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Brexit, Trump, the Obama administration… has revealed that events surrounding these topics lead to a significant increase in searches for the word Xenophobia.

The word, defined by the site as “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures or strangers,” did not enter the English language until the late 1800’s according to Jane Solomon, one of the website’s lexicographers.

Solomon said that the interest was perpetuated by police violence against people of colour, the refugee crisis and the US presidential campaign but the most spikes occurred immediately before and after the Brexit decision.

"xenophobia" searches spiking in June (

“xenophobia” searches spiking in June (

During the Brexit vote, searches for Xenophobia increased by 938 per cent from June 22-24 as shown in the graph above.

A further increase in searches was prompted by President Obama’s speech on June 29 where he labelled Trump’s campaign a measure of “nativism, or xenophobia, or worse.”

Whilst the significant spikes were shown after these events, the word still remained a regularly searched term throughout the year, according to Solomon.

“It has been significant throughout the year… But after the EU referendum, hundreds and hundreds of users were looking up the term every hour.”

What do you think of this year’s word of the year?

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