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It’s not just critics, reporters and bloggers who have been sharing their best-of-the-year lists reviewing 2010. The editors at Merriam-Webster followed suit, announcing the word of the year for 2010: “austerity.”

Defined as “the quality or state of being austere” and “enforced or extreme economy,” austerity was searched for more than 250,000 times on the dictionary’s free online tool, which is attributed to the increased coverage of the debt crisis around the world.

“What we look fo …what are the words that have had spikes that strike us very much as an anomaly for their regular behavior,” said the president and publisher of the dictionary, John Morse. “The word that really qualifies this year for that is `austerity’.”

The beginning of a new year grants each of us the opportunity to take stock of what has been learned, what has been accomplished, and what has yet to be experienced. Each moment from the past year weaves together in an intricate web to define who we are. Merriam-Webster may believe “austerity” best reflects the year 2010, but as individuals, we each have a word or set of words that define the past 365 days.

It could be change. It could be struggle. It could be peace. No matter what your word is for 2010, remember that we now have the opportunity to choose our word for 2011 and follow the appropriate steps to fulfill that mission.

So CatholicMatchers, think of yourself one year from now. What would you like your word to be for 2011?

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