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Hi Americans, we Googled 'Brexit' for you

LONDON — Woke up on Thursday wondering what a "Brexit" is and why everyone is talking about it?

Don't worry, we've got you covered, Americans. The folks at Google kindly sent us over the top 10 questions Americans have been searching for, and we thought we'd save you the trouble of searching for each one.

It's the word "Britain" and "exit" mashed together, and it refers to the vote on Britain's continued membership in the European Union. It's the same way that a potential Greek exit from the EU was dubbed a "Grexit" during all those bailout talks.

The question that British voters need to answer is: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"

It's today! (Thursday, June 23.) Polls close at 10 p.m. BST, and the votes will be counted overnight. The results will be announced in the early hours of Friday.

Good question. We don't know. The polls show that Leave and Remain are neck-and-neck, and both sides have slightly edged ahead at different times during the campaign. 

There is no precedent for a country like the UK leaving the EU, so no one really knows what will happen. And if there's one thing that financial markets don't like, it's uncertainty. The value of sterling will probably fall.

The UK would have at least two years to negotiate its exit from the EU and uncertainty will likely be the name of the game during this time.

Well, again, we don't know. But Bloomberg's Brexit tracker puts the likelihood at 25%, and bookies Betfair say the probability of remaining is around 75% if that's any help. 

Those who want Britain to leave the EU say it imposes too many rules on Britain. They also want to limit immigration — one of the principles of the EU is freedom of movement, so EU citizens don't need a visa to live in each other's countries.

It's a group of 28 countries in an economic and political union. Its beginnings were after World War II. Economically, the countries act as a single market and politically there is a parliament that sets rules. 

Nineteen of those countries share a common currency, the euro, but the UK uses the pound sterling. Twenty-two EU countries and four non-EU countries in Europe are also part of the Schengen area, which means people can travel between the countries without passport checks. The UK is not part of that area. 

Brexit being "good" depends on your point of view, of course. The UK Independence Party (UKIP), led by Nigel Farage, has been campaigning for Britain to leave the EU. The U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump supports Brexit.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who is Conservative, supports remain, as does opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The Conservative Party is divided on the issue, while Labour supports remain.

As you might have realised by now, Brexit isn't a person, but this question still commonly pops up on Google. That said, we don't expect to see the word in the "most popular baby name" list any time soon — most British people are fed up with the months of campaigning, and want to see the referendum done with so they can get back to other things, like complaining about the weather.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has warned that a Brexit would have "consequences on the U.S. economy." It wouldn't send the U.S. economy into recession, but there's that uncertainty again — investors could pile on "safer" currencies like the dollar and push its value up. 

President Barack Obama travelled to the UK in April and said it could take up to 10 years to renegotiate a trade deal with the U.S. if Britain leaves the EU. 

Although if you're planning a holiday to the UK this summer, if Brexit happens the pound could lose value — meaning your dollars go further. So short-term advantages for some!

Want to know more? Check out some of Mashable's Brexit coverage.

67 ways life may change if the UK 'Brexits'

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