I just discovered a neat feature at the Merriam-Webster website — Trend Watch.
They apparently keep an eye on words that “spike” — lots of people looking up their meaning at the same time — during the year, and then track down the reason for their popularity.
Here’s the latest one:
They keep them all in one place so, for example, you can see 2013: The Year in Words.
I’m adding this info to The Best “Words Of The Year” Features For 2013.