“Youthquake”: Oxford Dictionaries’ 2017 Word of the Year
After 2015’s Tears of joy emoji and 2016’s post-truth, “Youthquake” — defined as “a significant cultural, political or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people” — takes the title this year.
Casper Grathwohl, The President of Oxford Dictionarie explains why he’s particularly happy about this year’s choice in a post:
“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 recognise that it has arrived, but other times you pick one that is knocking at the door and you want to help usher in … I think this past year calls for a word we can all rally behind.”
The word itself is not exactly the latest trend in neologisms; in fact, it is almost 50 years old and it was already listed in Oxford Dictionaries. It was first coined in the 1960s by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland to describe how British youth were changing music and fashion around the world.
Other terms such as Antifa —militant opposition to fascism—, Broflake —a man who is readily upset or offended by progressive attitudes that conflict with his more conventional or conservative views—or Milkshake Duck —a person or thing that initially inspires delight on social media but is soon revealed to have a distasteful or repugnant past— also made it onto Oxfor Dictionarie’s Word of the Year shortlist.
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- Word of the year 2015
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