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‘Vax’ declared Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year

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Words related to vaccines, including double-vaxxed, unvaxxed and anti-vaxxer, spiked in frequency in 2021.
Words related to vaccines, including double-vaxxed, unvaxxed and anti-vaxxer, spiked in frequency in 2021.

UK: The company that creates the Oxford English Dictionary has chosen ‘vax’ as its word of the year.

Oxford Languages said vax had ‘injected itself into the bloodstream of the English language’ during the pandemic.

The word ‘vax’ had also been broadened into a wider range of contexts such as ‘anti-vax’, ‘anti-vaxxers’, ‘fully vaxxed’ and ‘vax cards’, it was reported in the Guardian.

The word of the year is based on usage evidence drawn from Oxford’s continually updated corpus of more than 14.5 billion words, gathered from news sources across the English-speaking world.

Oxford Languages said the trend had been seen in other languages, including ‘vacina’ in Portugal and the French ‘vaccin’.

Casper Grathwohl, the president of Oxford Languages, said: ‘When reviewing the language evidence, vax stood out as an obvious choice.

‘The word’s dramatic spike in usage caught our attention first. ‘Then we ran the analysis and a story started to emerge, revealing how vax sat at the centre of our preoccupations this year.’

The use of the word ‘vaccine’ can be dated back to the end of the eighteenth century when an English physician named Edward Jenner found cowpox could be used as a vaccine against smallpox.

Use of the word pandemic has also increased by more than 57,000% this year.

Oxford Languages and Collins each decide their own word of the year, and in 2020 Collins chose “lockdown”.

But Oxford decided it was an unprecedented year with too many contenders, so expanded its award to encompass a handful of newly key words including lockdown, bushfires and COVID-19, as well as Black Lives Matter, WFH [working from home], keyworkers and furlough. – BBC

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 – 01:00











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