Cambridge Dictionary has revealed its word of the year. Ready for it? It’s “Homer,” stemming from frustrations from the widely popular game, Wordle. The company said the word was searched in their dictionary over 75,000 times this year, with more than 65,000 of the searches taking place on May 5, the day it was the answer to that day’s online puzzle.
Those who primarily looked up the word were non-Americans who were frustrated due to their unfamiliarity with the word. Homer—not to be confused with Homer Simpson or Homer from the Iliad—is slang for a home run in baseball which is often referred to as “America’s pastime.”
“Many players outside the US had not heard this word before,” the Cambridge Dictionary said in a news release. “Huge numbers of players expressed their frustration and annoyance on social media, but many also turned to the Cambridge Dictionary to find out more.”
Wordle was created by Josh Wardle in 2018 and provides players with six chances to guess the five-word letter of the day. The game was sold to The New York Times in March for $1 million and said he sold the game to take the pressure off himself from others who posted similar games on app stores.
As the number of Wordle players rose, their intensity and commitment to the game increased, with many voicing their frustrations on social media and searching the definitions in the Cambridge dictionary.
Wendalyn Nichols, Cambridge Dictionary publishing manager, told Sky News, “Wordle’s words, and the public’s reactions to them, illustrate how English speakers continue to be divided over differences between English language varieties, even when they’re playing a globally popular new word game that has brought people together online for friendly competition about language.”
One of those language differences was felt by some players back in February. A common British word, ‘bloke’ caused a noticeable dictionary search increase. For those unfamiliar, we’ll save you from having to search the dictionary: ‘bloke’ means ‘man.’
Cambridge Dictionary also outlined four other Wordle words that caused a search spike on their website. Humor, caulk, tactic, and bayou also had confused Wordle users looking up their definitions this year.