Years ago, the word “hashtag” wasn’t used in anyone’s vocab. Your mom probably still thinks it’s weird you’re putting a number symbol before words.
Today, new phrases come up almost every other month and eventually become part of our vocab. Linguists and experts gather annually and vote for what they believe should be the word of the year. Let’s review some of them!
Though “vape” was widely considered as word of the year in 2014, #BlackLivesMatter addresses a more important issue in the U.S. Linguists recognized the power of a hashtag on Twitter to send a message for social change much like the recent #MeToo movement, which unified women all over the world to speak out against sexual harassment.
Believe it or not, Oxford named the tears of joy emoji as word of the year. Though some were not happy, we have to admit that we live in a time where emojis have become a part of how we communicate. Other institutions chose the word “they”. “They” is just a regular pronoun but it surged in popularity as a singular gender-neutral pronoun for those whose gender is non-binary.
2016: “Brexit” or “Post-truth”
Remember that time when Twitter imploded as #Brexit happened and it trended worldwide for days? When the U.K. peaced out and said bye bye to the EU, the word “post-truth” went mainstream. The term was mostly used by news sites and keyboard warriors during circumstances when actual facts have lesser impact on a nation than appeals to emotion.
2017: “Fake news”
Anyone who has internet access have seen the words “fake news” being thrown around especially in Facebook comment sections or Twitter arguments by online trolls, hardcore political fanatics and regular netizens. “Fake news” has also become a catchphrase used humorously among friends to say that something isn’t real.
We are still in the second quarter of 2018 but so far the biggest issue everyone’s talking about IRL and online is Facebook’s data hijacking scandal. Maybe “data” could be a strong contender for 2018’s word of the year. But who knows? There could be bigger events to come. We have 8 months left.
Featured photo from @OxfordWords