Dec 6, 2017

Geoff Nunberg’s Word of the Year: “Tribalism”

From Fresh Air, on National Public Radio

As Fissures Between Political Camps Grow, 'Tribalism' Emerges As The Word Of 2017

By Geoff Nunberg

It's word-of-the-year time again. Collins Dictionary chose "Fake news" and Dictionary.com went with "complicit." Others have proposed #metoo, "alternative facts," "take a knee," "resistance" and "snowflake."...

Wonkish terms like "hyper-polarization" don't begin to convey that sense of unrelenting rancor. Instead, the meme of the moment is to say that American politics has become "tribal," which I'll make my word of the year.

It's not a new word even in that meaning, but in one form or another, it has become the ubiquitous diagnosis for most of our political ills....

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Geoff Nunberg is an adjunct professor at the Berkeley School of Information.

Last updated:

December 6, 2017