Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Words of the Year 2021


Yesterday morning I read an article in the newspaper about Merriam-Webster selecting its Word of the Year for 2021. Not terribly surprisingly it has something to do with Covid-19, it’s “vaccine”. In 2020, their word of the year was “pandemic”. I hope the 2022 word of the year has absolutely nothing to do with the pandemic, but we’ll just have to see.

They choose their word of the year by looking at what words are looked up most on The word must be a “top lookup” in the last 12 months and must show a significant increase in lookups over the previous year. According to the article below, lookups increased 601% from 2021 and 1,048% from 2019!

And, apparently, the dictionary changed its definition of the word slightly. You can read all about it here.

The OED word of the year for 2021 is “vax”. The OED defines it as a colloquialism that means either vaccinate or vaccine. Apparently, its use has been relatively uncommon until this year. 

The American Dialect Society hasn’t yet chosen its word of the year. They’ll be doing that January 6-9, 2022 at their annual meeting. 

The Cambridge Dictionary chose “perseverance” as their word of the year. Their word of the year for 2020 was “quarantine”. Perseverance seems to be a bit more positive, which is nice to see.

The Macquarie dictionary in Australia chose “strollout” as their word of the year. Meaning: “referring to the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination program in Australia, with reference to the perceived lack of speed”

I’m not sure what I would nominate as a word of the year for 2021, but I rather like “perseverance”. What are your suggestions for the 2021 WOTY?


Anna said...

Not a single word but used all too often: "baked into my DNA"

Sybil Johnson said...

I have heard that a fair amount, Anna.

Susan D said...

I suspect the phrase of the year might be "You're muted."

Sybil Johnson said...

That would be a good phrase. I was also thinking about "curated". Everything seems to have been curated in the last year.

Anna said...

I'm advertising my next yard sale as "carefully curated."

Sybil Johnson said...

Love that, Anna.

Rick Blechta said...

I think I've got you beaten, Anna. The other day I ran across this in a print ad: "We offer a selection of exquisitely curated seasonal gifts."

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.