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'Austerity' Is Merriam-Webster's Word Of The Year

As if we didn't already know that times are tough in lots of places, there's this:

Dictionary giant Merriam-Webster says "austerity" is its 2010 "Word of the Year."

John Morse, president and publisher of the dictionary, tells the Associated Press that as debt crises spread around Europe this year, "austerity" was the subject of more than 250,000 searches .

"What we look for ... are the words that have had spikes that strike us very much as an anomaly for their regular behavior," Morse told the AP. "The word that really qualifies this year for that is 'austerity'."

Others that made the "top 10" for that reason:

-- Pragmatic.

-- Moratorium.

-- Socialism.

-- Bigot.

-- Doppelganger.

-- Shellacking.

-- Ebullient.

-- Dissident.

-- Furtive.

And here's one pretty easy (we think) trivia question inspired by this year's list:

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.