The worst words of 2017

In light of the #metoo movement, it should come as no surprise that Merriam Webster declared "feminism" as the top trending word of 2017.

Across the pond, the Oxford word of the year was "youthquake," a word that must've caught fire in the U.K., but didn't get get much usage in the U.S. It is defined as a "significant social, cultural or political change arising from the actions and in influence of young people."

How does a word or a phase become a trend? University of Minnesota linguist Anatoly Liberman joined MPR News host Kerri Miller to talk about the origins of popular phrases and why some words and are more likely to catch fire than others.

Use the audio player above to hear the full segment.

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