December 11, 2015 / 12:41 PM / 3 years ago

'Refugees' chosen as Word of the Year 2015 in Germany

Migrant children from Syria pose in front of a Protestant church in Oberhausen, Germany, November 19, 2015. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

BERLIN (Reuters) - With roughly one million migrants arriving in Germany this year, the Society for the German language on Friday chose “Fluechtlinge” — refugees — as Word of the Year 2015.

In second place was “Je suis Charlie”, a phrase that became a widespread slogan after January’s attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Then followed “Grexit”, the term coined to describe the risk of Greece tumbling out of the euro.

But “Fluechtlinge”, which comes from the verb “fluechten” — to flee — and the derivative “ling”, a person who is characterized by a particular trait or feature, took the top honor because is stood for the “dominant theme of the year”, the jury said.

Germany is expected to receive more refugees than any other European country this year and the influx has hit support for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrats (CDU).

Despite being named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for her leadership in the refugee crisis, a poll for broadcaster ZDF on Friday showed 49 percent of those surveyed rated her handling of the influx as rather poor.

In a sign of how greatly the influx has preoccupied politicians and German society this year, two other words pertaining to the refugee crisis were included in the top 10.

“Durchwinken”, referring to the practice of other European countries “waving through” migrants as they traveled on to Germany, was placed sixth, while Merkel’s mantra “Wir schaffen das!” which translates as “We can do this” came tenth.

Other words making the top 10 list were “Mogel-Motor” — cheat engine — in reference to the Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) emissions scandal and “Selfie-Stab” (selfie stick).

Reporting by Caroline Copley; editing by Ralph Boulton

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