Sunday December 16, 2018

Word ‘Surreal’ Declared Merriam-Webster’s 2016 Word of the Year, as it was most searched term by Online Users

Surreal joined the Oxford English Dictionary's "post-truth" and Dictionary.com's "xenophobia" as top words of the year

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Surreal
A photo shows the "surreal" entry in a Merriam-Webster's dictionary in New York, Dec. 17, 2016. VOA
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Chicago, December 19, 2016: In a word, 2016 was “surreal.”

Surreal, meaning “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream” was looked up so much by online users that Merriam-Webster on Monday dubbed it the 2016 word of the year.

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Surreal joined the Oxford English Dictionary’s “post-truth” and Dictionary.com’s “xenophobia” as top words of the year.

“Our word of the year is one that people came back to over and over again in response to several events, and it gives us a look at 2016, according to what sent us to the dictionary,” Merriam-Webster editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski said in a video posted by the company on its website.

Merriam-Webster began tracking dictionary lookup trends in 1996, the same year the dictionary first landed online. The publisher said it ranks the word based off two criteria: a significant year-over-year increase in lookups online, and a high volume of lookups.

“Surreal” had its most significant spike this year following the U.S. presidential election in November, Sokolowski said.

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Searches for the word first surged after the Brussels attack in March and then again in July after the Bastille Day massacre in Nice, France and a coup attempt in Turkey.

The word was first defined in a Merriam-Webster dictionary in 1967 and derives from the Surrealism artistic movement of the early 1900s.

In recent history, “surreal” rose to the top of searches after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, the Newtown shootings that left 26 children and educators at a Connecticut elementary school dead in 2012, the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 and comedian Robin Williams’ suicide in 2014, according to Merriam-Webster.

Other words on Merriam-Webster’s notable list:

Icon – The spike in lookups came after Prince’s death on April 21, when searchers were also looking up “surreal.”

Bigly – Looked up mostly during the U.S. presidential election after then Republican candidate Donald Trump, using “big league” as an adverb, made it sound like the word “bigly.”

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Deplorable – Democratic president candidate Hillary Clinton, during the election, famously called Trump supporters a “basket full of deplorables.”

Check out Merriam-Webster’s complete list of notable 2016 words. (VOA)

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)