Learn why “change” is our 2010 Word of the Year, and tell us what you think

After hours of calculation, deliberation, and lexical prestidigitation, we are pleased to reveal our selection for the 2010 Word of the Year.

In 2010, millions of people visited Dictionary.com to learn the right spelling, pronunciation, or definition of millions of words. Our Word of the Year directly reflects the hard work of our users — a word that experienced a surge of look-ups in the past 12 months. The word is change. It’s not trendy, funny, nor was it coined on Twitter, but we think it tells a real story about how our users define 2010.

Change of course has two common meanings: 1. “To make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone.” 2. “Coins of low denomination.”

This isn’t 2008, and “change” is no longer a campaign slogan. Yet it still captures the popular imagination. Why? The national debate can arguably be summarized by the question: In the past two years, has there been enough change? Has there been too much? Meanwhile, many Americans continue to face change in their homes, bank accounts and jobs. Only time will tell if the latest wave of change Americans voted for in the midterm elections will result in a negative or positive outcome.

The change jangling in your pocket may explain the desire to know the meaning of “change” better than any specific event. These are tough times.

The runner-ups for Word of the Year provide a fuller picture: “Success,” “unique,” “character,” also surged in the number of look-ups in 2010. If you can’t define success by material prosperity, what’s left? We can’t say for certain, but one hopes that increases in “unique,” and “character” reflect a search for personal growth.

You may have noticed that “refudiate,” a coinage by Sarah Palin, has been receiving tons of attention in the press as one of the words with the most buzz in 2010. A crucial requirement for our selection is that a word candidate exist in our dictionaries. At present, “refudiate” is more of a phenomenon than a dictionary entry. Not that we refuse or repudiate the malapropism; the fuss around refudiate has been one of the highlights of the Hot Word. Read the hundreds of comments users have posted about it, here.

We aren’t done yet. After Thanksgiving, stay tuned for the chance to help select our User’s Word of the Year. Through the end of the year, you will have a chance to nominate and vote on the word that you think best exemplifies 2010. We will share user suggestions and narrrow down the nominations till we announce the winner on January 1, 2011.

Until then, let us know what you think of “change.” Does it reflect your experience over the past 10 months? As always, we appreciate your enthusiasm and love of language.

Officials Say Medicare Official Reassigned

AP Online September 20, 2005 | KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press Writer KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press Writer AP Online 09-20-2005 Dateline: WASHINGTON A high-ranking Medicare officer, whose medical license was suspended because he falsified documents concerning his continuing education, was reassigned to another government agency, officials said Tuesday.

The confirmation of the reassignment of Sean R. Tunis came one day after the inspector general for the Health and Human Services Department released an updated list of people and businesses excluded from doing business with federal health care programs. Tunis was on the list. go to website maryland board of physicians

Tunis, who was the chief medical officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, helped determine what services and medical devices Medicare would reimburse. He had been placed on paid administrative leave in April.

Tunis’ medical license was suspended last May for at least a year by the Maryland Board of Physicians. The board’s Web site states that it found the physician guilty of unprofessional conduct in the practice of medicine and of willfully making or filing a false report in the practice of medicine.

Tunis will now serve as a senior biomedical research scientist at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. go to site maryland board of physicians

Christina Pearson, an HHS spokeswoman, said she could not discuss why a transfer was allowed because it was a personnel matter. She noted, however, that the inspector general’s finding was unrelated to Tunis’ job performance, which was described as stellar.

“He does have valuable experience that will be helpful,” she said.

Pearson said Tunis would not serve as a medical officer, but will work on a variety of projects related to the education of health care researchers.


On the Net:


  1. Mike -  March 21, 2012 - 3:22 am

    Change. I’ll admit it has some political currency to it. ;) (Sorry, my mind is only a quarter there — from smoking too many dime bags.)

  2. Ravenclaw -  January 10, 2011 - 3:40 pm

    I hoped it would have been “epic” or “defenestrate”. Though I am extremley biased, they’re my favourite words!:(
    Change doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as pleasant.

  3. Cliff -  January 10, 2011 - 2:42 pm

    Unfortunately if only it were true! Same ol’, same ol’ … the rich keep getting richer and the porr keep getting poorer. And who’s in charge of getting us out of this global financial mess? … why, the very same people who got us into it in the first place! Change, WHAT CHANGE?

  4. Paisley -  January 8, 2011 - 4:00 pm

    Change is the perfect word for what you guys did to the votes and the top five words. All because of you!!!!!!!

  5. Paisley -  January 8, 2011 - 3:57 pm

    Well change should not be the word. . . It wasn’t even on the list, it is you snobs just making up a new word. That isn’t right no one voted for it but you guys. It is offensive to those 10,000 people who took their time and voted for the real 5 words you should respect the choice and give the winner with 40 more votes word of the year.

