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Word of the Year
News Bytes 12/5/2019 67 Comments

What do the environment, gun violence, democracy, and a plastic spork have in common? All helped decide Dictionary.com’s 2019 Word of the Year: existential.

Dictionary.com crunches data to select a word of the year. The site has been doing so since 2010.

The word existential has been around since at least 1685. Dictionary.com defines it as “relating to existence.” Most people think of the word as dealing with the meaning of human life.

Searches for existential spiked when 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg talked about climate change as an “existential” crisis, says John Kelly, senior research editor at Dictionary.com. Another spike happened when former Vice President Joe Biden called President Donald Trump an “existential threat.”

Internet searches showed the word cropping up in discussions of the Notre Dame fire, U.S.-China tensions, Big Tech’s privacy problems, and the Hong Kong protests. People also searched the word after the California wildfires, Hurricane Dorian, and mass shootings in New Zealand and Texas.

“We started to see existential in the dialogue beginning in January,” says Jennifer Steeves-Kiss, Dictionary.com’s chief executive officer, “and all the way through the year.”

The idea of existential also came up in pop culture—in the tale of Forky the white plastic spork of Toy Story 4. Forky believes his destiny is the trash until he becomes a treasured toy of kindergartener Bonnie.

Some people see Forky’s journey from throwaway scrap to handmade toy as an example of being in charge of one’s own existence. But many Christians view Forky’s journey differently. They believe Forky changed only because of Bonnie. In real life, dust becomes human, clay becomes a vessel, humans become righteous only by divine intervention. (Genesis 2:7, Jeremiah 18:4)

“Forky. . . can also inspire us to ask big questions about who we are, about our purpose,” suggests Kelly.

Thankfully, God’s word gives clear guidance about every human’s purpose: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

(The word existential is shown in a dictionary. AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

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Most recent comments

That's interesting. I didn't

That's interesting. I didn't know there was a word of the year, but I'm not surprised.

That's neat!

That's neat!

existential

I never used that word. That's interesting. : )
Oh, and Climate change is NOT happening.

existential

ok in MY opinion: President trump is not an “existential threat.”
And Global warming is not an “existential threat.” either.

Hello?

Hello?

Janna

Interesting.................existential is a weird word. (I DO NOT like Greta Thunberg)

@ Janna

Why not? I'd never even heard of her before this article, so I don't know what she's like.

@Lena P

She is a climate change activist and I think she gets too much credit.

To Above (beth G)

oh! I agree! Is that the girls who went out to our congress?

Good 'ol Greta

So I don't know if all of you have heard, but there was a big to-do about how The honorable Greta Thunberg, The savior of mankind, sailed here by herself in some sort of carbon-efficient sailboat, or what-have-you. Well, the thing is, that same boat was FLOWN back to whatever Scandinavian country kicked her and her 30 IQ points out. I repeat, it was flown on A JET PLANE, the second apex predator of the planet, next to plastic. So hypocritical, as the whole point of her journey in the boat was to REDUCE her "carbon footprint." Also, sleepy, creepy uncle Joe, to borrow a phrase from one of my favorite talk show hosts, claims that Trump is a threat. How? is it the fact that the unemployment level for blacks and hispanics is at an all-time low? Could it be that Trump's economy threatens the country by closing at alltime highs two days in a row, "on the brink of a recession" ? Perhaps the real threat to our country is the Democratic "impeachment" hearings, "upholding the constitution" by defying history, "keeping the people free" while taxing us more than King George III ever did, and prosecuting Trump for "using an investigation against his personal political enemy" as they do THE VERY SAME!? Could that be our real "existential threat"? (I don't have time to recount all the things I hate about Forky.)

That’s interesting I didn’t

That’s interesting I didn’t know there was a word of the year I knew there was a word of the day though. Also I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Forky he was funny! How many of you have seen Toy Story 4?

@ J A

Impressive.

