Saturday, May 25, 2024

Jabbing words

Every year, vaunted English language dictionaries choose their word of the year and they tend to sum up the world in just one word (and, occasionally, two).

  • In 2020, Collins English Dictionary chose ‘lockdown’. By contrast, in 2019, it was ‘climate strike’.
  • The Macquarie Dictionary of Australian English chose ‘cancel culture’ in 2019 and ‘doomscrolling’ in 2020.
  • American dictionary Merriam-Webster had ‘they’ as its word of the year in 2019 and ‘pandemic’ in 2020. Its word of the year 2021? ‘Vaccine’.
  • Oxford English Dictionary didn’t choose a word for 2020, but for 2021 it’s ‘vax’.

There’s even a word of the decade, chosen by the American Dialect Society. To give you an idea of this, the 1990s word was ‘web’, the 2000s word was ‘google’, used as a verb, and ‘they’, used as a pronoun for the 2010s.

No prizes for guessing what will end up being the word of the 2020s.

Image courtesy of Library
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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