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Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2017

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2017

15 December 2017

Oxford Dictionaries has announced ‘youthquake’ as its Word of the Year 2017.

2017 has been, without doubt, a year of seismic cultural, political, and social shifts played out across the globe. But it was the so-called political awakening of the oft-maligned millennial generation which generated the word of 2017.

Announced as the chosen word in a blog post and video, youthquake saw an almost fivefold (401%) increase  in usage between 2016 and 2017, following the British general election where much debate focused on the mobilization of young voters in supporting opposition parties. However, despite so aptly capturing the mood of 2017, youthquake is not a new word but rather one that is newly prominent this year and being used in different contexts. Based on the formation of the word ‘earthquake’ and originally coined in the 1960s by then-Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, to describe how British youth culture was changing the world’s fashion and music, youthquake was resurrected this year to be used in a new context.

In a dedicated blog post, Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries notes, ‘We chose youthquake based on its evidence and linguistic interest. But most importantly for me, at a time when our language is reflecting our deepening unrest and exhausted nerves, it is a rare political word that sounds a hopeful note. Sometimes you pick a word as the Word of the Year because you recognize that it has arrived, but other times you pick one that is knocking at the door and you want to help usher in. This past year calls for a word we can all rally behind.’

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a word or expression chosen to reflect the passing year in language. Every year, the Oxford Dictionaries team debates over a selection of candidates for Word of the Year, choosing the one that best captures the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year. This year’s Word of the Year, shortlist, and other significant words from 2017 will be discussed in a Channel 4 documentary, airing on UK television at 6pm GMT on Saturday 16 December.

Shortlist for the 2017 Word of Year:

Antifa noun
A political protest movement comprising autonomous groups affiliated by their militant opposition to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology

broflake noun
informal, derogatory
A man who is readily upset or offended by progressive attitudes that conflict with his more conventional or conservative views

gorpcore noun
A style of dress incorporating utilitarian clothing of a type worn for outdoor activities

kompromat noun
Compromising information collected for use in blackmailing, discrediting, or manipulating someone, typically for political purposes

Milkshake Duck noun
A person or thing that initially inspires delight on social media but is soon revealed to have a distasteful or repugnant past

newsjacking noun
The practice of taking advantage of current events or news stories in such a way as to promote or advertise one’s product or brand

unicorn adjective [attributive]
Denoting something, especially an item of food or drink, that is dyed in rainbow colours, decorated with glitter, etc.

white fragility  noun
Discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality and injustice


For more information, visit the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year page.