The publisher said the words share the top spot on the list of the top 10 words of 2012 due to their heavy usage during discussions and debates about the U.S. presidential election.
"We saw a huge spike for socialism on Election Day itself but interest in both words was very high all year," said Peter Sokolowski, editor at large at Merriam-Webster. "Lookups of one word often led to lookups of the other."
Other words making the list include "meme," which Sokolowski described as "the noun form of the adjective viral" when discussing Internet trends, and "touche," which the dictionary said one uses "to admit that someone has made a clever or effective point in an argument."
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