Word of the Year 2021 around the world

Nov 01, 2021
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Preparations are underway at the Macquarie Dictionary for the official Word of the Year 2021. Last year, we had two winners to allow for the overwhelming presence of COVID-19 in our lives. These words were doomscrolling and rona.

While Macquarie Dictionary takes into consideration only the words that were introduced to the dictionary in the year in question, other dictionaries and word associations use different criteria to make their decisions. Some are based on relevancy, some take into account all words and others limit it in a similar way to the Macquarie Dictionary.

These words have begun to trickle out from across the globe and we are here with a rundown on what has been decided.

The Oxford Dictionary, under the umbrella of Oxford Languages, have announced their Word of the Year 2021 as vax. They have developed a report on vaccine language and had this to say about their decision:

A relatively rare word in our corpus until this year, by September [vax] was over 72 times more frequent than at the same time last year. It has generated numerous derivatives that we are now seeing in a wide range of informal contexts, from vax sites and vax cards to getting vaxxed and being fully vaxxed, no word better captures the atmosphere of the past year than vax.

The Australian National Dictionary have announced their Word of the Year as strollout. Meaning "the slow implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Australia."

“It’s yet another example of how a truly Australian expression can make waves globally,” Dr Laugesen said.

“It’s also captured a very particular moment in our nation’s history. The pandemic has had a profound impact on our society and lives.”

The Cambridge Dictionay has announced its Word of the Year as perseverance.

In 2021, people all over the world have had to show perseverance in the face of challenges and disruption to our lives from COVID-19 and other problems.

Collins Dictionary has announced their Word of the Year as NFT, which is also on our shortlist.

We will keep this blog updated as announcements roll in from other dictionaries, including the, Merriam-Webster, the American Dialect Society and more. 


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