#EngKnowledge: Word of the Year

Hi, fellas, did you know that Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year 2019 is ‘climate emergency?’

We face more and more weather and climate-related crisis every year, so it is natural that people all around the world are getting more curious about the term ‘climate emergency’ and decided to look it up on the dictionaries.

As defined by Oxford Dictionaries, climate emergency is “a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.”

But what is ‘Word of the Year’ and how did this tradition start?

words text scrabble blocks
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Word(s) of the Year refers to any of various assessments as to the most important word(s) or expression(s) during a specific year.

The first known version of this tradition is the German one, Wort des Jahres, which was started in 1971. The American Dialect Society is the oldest English version, started in 1991. By early 2000s, a lot of organisations began to announce their versions of Word(s) of the Year for various purposes and with various criteria for the assessment.

Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year for the last five years are:

2015: Face with tears of joy emoji or laughing-crying emoji, the first emoji to have ever been selected.
2016: Post-truth.
2017: Youthquake.
2018: Toxic.
2019: Climate emergency.

The American Dialect Society also chose the Word of the Decade, which is ‘web’ for 1990s, ‘to google’ for 2000s, and singular ‘they’ for 2010s. According to the Society, the Word of the 20th century is jazz and the Word of the Past Millennium is ‘she.’

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, 20 February 2020.


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