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(NEWSER) – A nation, a workplace, an ethnicity, a passion, an outsized personality. The people who comprise these things, who fawn or rail against them, are behind Merriam-Webster's 2014 word of the year: culture. The word joins Oxford Dictionaries' "vape," a darling of the e-cigarette movement, and "exposure," declared the year's winner at during a time of tragedy and fear due to Ebola.

Merriam-Webster based its pick and nine runners-up on significant increases in lookups this year over last on, along with notable, often culture-driven—if you will—spikes of concentrated interest. "We're simply using the word culture more frequently," says Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster. "It may be a fad. It may not. It may simply be evolution."

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