@ Beth G. and J A

Oh ok. Thanks

Science

People can say climate change isn't happening as much as they want, but their own opinions and biases cant change hard fact. Oh well. I guess most people won't change their opinions until it's way to late.

@ Zack w

To late till what? The sun burnes up the earth? Or to late to exept Christ?

@ Zack W

OK. You might think the earth will be killed by people. But in the bible it states that Jesus will come back to earth. Not a dead earth but an alive earth with living people on it. Then he will live on earth a thousand years with living people. One thousand years is a long time so if you think the earth will be killed by people or the climate ( which makes no since) you can be safe un till Jesus comes back.
And just a question.? How will the perfectly God made climate kill the perfect God made earth? It makes no since to me as a Christian.

@NA

I agree! And also I think it's spelled sense not since! Not trying to be annoying! :)

@ Above

I was trying to figure that out . Sorry.

@NA

I agree. When Jesus comes back for his 1000 year PERFECT reign, we aren't going to be burned up. I mean I know us humans haven't kept the world in a good condition, but God has a plan for everything. We SHOULDN'T worry about it or dwell on what might happen.

I love words

I think it's cool that the word is existential. I believe more people should have an existential way of thinking instead of suicidal. In the military, suicide has jumped up 33%!!!!!!! This world needs HOPE, which is only found in JESUS. 47,173 are attempted yearly in the U.S. alone.

@Zoey

Yikes! That is a lot!

@ Zoey w

Glad you agree! That is very sad

Notice

I wonder why Zack w never responds to me?:-[

@Zack W

1. Climate change is happening.
2. We have little or no impact on it.
3. Thus, our opinions cannot affect the change of the climate.

@ J A

So you think the earth will die to?

Old

The same thing......this is getting old.....real....old..old..old

@Nadia A.

If we systematically covered the total land area of the earth with nuclear warheads, (something we are capable of doing) and then detonated them all, I thinks it's pretty safe to say that doing so would drastically alter the ecosystem, and probably eradicate humanity. Let me say that again, we are more than capable of killing ourselves. Climate change probably won't end in human extinction, but it will cause a whole lot of other terrible things unless it is stopped. Living with the philosophy of "Don't worry about anything, God will fix it" Isn't a good way to live. Christianity should never be an excuse for inactivity. God works through people, and when a threat to our world arrises, it is our job to deal with it. We are supposed to be stewards of creation, preserving God's earth, not letting it die while we sit and watch.

@J A

Your three simple statements contradict each other.
One, you say that climate change is not happening.
Then you say it is happening, but humans have no effect on it. Which is it?
Neither.
Man made climate change is indisputable fact. all the evidence points to a single conclusion. Yet, many people continue to look the other way, giving vague statements like "climate change isn't happening" with nothing to back it up.

Zack W

How old are you? You just kind of seem really old.

@ Zack w

Ya...you sound like a adult........how old are you?.....do you have a sister named Ava?
I trust in God.

@ Zack w

You might think the earth will die. Do you think that? What's the end result of ''global warming''? I would like to know.
Please answer this how old are you?

@Zack w

Look,I'm not in high school yet so please say what you first said to me about war heads in a simpler way please? I didn't understand. :-)

@Zack

Living with the philosophy of "Don't worry about anything, God will fix it" Isn't a good way to live. Christianity should never be an excuse for inactivity. God works through people, and when a threat to our world arrises, it is our job to deal with it. We are supposed to be stewards of creation, preserving God's earth, not letting it die while we sit and watch.

Yes! I agree one hundred percent!!

To Above

You think the earth will die? Solo....old

@Nadia A.

I'm currently 15.

Well God said

Well God said
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
So yes the earth will die or whatever but that’s not what I was really talking about

Eating dinner

Eating dinner

Done eating dinner! Lol

Done eating dinner! Lol
I was agreeing with Zack on as Christians we should do things and not just sit around! Like holding signs against abortion or passing out tracks or whatever!

