The New York Times’s Most Looked Up Words

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Staturday: The New York Times‘s Most Looked Up Words

The Times just released its list of the words that most people clicked on to look up when reading online in 2009. Which words stumped the most people? Here’s a look at the top five:The definitions, and the number of times looked up, are below. You can see the full list here.SUI GENERIS: unique, from the Latin “of its own kind” (7,645 look-ups). Most recent use: “But Muriel’s was sui generis. You passed through a door beside an Italian restaurant, climbed stairs smelling of damp or worse, and entered a dark green room with a bar to the left.”SOLIPSISTIC : the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist (6,134 look-ups). Most recent use: “Some critics hail her as a major figure in world letters; others dismiss her as a comparative lightweight whose work is solipsistic at best, salacious at worst.”LOUCHE: disreputable or sordid in a rakish or appealing way (4,636 look-ups). Most recent use, a headline (this article also contains the most recent use of sui generis): “Den Mother to the Louche and Famous”LACONIC: using very few words (4,395 look-ups). Most recent use: “Laconic and suspicious, Cali isn’t pleased when Tice agrees to give shelter to a white man on the run, Corbin Teel (Garret Dillahunt), who shows up at their door, looking desperate.”SATURNINE: slow and gloomy (4,211 look-ups). Most recent use: “Dick Cheney has done many dastardly things. But presiding over policies so saturnine that they ended up putting the liberal speaker from San Francisco on the hot seat about torture may be one of his proudest achievements.”
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