“Vax” named word of the year by the Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has revealed its word of the year for 2021: vax, with usage 72 times higher than last year.

The dictionary noted a significant increase in the number of vaccine-related words and phrases over the past 12 months, including: “double vaxxed”, “unvaxxed” and “anti-vaxxer”.

Another related term that has gained popularity is ‘vaxxia’, which refers to a photo of yourself taken while receiving a vaccine, but more specifically against Covid-19.

OED editor-in-chief Fiona McPherson said “vax” was a clear choice as the word of the year for 2021 because it had “the most striking impact.”

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

“When you add to that his versatility in forming other words – vaxxia, vax-a-thon, vaxinista – it became clear that vax was the flagship of the crowd.”

Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Languages, added: “When reviewing the linguistic evidence, ‘vax’ emerged as an obvious choice. The dramatic spike in the use of the word caught our attention first.

“Then we did the analysis and a story started to emerge revealing how the vax was at the center of our minds this year. “

Talk to The GuardianGrathwohl noted that the use of the word is also increasing in unexpected places, like on dating apps.

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

“By monopolizing our talk, it is clear that the language of vaccines is changing the way we talk – and think – about public health, the community and ourselves. “

The word “vax” was first recorded in English in 1799; its vaccine and vaccination derivatives both appeared for the first time in 1800.

OED’s Word of the Year is a word or phrase that the dictionary has found has garnered a lot of interest over the past 12 months.

“Each year, we debate the nominees for the word of the year and choose a winner who is judged to reflect that particular year’s ethics, mood or concerns and have lasting potential as a word of importance. cultural “, he says on his website.

In 2020, OED made the unusual choice of choosing a selection of words as its word of the year, explaining that it was impossible to name a single word to sum up those 12 months.

Among the words chosen were leave, bushfires, WFH, lockdown and moonshot.

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