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article imageWord of the year for 2018 is ‘toxic’

By Tim Sandle     Dec 2, 2018 in Odd News
Oxford - There are ‘somethings of the year’ for almost everything – movies, books, the person who adorns the cover of Time magazine. How about a word? The Oxford English Dictionary has selected a word for 2018 and it is “toxic”.
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) selects a ‘word of the year’ each year, and the selection is invariably significant given the status of the dictionary among lexicographers and librarians. The word selected need not have been coined within the past twelve months; however, it does need to have become prominent or notable during that time.
For 2018 the selected word is “toxic”, according to The New York Times. The word was picked by editorial staff, a team comprising of lexicographers and consultants to the dictionary team, together with editorial, marketing, and publicity staff.
According to the OED: “Every year, we debate several 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.”
In terms of how the dictionary defines “toxic”: “The adjective toxic is defined as ‘poisonous’ and first appeared in English in the mid-seventeenth century from the medieval Latin toxicus, meaning ‘poisoned’ or ‘imbued with poison’.” To support this the OED adds additional information about the historic origins of the word.
The reason for selecting the word “toxic” to signify 2018, the OED says that data indicates that the general use of the word has risen by 45 percent in terms of how often the word has been looked up on the dictionary website. Furthermore, the use of the word has expanded in terms of context, both in its literal and more metaphorical senses. Perhaps the most commonly cited example is “Toxic Brexit”, a reference to the U.K.’s tumultuous exit process from the European Union.
The OED’s words of the year for the previous five years were:
2017 youthquake
2016 post-truth
2015 😂 (Face With Tears of Joy, Unicode: U+1F602, part of emoji)
2014 vape
2013 selfie
With the 2018 selection, other words or phrases were in contention. These included: Big Dick Energy (BDE), meaning “low-key, self-assured poise”; Cakeism (as in taking advantage of both of two desirable but mutually exclusive alternatives at once); Gammon (referring to a flushed face due to anger); Gaslighting (meaning to manipulate someone by psychological means); Incel (an abbreviation of involuntarily celibate); Orbiting (withdrawing from direct communication with someone but still monitoring their conversations, as might be practiced on social media); Overtourism; and Techlash (for a negative reaction to a technology company).
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