciate the differences and similarities of life all over the world - and in my own back yard.
      As for nativism, I'm feeling positive that the government finally decided to look for alternatives for the pipeline in North Dakota. That's respecting our own country's natives in a positive way. We must learn to work these things out with respect for all.

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