‘Vax’ named Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year

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The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has revealed its word of the year for 2021: vax, with utilization up by 72 occasions in comparison with final year.

The dictionary famous a serious surge in phrases and phrases associated to vaccines over the previous 12 months, together with: “double-vaxxed”, “unvaxxed” and “anti-vaxxer”.

Another associated time period that has elevated in reputation is “vaxxie”, which refers to {a photograph} of oneself taken at the time of receiving a vaccine, however particularly one in opposition to Covid-19.

Fiona McPherson, senior editor at OED, stated that “vax” was a transparent selection as word of the year for 2021 as a result of it has made “the most striking impact”.

“It goes back at least to the 1980s, but according to our corpus it was rarely used until this year,” she added.

“When you add to that its versatility in forming other words – vaxxie, vax-a-thon, vaxinista – it became clear that vax was the standout in the crowd.”

Casper Grathwohl, the president of Oxford Languages, added: “When reviewing the language evidence, ‘vax’ stood out as an obvious choice. The word’s dramatic spike in usage caught our attention first.

“Then we ran the analysis and a story started to emerge, revealing how vax sat at the centre of our preoccupations this year.”

Speaking to The Guardian, Grathwohl famous how use of the word was rising in unexpectated locations too, reminiscent of on courting apps.

“The evidence was everywhere, from dating apps (vax 4 vax) and pent-up frustrations (hot vax summer) to academic calendars (vaxx to school) and bureaucratic operations (vax pass),” he stated.

“In monopolising our discourse, it’s clear the language of vaccines is changing how we talk – and think – about public health, community and ourselves.”

The word “vax” was first recorded in English in 1799; its derivatives vaccinate and vaccination each first seem in 1800.

The OED’s word of the year is a word or expression that the dictionary deems has attracted an important deal of curiosity over the final 12 months.

“Every year, we debate candidates for word of the year and choose a winner that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance,” it states on its web site.

In 2020, the OED made the uncommon selection of selecting a range of phrases as its word of the year, explaining that it has been unimaginable to call a single word to sum up these 12 months.

Among the phrases chosen have been furlough, bushfires, WFH, lockdown, and moonshot.

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