#TheTwentyTens: Oxford’s Word Of The Year Throughout The Decade

Every year, Oxford English Dictionary releases ‘Word of the Year’, a word or expression shown through usage evidence to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.

We’re looking at back at all the words that have made a huge impact on our decade.

1. Year 2019 – Climate Change 

Climate change was chosen as the ‘Word of the Year’ due to the recent public awareness of climate scient and the myriad implications for communities around the world. It generated a huge discussion of what the UN Secretary-General has called ‘the defining issue of our time’.

2. Year 2018 – Toxic 

Toxic was 2018’s ‘Word of the Year’ because of the particular significance as the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter in Britain made headlines around the world. Not only that, toxic substance, toxic gas, and toxic waste had also become the focal point of the year as the US seek to combat the spread of toxic waste in the wake of hurricanes and of the burning of toxic waste done by businesses, notably in India.

3. Year 2017 – Youthquake 

Source: Women In The World

Youthquake became ‘Word of the Year’ because youth made an impact during UK’s general election. Although the youth-appealing Labour Party lost seats in the June election, it had the largest number of young voters in 25 years.

4. Year 2016 – Post Truth 

This is particularly in reference to post-truth politics,  in the context of the Brexit referendum in the UK and the presidential election in the US.

5. Year 2015 – Face With Tears of Joy 😂

For the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a pictograph! Officially called the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji, it was chosen because it best reflected the ethos, mood and preoccupation of 2015. It’s probably also because we used this particular emoji for everything-almost!

6. Year 2014 – Vape 

Vape also refers to e-cigarette which was a big boom in 2014. But Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford’s dictionaries division, told TIME that it was also based on vape health factors.

7. Year 2013 – Selfie

Source: ABC News

According to Oxford research, the use of the word selfie has increased by 17,000% since 2012. Well, since we’ve been taking and uploading tons of selfies to our ‘gram, it’s no surprise that selfie became ‘Word of the Year’.

8. Year 2012 – GIF 

Source: Giphy

9. Year 2011 – Squeezed Middle

Source: Howard McWilliam/The Telegraph

Squeezed middle is British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband‘s term for those seen as bearing the brunt of government tax burdens while having the least with which to relieve it but felt that the word had good resonance in the US too.

10. Year 2010 – Refudiate 

A combination of refute and repudiate, the word refudiate came to known after Sarah Palin sent out this tweet: Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate. Oxford thought it was something different enough that it deserved to be a new word!

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