Pragmatic video: A history of Merriam-Webster's most-\ looked-up word.

The Fascinating History of Merriam-Webster’s Most Looked-Up Word

The Fascinating History of Merriam-Webster’s Most Looked-Up Word

Slate in motion.
Jan. 15 2015 1:33 PM

Practical? Or Meddling, Very Busy, and Impertinent?

The evolution of Merriam-Webster's most looked-up word, pragmatic(al).

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Earlier this week, with his deep dive into Merriam-Webster, Stefan Fatsis went to great lengths to explore the future of words. Or, more accurately, the future of defining words. In the video above, we consider the past and present of one word in particular—Merriam-Webster’s most looked-up modern definition, pragmatic (formerly pragmatical). In many ways, its history embodies the evolution of the dictionary.