  6. wayne -  January 7, 2011 - 8:03 pm

    so what is the word of the year, i still dont know , which word got the most votes.

  7. Phoebe -  January 7, 2011 - 9:32 am

    The only person who wants “change” is a baby with a dirty diaper.

  8. emilie -  January 7, 2011 - 8:33 am

    Change in all its guises deserves to be top word. The only real problem lies in the difficulty we have doing it.

  9. Barb -  January 6, 2011 - 2:46 pm

    Change. You’ve lost me here. That wasn’t on the list.

  10. Jubilee -  January 6, 2011 - 1:10 pm

    Why ‘Change’? I would really expect it to be ‘epic’ or ‘bruhaha’ but NO it was ‘Change’! All of the things that I think about as a change is Prices, and…well…. a whole bunch of stuff. But ‘Change’? Why ‘Change’?

  11. Fact_Hater -  January 6, 2011 - 12:49 pm

    @gavin: its not ‘jeese’, it’s jeez. duh.

  12. THEY_ARE_COMING -  January 6, 2011 - 12:47 pm

    i like epic better….because THEY told me so…..you better agree to THEM or THEY will come get you….in your bed at night….THEY agree with me, don’t THEY

  13. Bob Wickleperry -  January 5, 2011 - 7:55 pm

    Change? I expected some big, fancy-pants word

  14. Steph -  January 5, 2011 - 7:49 pm

    BORING! Discombobulate would’ve been so much better!

  15. gavin -  January 4, 2011 - 11:30 pm

    who cares about the word of the year go feed a baby or kill a terrorist jeese.

  16. ESL -  January 4, 2011 - 10:11 pm

    I can’t believe “Change” got chosen as the word of the year. In a way, it does describe the many changes of the year.

  17. Jototheyoyo -  January 4, 2011 - 11:01 am

    I preffered ‘Discombobulate’ more. ):

  18. Kyle -  January 4, 2011 - 5:02 am

    Wow! How creative. Change. BORING!

  19. adh -  January 3, 2011 - 5:19 pm

    it is called puberty

  20. Marx Lenn Mendoza -  January 3, 2011 - 4:35 pm

    well “Change” is the word of 2010, i thought one of those top 5 hahaha…well i think that’s what you call changes….nice…change is the only constant in this world and everyone should be prepared of it…have a wonderful year of 2011 to everyone and hope that changes would mold us into a better person…

  21. vicky -  December 3, 2010 - 4:28 pm

    change -for me is a 100% turning from left to right,from before to now, from wrong to right,from no to yes,from old to new.no in between.

  22. Noteni -  November 24, 2010 - 2:35 pm

    *Yawn* The word “change” has lost its meaning through overuse in the past year, and I’m so tired of non-political companies latching onto this word such as you’ve done here.

  23. L.T. -  November 24, 2010 - 12:37 pm


  24. Triple M -  November 24, 2010 - 12:25 pm

    Well, i enjoy turdunken. But,

    My name is Triple M
    however i enjoy my children better, even when they’re garlicy

    slaughter time biyotch

  25. Deb Burton -  November 23, 2010 - 1:01 pm

    A change is as good as a rest… All change is seen as loss = grief…
    Sayings are interesting! Why look up change? Is it a characteristic of this new century? I’ve noticed a general trend for some to dig deeper into either their trickiness, while some have turned back to the good old values such as ‘your word is your bond’ realising trust is what sells product! Reminds me of something… Rev. 22:11-12 (NIV)
    “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”
    Looking it up, some commentary: The thought here is probably “since Jesus is coming so suddenly, there won’t be time for change.” There will be no time for last minute repentance, but there is time now. If what you have read in Revelation hasn’t changed you, there isn’t much hope! (David Guzik) “It is the hopelessness of the final state of the wicked which is here pictured. The states of both the evil and the good are now fixed forever. There is no word here about a ‘second chance’ hereafter.” (Robertson)

  26. louis paiz -  November 23, 2010 - 11:22 am

    for me change is something that would not happen overnight it id a prosses that takes time first because every happening brings a new way of tought or thinking. we are affected not only by wars but also buy new discoveries.man changes in many ways not only phisically but also mentally i am refreining my self of i,many times but i have or am the pure sample of what change is oall about . am i the same person of 10 or 15 years ago yes but with a different mentallity. just to make it short when we move to usa, with my wife it was like if we reborned again we have had to learn a new language new way of leaving a new culture so our children and grand children could enjoy all what we have today. am not talking about wealth but a different way bean whom we are.if i continue it will sound like if am salling my life story. thanks

