And the Merriam Webster Word of the Year is … Culture!

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It turns out that we’re not the only ones obsessed with culture. Merriam Webster has named “culture” the word of the year for 2014. As a company called CultureIQ, we’re pretty proud of this year’s word.

Merriam Webster chooses their word of the year based on spikes in lookups, and therefore the word really does represent the year’s linguistic zeitgeist, or shall I say, the year’s cultural trends.

According to Merriam Webster:

“The term conveys a kind of academic attention to systematic behavior and allows us to identify and isolate an idea, issue, or group…This year, the use of the word culture to define ideas in this way has moved from the classroom syllabus to the conversation at large, appearing in headlines and analyses across a wide swath of topics.”

While the concept of culture is extremely broad, the definition is surprisingly simple: “a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization” or “the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time.”

Here at CultureIQ, we’re constantly talking about organizational culture, work culture, company culture, office culture… the list goes on! 

This was a big year for company culture, but it was also a big year for various other applications of the word. To demonstrate this topic, I encouraged CultureIQ employees think outside of our “company culture” lens, and asked them what they think of when they hear the word “culture.”

Here were some responses:

“Yogurt”

“Kombucha” (It looks like probiotic cultures had a big year)

“Culture shock”

“Culture describes, for me, the habits and rituals of a distinct group.”

“Ethnicity”

“Pop culture”

“Counter-culture”

Given all these different applications, it’s no wonder so many people are looking up our favorite word!

We’re happy 2014 was the year for culture, but we’re dedicated to making it shine in every organization, every year.

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