Merriam-Webster Picks 'Pragmatic' as Word of Year

By STEPHANIE REITZ | December 15, 2011 | 2:35 AM EST

When the time came for Merriam-Webster to pick its 2011 Word of the Year, its editors decided they needed to be pragmatic. So they chose ... pragmatic.

That adjective, which means practical and logical, was looked up so often at Merriam-Webster's online dictionary site that the Massachusetts-based publisher says "pragmatic" was the pragmatic choice.

The publisher says it seemed to spark users' interest because they heard it in conversations about congressional actions and U.S. finances. Merriam-Webster's editors say it also captures the current mood of encouraging practicality over frivolity.

They expect some might be surprised that "occupy" didn't make the top spot — but it didn't prompt an unusual number of dictionary searches, despite the widespread conversation about Occupy Wall Street and similar protests.