Macquarie Dictionary


Word of the Year 2021 around the world

The official Word of the Year 2021 for Macquarie Dictionary is strollout. 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.

Merriam-Webster selected vaccine as their Word of the Year.

Interest in the definition of this word was intense in the past year: lookups for vaccine increased 601% year-over-year from 2020. But interest in the word has been high since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with much discussion of the funding, development, testing, and ultimate distribution of the vaccines occurring in 2020. The prominence of the word vaccine in our lives in this era becomes even more starkly clear when we compare 2021 to 2019, a period in which lookups for the word increased 1048%.

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