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2015: A year in language

"It's on the left," he says. "No, it's southeast of here," she says.

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As the curtain closes on 2015, Take Two has been looking back at the people and events that have defined our year.

It's difficult to discuss a year, however, without taking a moment to examine how we spoke during said year.

Over the past 12 months, a number of words and phrases have woven their way into our vernacular. Some of the top terms have been comical; some rose to popularity after tragedies. Regardless of where a word finds its genesis, each just might provide future generations with valuable insight into the way we understand the world around us.

Lauren Collister is a sociolinguist with the University of Pittsburgh. She explained some 2015 gems to Alex Cohen.

the word of the year

Collister says the suffix “-ism” might arguably be one of the most important terms of 2015.

On Fleek

Synonymous with “on point," the origins of the phrase can be traced to a viral vine video.

Collister says it’s often more difficult to determine where popular phrases first get their start.

Mastermind or ringleader?

The terms “mastermind” and “ringleader” are words redefined after a resurgence of  devastating terror attacks. Collister says these particular words reveal a lot about the concerns of people living through this time, and our desire to find the people behind a violent act. 

Words of the future

Looking ahead, Collister predicts the 2016 presidential election will introduce a series of new words to our national vocabulary.

Press the blue play button above to hear more words from 2015