Actually, it’s two words, capitalism and socialism. The unlikely duo were the most looked-up words of 2012, and now they have been named the words of the year by Merriam-Webster. Traffic for the two words doubled on the dictionary’s website as the health care debate heated up and discussion intensified over “American capitalism” versus “European socialism.” Here are the top 10 words of 2012 and their meanings:

1. Socialism and Capitalism (tie)
Socialism: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. Capitalism: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

2. Touche:
Used to acknowledge a hit in fencing or the success or appropriateness of an argument, an accusation, or a witty point

3. Bigot:
A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

4. Marriage:
(1) the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage

5. Democracy:
Government by the people; especially rule of the majority

6. Professionalism:
The conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person

7. Globalization:
The act or process of globalizing; the development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign labor markets

8. Malarkey:
Insincere or foolish talk; bunkum

9. Schadenfreude:
Enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others

10. Meme:
An idea, behavior, style or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture

The previous years’ top word, according to Merriam-Webster:

  • 2011: Pragmatic
  • 2010: Austerity
  • 2009: Admonish
  • 2008: Bailout
  • 2007: w00t
  • 2006: Truthiness
  • 2005: Integrity
  • 2004: Blog
  • 2003: Democracy