Oxford Languages has declared VAX the word of the year 2021.
Announcing the release of its latest voice report, titled VAX, a report on the language of vaccines, Oxford Languages said that “the word Vax will inject itself into the bloodstream of the English language more than any other in 2021.”
“A relatively rare word in our corpus up to this year, up to September it was over 72 times more common than at the same time last year,” said the organization.
“It has spawned numerous derivatives that we are now seeing in a variety of informal contexts, from Vax sites and Vax cards to Vaxing and complete confusion. No word captures the atmosphere of the past year better than VAX. “
It comes after last year’s report was expanded to reflect the “unprecedented” character of 2020, with vacation, Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter being among the terms on the list.
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According to the 2021 report, the word vaccine was first mentioned in 1799, with its derivatives vaccinating and vaccinating for the first time a year later.
The vaccine is believed to be derived from the Latin word “vacca”, which means cow. The report says this is related to the pioneering work of the English doctor and scientist Edward Jenner on vaccination against smallpox in the late 1790s and early 1800s.
Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Languages said: “When reviewing language proficiency tests, vax stood out as an obvious choice.
“The dramatic increase in the use of the word caught our attention first. Then we did the analysis and a story emerged that revealed how Vax was at the center of our preoccupation this year.
“The evidence was everywhere, from dating apps (vax 4 vax) and pent-up frustrations (hot vax summer) to academic calendars (vaxx to school) and bureaucratic operations (vax pass).
“By monopolizing our discourse, it is clear that the language of vaccines is changing the way we talk – and think – about public health, the community and ourselves.”
Previous examples of Word of the Year include Vape, Selfie, and Post-Truth, with the “cry with tears” emoji being the 2015 winner.
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