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Austerity. David Brooks loves it, the British are good at it, and the French are going to have to get used to it. But what does the word actually mean? (Cheapness. It's a fancy word for cheapness.) According to Merriam-Webster, enough people were unsure of the definition to make it 2010's most looked-up word on, ahead of 'pragmatic', 'moratorium' and, presumably, "David Broder."

"Austerity clearly resonates with many people," said Merriam-Webster editor Peter Sokolowski. "We often hear it used in the context of government measures, but we also apply it to our own personal finances and what is sometimes called the new normal."

Since we're living in the Age of Austerity, the attention makes sense. It does, however, throw into sharp relief the lack of Google searches for "ice" during the last ice age.

(H/T to Time)

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