  27. smoothius -  November 23, 2010 - 8:02 am

    if we’re going to use change for its reference to what we expected from this new administration then i think it would be better to use the word we all feel now… regret

  28. CHANGE | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  November 23, 2010 - 8:00 am

    [...] “KEEP THE CHANGE.” when driving a TAXI was always a welcome sound. — As we’ve learned from being homeless on occasion — money makes the world go round. — Though some would wait for thirty cents we knew they needed it more than us — Why they were catching a cab instead of walking or catching a bus. — Is a Stereotypical Story. — The I-CHING “The BOOK of CHANGES” — We’ve studied for about thirty years. — The Wilhelm and Baynes translation with a forward by CG Jung — another point of view is offered without the drinking of beers. — Never having read Paradise Lost.– From Uncle Milty we learned everything dies and no one is wise and CHANGE is not merely a word — It’s a cost. –>>Rupert L.T.Rhyme [...]

  29. smoothius -  November 23, 2010 - 7:58 am

    the only thing that stays the same is that everything changes

  30. William -  November 23, 2010 - 6:59 am

    Things change when there is no choice at hand and I do no know how it comes about that way…but a monkey on my back gets off more or less.

  31. sama -  November 22, 2010 - 2:18 pm

    i think “change” is the word of the year because every year sometimes different because u know everything just changing.

  32. mark v -  November 22, 2010 - 2:16 pm

    i have so many objections to that.

  33. whoDoYouThink -  November 22, 2010 - 1:55 pm

    if you think about it when you think about change cause when you think about change while change happens you tend to notice change that happens somewhere else besides where you are. wether someone died their hair or they grew another foot you will have difficulty seeing change with you. we can help or change anyone and everyone except for ourselves

  34. mark v -  November 22, 2010 - 1:24 pm

    I hate change, it always changes things.

  35. Kelli -  November 22, 2010 - 1:21 pm

    Oh, please. Seriously? That’s the best you could come up with?

    “The more things change, the more they stay the same” <–Absolute truth.

  36. william regan -  November 22, 2010 - 12:24 pm

    one thing won’t change, endemic racism, lipstick on a pig

  37. Jer Bear -  November 22, 2010 - 12:05 pm

    I have change in my pockets.

  38. Cyberquill -  November 22, 2010 - 12:01 pm

    The final week of November hasn’t even begun. How come the word of the year is determined already? What if there’s a sudden upsurge of alter in December that would, well, change the result?

  39. Odyseuss -  November 22, 2010 - 11:42 am

    Im rich pers….. AWWWWWW!Drops million dollars!

  40. Odyseuss -  November 22, 2010 - 11:41 am

    Spare change?Puppy eyes

  41. Opeth -  November 22, 2010 - 11:38 am

    Outside in the park, the days move along, and nothing ever changes.
    They know nothing of us, but we’ve always known that nothing ever changes.

  42. Elizabeth -  November 22, 2010 - 11:15 am

    Everything changes all the time. 2010 is different from 2009, as that year was different from the year before. For some, things have gotten better but for some things have gone horribly wrong. Change is all around us, happening all the time, for better or worse. I always am wary of anyone who claims to bring “change”. Especially if they don’t specify whether it will be ruinous or not.

  43. LLSJ -  November 22, 2010 - 11:03 am

    I’m really sick of that word…

  44. Clare -  November 22, 2010 - 10:58 am

    In the long run, the things that have happened this year will be like a bump in the road when it comes to “change”. I’m always wondering what event we consider huge now will be nothing in the future.

  45. Nathan Hunter -  November 22, 2010 - 10:51 am


    I totally agree with you. I looked at the title and though the very same thing.

  46. Wendy -  November 22, 2010 - 10:46 am

    I agree, I identify myself with “change” as the word of the 2010

  47. Ron -  November 22, 2010 - 9:51 am

    If I remember correctly, President John F Kennedy’s campaign manager once wrote a book about campaigning, and recommended that for any non-incumbent, they use the slogan ‘change’, e.g. ‘Vote Jones for Change’. So the use of the word ‘change’ for politics is pretty well used.

    The question is, do the searches for ‘character’ indicate a desire for personal change?

  48. Saf -  November 22, 2010 - 9:38 am

    Why do I have the feeling that most of those searches for “change” were for the purpose of copying-and-pasting the definition into some kind of smart-alecky political statement on a forum somewhere?


  49. Yomama -  November 22, 2010 - 9:32 am

    hahahahahaha jk

  50. Yomama -  November 22, 2010 - 9:31 am

    wowwww…. nothing has changed. the only thing we’ve changed is our minds, because we changed our minds about… obama

  51. pi -  November 22, 2010 - 9:26 am

    ….it’s not a neologism….


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