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Words of the Year around the world for 2018

Nov 09, 2018

Image of: 2018 written over aerial shot of ocean

Every year at Macquarie Dictionary HQ, we gather a few key people together to review all the new words from the previous 12 months, longlist them, narrow them down even further and decide on a single word that represents the year gone by, also known as our Word of the Year. For 2017, that word was milkshake duck. In 2016, the ubiquitous and politically-charged, fake news took the honour.

We draw these words from a pool that has been selected, researched and added to the Macquarie Dictionary during the year. This means all our candidates are bona fide new words. Unlike other dictionaries, we don't look at words that may have re-entered common usage, but only select from new words and definitions that have been coined throughout the year gone by.

We will be announcing our Word of the Year in January 2019, but other dictionaries have already starting naming their words that define 2018.

[Single-use] has seen a four-fold increase since 2013, with news stories and images such as those seen in the BBC’s Blue Planet II steeply raising public awareness of the issue.

While the word misinformation has been around since the late 1500s, the nature of how information spreads has gone through drastic transformations over the last decade with the rise of social media. For most individuals on social media, fact-checking is an afterthought, if it is a thought at all, and misinformation thrives.

In 2018, toxic added many strings to its poisoned bow becoming an intoxicating descriptor for the year’s most talked about topics. It is the sheer scope of its application, as found by our research, that made toxic the stand-out choice for the Word of the Year title.

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year will be announced in mid-January. Keep on top of all our announcements in our newsletter, and find more at our Word of the Year page.


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