Skip to main content

2014 in words: 'Culture' joins 'vape' and 'exposure' as words of the year

  • Author:
  • Updated:

"Culture" is Merriam-Webster's word of the year for 2014.

The dictionary landed on culture by figuring out which of their most popular words experienced the biggest spike in lookups this year compared to last year.

"Culture is a word that we seem to be relying on more and more. It allows us to identify and isolate an idea, issue, or group with seriousness," Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster, said in a statement. "And it's efficient: we talk about the 'culture' of a group rather than saying 'the typical habits, attitudes, and behaviors' of that group."

Other publications have already named their word of the year. Oxford Dictionary picked "vape" for its connection to the e-cigarette movement, while chose "exposure" for its tie to big news stories of the year, including the Ebola outbreak.

Merriam-Webster says culture is typically a big word around back-to-school time, but they think people looked it up beyond the school year because phrases such as "celebrity culture," "rape culture" and "company culture" graced headlines nationwide.

Culture was looked up 15 percent more this year than it was last year, according to The Associated Press.

Last year's Merriam-Webster word of the year was science.

Next Up


Charges: Minnesota elementary school teacher sexually assaulted 3 boys

The incidents were captured on video taken inside an elementary school classroom.

Police tape

Person shot by police in St. Paul Monday evening

It happened around 6:10 p.m. on the city's East Side.

Kollie Jr.

Woman killed in Moorhead identified as suspect's mother

An appeal has been issued to find the suspect's vehicle, which remains missing.


Ticket details released for 5-week run of 'Hamilton' in Minneapolis

The tour of the production has been delayed twice due to the pandemic.


Minnesota Board of Pharmacy files lawsuit against 3 THC edible retailers

The board has received 46 complaints in the past four months regarding the products.

Screen Shot 2022-12-05 at 2.53.55 PM

ATF now investigating fire at Lyndale Avenue apartment building

It was the second fire at a vacant building owned by the same landlord that was being used by squatters in the past few months.


Let the good times roll

Minnesota Roller Derby is back!


Beloved restaurant in southeastern MN to close after 40 years

A final night of celebrations is scheduled for Dec. 17.


MN town shelves ordinance allowing residents to sue abortion providers

Attorney General Keith Ellison advised the town to not go forward with the ordinance.

Spring Street Tavern

Man shot dead inside Minneapolis tavern is identified

The suspect is being held on probable cause murder.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Strokes to play U.S. Bank Stadium in 2023

The Strokes will provide support along with King Princess.