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The Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year is “toxic”

The Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year is “toxic”
[Photo: Raphael Schaller/Unsplash]

So that’s depressing. But it’s understandable as we seem to be living in toxic times. But just why did the Oxford English Dictionary choose “toxic” as 2018’s word of the year? According to OED’s blog post:

The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.

In 2018, toxic added many strings to its poisoned bow becoming an intoxicating descriptor for the year’s most talked about topics. It is the sheer scope of its application, as found by our research, that made toxic the stand-out choice for the Word of the Year title.

Our data shows that, along with a 45% rise in the number of times it has been looked up on oxforddictionaries.com, over the last year the word toxic has been used in an array of contexts, both in its literal and more metaphorical senses.

But while “toxic” may be a bit of a downer for word of the year, at least the runner-ups didn’t take the crown. Some of those runner-ups included:

  • Gaslighting
  • Incel
  • Techlash
  • Overtourism
  • And something literally called “Big Dick Energy

Maybe we should all just stick to emoji from now on.

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