Glasgow-based Collins Dictionary has chosen their 2018 Word of the Year: single-use. The adjective meaning "made to be used once only" beat out the abbreviation VAR ("video assistant referee"), floss (the dance, not the dental product), gammon (a white, angry male who supports Brexit), and plogging (a Swedish activity that involves jogging and picking up litter).
Selected as the #CollinsWOTY 2018, single-use encompasses a global movement to kick our addiction to disposable products. From plastic bags, bottles and straws to washable nappies, we have become more conscious of how our habits and behaviours can impact the environment...
Our records show a four-fold increase in usage of this word since 2013, with news stories and the likes of the BBC’s Blue Planet II raising public awareness of this environmental issue.
"Single-use" also beat out other words on this year's shortlist: whitewash, vegan, MeToo, and backstop.
image via Collins Dictionary Read the rest
While looking something else up, I came across Merriam-Webster's new online "Time Traveler" feature today. It allows you to browse to see what words were first used in print for a particular year.
"Idiot box" was first used in 1955, "granola" in 1970, and "cyberpunk" in 1983. "Bloodletting" was used before the 12th century and "bootleg" first appeared in 1634.
It's a lot of fun to play with but, according to Merriam-Webster, there are the factors to keep in mind when using it:
Read the rest
The date may not represent the very oldest sense of the word. Many obsolete, archaic, and uncommon senses have been excluded from this dictionary, and such senses have not been taken into consideration in determining the date.
The date most often does not mark the very first time that the word was used in English. Many words were in spoken use for decades or even longer before they passed into the written language. The date is for the earliest written or printed use that the editors have been able to discover.
The date is subject to change. Many of the dates provided will undoubtedly be updated as evidence of still earlier use emerges.
Kory Stamper, author of the new book Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries describes three criteria Merriam-Webster uses for inclusion of words like truther, binge-watch, photobomb and the 1,000 other words that make the cut in a typical year. Read the rest
Also: Photobomb, crowdfund, totes, sext, and nearly 500 more. Read the rest
The rooms are neither as dusty, nor as bald of sound, as one might imagine the cloisters of the Oxford English Dictionary. There are no books piled in the cracked tile hallways, no atmospheric beams of light angling into the tranquil gloom. No old clunking timepiece marks the infinitude of time. Read the rest