40 of the best sun-bleached and desert-inspired summer nail shades
40 of the best sun-bleached and desert-inspired summer nail shades

Holly O'Neill

10 of Meghan Markle’s all-time best royal looks
10 of Meghan Markle’s all-time best royal looks

Jennifer McShane

Taylor Swift sent the Galway paddleboarders a letter when she heard about their ordeal
Taylor Swift sent the Galway paddleboarders a letter when she heard about their ordeal

Sarah Finnan

Sound the alarm! Lizzo and Chris Evans are flirting online again
Sound the alarm! Lizzo and Chris Evans are flirting online again

Sarah Finnan

Disney’s attack on Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit is incredibly gendered
Disney’s attack on Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit is incredibly gendered

Jennifer McShane

All things seaside, from shells to starfish, are making a splash
All things seaside, from shells to starfish, are making a splash

Holly O'Neill

‘I did it for me’: Simone Biles triumphantly takes Bronze at Tokyo Olympics
‘I did it for me’: Simone Biles triumphantly takes Bronze at Tokyo Olympics

Jennifer McShane

DreamWorks has just hired their first female composer – and she’s Irish
DreamWorks has just hired their first female composer – and she’s Irish

Sarah Finnan

WIN a Fitbit Sense health smartwatch, with tools for stress management
WIN a Fitbit Sense health smartwatch, with tools for stress management

IMAGE

Tom Ford’s new leather scent is as sophisticated as they come
Tom Ford’s new leather scent is as sophisticated as they come

Holly O'Neill

Image / Editorial

The Collins Dictionary Word of the Year has Greta Thunberg written all over it


by Grace McGettigan
08th Nov 2019

word of the year

blank

word of the year

Collins English Dictionary has announced its new Word of the Year. Here we look at the winner, the shortlist, as well as previous winners of the title


Every year, Collins Dictionary announces a new ‘Word of the Year’ – a word that has seen increased usage across the English-speaking world and is reflective of issues in the public sphere.

The dictionary, which dates back to 1824, has revealed that 2019’s Word of the Year is ‘climate strike’.

climate strike noun: a form of protest in which people absent themselves from education or work in order to join demonstrations demanding action to counter climate change.

Collins said the term took off just over a year ago with the actions of Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, adding that it has grown to become a “worldwide movement”.

Climate Strike vs the runners-up

According to Collins’ lexicographers, the term ‘Climate strike’ was first registered in November 2015, when the first event to be so named coincided with the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

“However, it is only in the last year that ‘climate strikes’ have spread and become a frequent reality in many of the world’s largest cities. [We] observed a one-hundred-fold increase in its usage in 2019,” they said.

Other shortlisted words include ‘influencer’ (noun: a person who promotes lifestyle choices to their followers on social media), ‘deepfake’ (verb: to superimpose one digital image onto another, which maintains an unedited appearance), and ‘rewilding’ (noun: the practice of returning areas of land to a wild state, including the reintroduction of animal species that are no longer naturally found there).

Other shortlisted words include ‘cancel’ (verb: to publicly cease to acknowledge a person, organisation, etc. on social media, in order to express disapproval of their activities or opinions), ‘BoPo’ (noun: a movement advocating the view that people should be proud of the appearance of their bodies, or any aspect of this, especially size), and ‘nonbinary’ (adjective: relating to a gender or sexual identity that does not conform to the binary categories of male or female, heterosexual or homosexual).

Previous Words of the Year

The Collins English Dictionary has announced a Word of the Year every year since 2013. A quick look through the winners (as well as the runners-up) gives a snapshot into society at that time.

In 2013, words such as ‘Bitcoin’ and ‘twerking’ were very much in use. By 2015, we started using words such as ‘ghosting’ and ‘manspreading’. And in 2018, we spoke a lot about ‘MeToo’ and ‘Plogging’.

See the full list of previous winners (and shortlisted words of the year) below:

2018: Single-use

Shortlisted: Backstop, Floss, Gaslight, MeToo, Plogging, Vegan, Whitewash.

2017: Fake news

Shortlisted: Cuffing season, Echo chamber, Fidget spinner, Gender-fluid, Gig economy, Insta, Unicorn.

2016: Brexit

Shortlisted: Hygge, Mic drop, Trumpism, Throw shade, Sharenting, Snowflake generation, Uberization, JOMO.

2015: Binge-watch

Shortlisted: Dadbod, Shaming, Clean eating, Ghosting, Swipe, Contactless, Manspreading, Transgender.

2014: Photobomb

Shortlisted: Tinder, Bakeoff, Normcore, Devo Max.

2013: Geek

Shortlisted: Twerking, Bitcoin, Plebgate, Thigh gap, Black Friday, Payday lending, Harlem Shake.

We wonder which words 2020 will have in store.

Photo: Unsplash


Read more: Stop sabotaging your career with ‘Sorry’, ‘Can I just’ and ‘I’m not sure but’

Read more: Does it really matter that we call groups of people ‘guys’ and ‘lads’, but not ‘girls’ or ‘gals’?

Read more: Are women and men spoken to differently at work? Slack will soon be able to tell

Also Read

toxic
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

blank
EDITORIAL
“A slap in the face for all the victims”: Outcry over Bill Cosby’s release from prison

This is why rape victims think twice before coming forward, writes Amanda Cassidy He was once known as “America’s Dad”...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
The life-changing act of binning all your terrible underwear

A life of wearing the wrong underwear had Sophie White’s knickers in a twist. She reports on the unexpected satisfaction...

By Sophie White

BRITs
EDITORIAL
Best BRITs – The standout moments everyone is talking about from last night’s BRIT Awards

The BRIT Awards took place over in London last night, welcoming the who’s who of the music world inside the...

By Sarah Finnan

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Why do we keep snatching normality away from our children?’

This summer the government will allow my children into a bar, but not to their gymnastics camp. Amanda Cassidy on...

By Amanda Cassidy

Full House, onscreen father Danny Tanner
EDITORIAL
We’re remembering our favourite onscreen dads for Father’s Day

With Father’s Day just around the corner (this Sunday 20h June, so yes, you do have time to buy yours...

By Grace McGettigan

Keith-_-Tara_130_Web Shantanu Starick painting kitchen cabinets
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh