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Merriam-Webster's 2014 word of the year: CULTURE

Merriam-Webster based its pick on significant increases in lookups this year over last on

"We're simply using the word culture more frequently," said Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster. "It may be a fad. It may not. It may simply be evolution."

Of an estimated 100 million lookups on the website each year and on the company's app, culture enjoyed a 15 percent year-over-year increase. "We have noticed for years that culture has a cyclical spike every year at around Labor Day," he said in an interview with Mashable. "In recent years we've seen similar spikes at the end of semesters during finals."  But traffic throughout the year indicates that culture is a "chameleon," Sokolowski said. "When you put it next to another word it means something very different. For example, 'consumer culture' or 'rape culture,' which we've been reading about lately."  There's the "culture of transparency" in government and business, and "celebrity culture," and the "culture of winning" in sports, he noted. "It's a word that can be very specific, like 'test prep culture,' or it can be very, very broad, like 'coffee culture.'"

In the context of training government employees, military members and civilian support to work alongside other cultures, the word can mean a number of things as well.  Here at we want to talk about the common aspects of every culture as well as specific, regional cultures. 

Read more here.

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