At its annual meeting, held this year in Austin, the American Dialect Society selected a two-word lexical item as its word of the year for 2016: dumpster fire. And it set a precedent by including an emoji representation of the term in its announcement of the vote.
Yes, that’s a wastebasket, not a dumpster. More about that later.
For a full list of nominees and winners, see the ADS press release.
Why dumpster fire? “As 2016 unfolded, many people latched on to dumpster fire as a colorful, evocative expression to verbalize their feelings that the year was shaping up to be a catastrophic one,” Ben Zimmer, chairman of the society's new words committee, said in the press release. “In pessimistic times, dumpster fire served as a darkly humorous summation of how many viewed the year’s events.”