@Zack w

Oh..ya 3 years older than me. You sound very smart... what grade are you in? Do you have a sister named Ava??

@ Beth H and Zack W

Yes in the end God will burn the earth, Not people!
I agree we should not just sit back and let things like what's happened in California with the homeless and garbage keep happening.
But we should not go around like Greta Thunburg or what ever her name was and go around preaching to people especially the US! Go to china or something!
I don't think we should through garbage everywhere, and I don't think we should exclude humans to save the earth. Like that crazy ''green new deal'' by that socialist woman in Congress!

To Everyone by Elsie

I don't know how I feel about global warming. I deffinatly think that its bad to throw plastic in the sea and litter and the evriroment isnt as healthy as it could be....

@N&M A

No I don't. Climate change has always happened. It always will happen. It is usually (USUALLY, ZACK) not harmful to the earth or its inhabitants.

@ Zack W

How do they contradict? The earth has gone through a series of warming and cooling periods before. For instance there are grapevines under feet of ice in (what I think is) Nova Scotia that the vikings had planted back when they were driving around in their SUV's and private planes. Oh wait. They weren't. Do you know what climate change is defined as? Then stop making universal claims without proven (PROVEN) evidence to back it up. Why do you blindly trust these scientists? What about the over 1000 that say that men have no effect on climate change?

@Myself

That kind of was really disjointed, so Ill paste Zack's here, and then my response to it in [brackets].
If we systematically covered the total land area of the earth with nuclear warheads, (something we are capable [but won't, so it doesn't really matter] of doing) and then detonated them all, I thinks it's pretty safe to say that doing so would drastically alter the ecosystem, and probably eradicate humanity [But we would have no need to cover the entire earth with warheads]. Let me say that again, we are more than capable of killing ourselves. Climate change probably won't end in human extinction, but it will cause a whole lot of other terrible things [Like what] unless it is stopped. Living with the philosophy of "Don't worry about anything, God will fix it" Isn't a good way to live [Living with the philosophy of "Don't worry, government-sponsored science will fix it" isn't a good way to live]. Christianity should never be an excuse for inactivity. God works through people, and when a threat to our world arises, it is our job to deal with it [How? You've been yammering on over here, but you haven't reached the "donate to my campaign fund" stage yet.]. We are supposed to be stewards of creation, preserving God's earth, not letting it die while we sit and watch.
Your three simple statements contradict each other.
One, you say that climate change is not happening.
Then you say it is happening, but humans have no effect on it. Which is it?
[I'm afraid you don't know how to read. Perhaps if you read my comment, you would see that I said "1. Climate change is happening."]
Neither.
Man made climate change is indisputable fact. [What are over 1000 scientists doing right now? Disputing it.] all the evidence points to a single conclusion. [Show the evidence to me] Yet, many people continue to look the other way, giving vague statements like "climate change isn't happening" with nothing to back it up. [Yet, many people continue to blindly follow, making universal statements like "man made climate change is indisputable fact" with only what they've been told in class and in the news to back it up.]

@J A

You're right, that was a bit disjointed. Let's all just take a deep breath and go through this rationally.
These seem to be your main arguments/statements/points. Please, correct me if I'm wrong, as I have shown myself incapable of deriving your intended meaning in the past.

1. Recent climate trends are just another step in the earths very old climate cycle. It's completely natural and humans have no effect on it.

2. 1000 scientists say climate change isn't true

3. I shouldn't blindly trust the scientists who say it is true

4. You want to know what the effects of climate change will be.

5. You want to

@ Zack W

ok could you clarify this to me,I don't understand.
What is the end result that's so horribly terrible of "Global warming"?
The Climate is changing but what's so horrible about it?

@ Josh

Yes. I agree 100% with you!

@ Zack W

@ Zack W

So......do you believe in spontaneous generation?
Are you a Christian?

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