“Trust” is the Wordsmyth Word-of-the-Year!

Thanks to everyone who participated in our annual Word of the Year selection. Whether you nominated a word, discussed Word of the Year in your classroom, or simply cast your vote, thank you for your participation!

Our Word of the Year selection straddles two years – 2019 and 2020. Some people nominate a word that was important in the past year, and some people nominate a word whose meaning is important looking forward to 2020. And some words look in both directions. Our users have selected a word that looks in both directions.

Why trust?

One voter commented that they valued the nomination for “trust” because the nominating essay was “simple and well explained to the core.” The nominating essay pointed out that trust can be both fragile and resilient. According to the user who nominated “trust”,

It is one of the strongest and the weakest things you may come across. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to build and keep up trust, yet it can be so easily broken.

In the past year, the “trust” that binds our political system has been challenged in new ways. And the possibility of rebuilding trust will be an important theme in 2020.

The nomination for the word in second place – “humanity” – also hints at a backward looking anxiety and forward looking hope that depends on trust. Perhaps this sheds some light on the choice of “trust”. Looking backward, the nominating essay notes that

[Humanity] is the progenitor of war, oppression, bigotry, hatred, prejudice, and so on. It is the race endangered by its own actions and the group that impedes its own recovery for reasons of greed, pride, avarice, and any number of vices.

The essay then looks forward to remind us that

Ironically, as it is also defined, Humanity is synonymous with kindness, charity, and thoughtfulness, and any number of virtues. The widespread practice of these benevolent, humane qualities—pity, mercy, consideration—would heal the world.

One voter anticipated commented that “In order to have a future for humanity, we have to WANT to help ALL of humanity, not just those in our little corner of the world.”

It seems our users have chosen trust because it is the powerful but delicate connection among us all. If we can build trust among all of humanity, we will be building the possibility of our future.

Happy new year! Happy wordsmything!!