• Chris Dlugosz

Merriam-Webster announced last week that the word of the year—the one most frequently queried in its online dictionary—is “pragmatic,” which, being a dry and utilitarian descriptor, is a letdown. How boring! As a social barometer, it also strikes me as unrepresentative of a year that saw both the Occupy movement—say what you will about them, they’re not pragmatists exactly—and the Republican presidential primary, peopled primarily by fantasists. Merriam editor at large Peter Sokolowski told the Chicago Tribune that his site experienced increased searches for the word at midsummer, during the first round of debt-ceiling talks, and in November, when the Congressional supercommittee considered the debt problem again. “Supercommittee”—now there’s a heady little compound.