SpanishDict's 2018 Words of the Year
As the world's largest Spanish-English reference site, here at SpanishDict we have a unique window onto important events and the words behind them in both the Spanish- and English-speaking worlds.
Our 2018 Words of the Year, which are based on user searches that increased around important world events, highlight the linguistic bridges and barriers between these worlds. Some words, like chambear and viva , are evidence of our users' shared love of music and sports. Others, like vote/vota and wall, are testament to the overarching political climate of 2018. No matter where you find yourself on the linguistic and geographical borders that divided and united us this year, our 2018 Words of the Year are ones for the history books.
This year was a big one for the "beautiful game," which saw La Copa del Mundo (The World Cup) move to Russia for the 21st FIFA World Cup. The Spanish-speaking world boasted an impressive number of qualifying teams, including Spain, Argentina, Peru, and Panama. Cries of ¡Viva! could be heard in the stands, on TV, and online, and our users were searching up a storm. We saw a particularly impressive spike the day Mexico defeated defending champion Germany 1-0, as Mexican fans filled the air with the strains of Cielito lindo and cries of ¡Viva México! (Long live Mexico!).
You can't keep a good reggaetonero (reggaeton star) down, and 2017's "Despacito" seems to have paved the way for songs by reggaetoneros like Bad Bunny, Ozuna, and Nicky Jam to climb the charts. We saw a particular spike in searches for the word chambear and its conjugated forms chambea and chambean after the release of Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin’s version of “I Like It.” Chambear, which means to get to work in Mexico, Central America, and the Andes, has a different meaning for Bad Bunny and his boricua (Puerto Rican) compatriots, who use it to mean to (re)load a gun in "I Like It" and Bad Bunny's 2017 hit "Chambea."
2018 was an important year for elections in both the U.S. and Latin America, where presidential elections were held in Venezuela, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Mexico. We saw notable upticks in searches for both vote and vota around July 1, when a majority of Mexican voters chose Andrés Manuel López Obrador to lead Mexico for the next sexenio (six-year term), and November 6, the date of the U.S. midterm elections.
Finally, there was a lot of talk about and subsequent searches for the wall on the U.S.'s Southern border. We saw a bump in searches for this word after it was mentioned in the State of the Union in the beginning of the year, as well as during the peak of the the family separation crisis in the summer.
And there you have it! From soccer to reggaeton to politics, these were the words that reflected the mood and fixations of 2018.