"With socialism and capitalism, it's clear that many people turned to the dictionary to help make sense of the commentary that often surrounds these words,” said John Morse, president and publisher at Merriam-Webster, in a press release.
Making sense of the commentary meant understanding the negative connotations attached to both words, which was often injected into political debates and campaign ads.
Conservatives called President Obama a socialist, attacking wealth redistribution policies such as health-care reform, tax increases for the wealthy, and entitlement programs such as food stamps. Liberals hit back at Mitt Romney for his experience at his venture capital firm, Bain Capital, which they accused of killing jobs in the US. Even Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a fellow Republican, called Mr. Romney a “vulture capitalist” during the primary.
Beyond socialism and capitalism, the list included other political words: Democracy ranked No. 5, globalization No. 7, as well as bigot (No. 3) and marriage (No. 4), which were driven by the same-sex marriage debate.
Words indirectly related to politics represent lighter side of election season.