[2005: the year of integrity]

Topic: Culture

Merriam-Webster Online has announced its Words of the Year 2005, based on user lookups. And the winner is …

Integrity. Of all things. I suppose there’s been a lot of questioning of people’s integrity in the last year, so it makes a certain amount of sense. The rest of the top-ten list has more of a du jour feel about it:

2. refugee
3. contempt
4. filibuster
5. insipid
6. tsunami
7. pandemic
8. conclave
9. levee
10. inept

You can peg 2 and 9 and probably 10 to Hurricane Katrina. Number 3 is on the list because of Judith Miller’s long summer in the clink for contempt of court, waiting for the aspens to turn. Four obviously has to do with the whole Supreme Court nomination pre-battle, 6 is self-explanatory, and 7 is the product of our ongoing low-grade panic over avian influenza. Insipid, like integrity, is a bit of a mystery to me. Any ideas?