Saturday, December 4, 2021

Merriam-Webster Announces Word Of The Year


Much as I have—on this very site-- announced a “Hoax of the Year” the past two years, Merriam-Webster has announced a “Word of the Year.”

What word has the iconic dictionary maker deemed the most important of 2021?

The word is…drumroll please…: “Vaccine.” Imagine that. I may disagree that it was the single most meaningful word in existence this past year, but there is no doubting its relevance. Let’s take a look at Merriam-Webster’s previous selections as WOTY and see if we can spot a pattern or trend, shall we?

In 2020, the august reference book producer pronounced “pandemic” to be the Word of the Year. In 2019, the oldest dictionary publisher in the United States proclaimed “They” to be the most significant word. “They,” as it has historically been used in reference to a group pf people, is as bland, boring, and unsexy a word as can be found. However, Merriam-Webster granted the term Word of the Year status due to its recent use as a preferred pronoun for the non-binary. Referring to a single person. An individual that purports to be both genders, no gender, or all genders at once. How non-traditional, outré, kinky, is that?! Now its selection is understandable!

M-W’s 2018 Word of the Year? “Justice.” Righteous! 2017’s? “Feminism.” Vaccine, pandemic, they, justice, feminism. Indeed, there is a pattern. The staid old language arbiter has, like nearly every other entity, gone woke. (Perhaps “woke” should have been its WOTY.)

If we go all the way back to 2016, which to some young social justice warriors might as well have been in the Pleistocene Epoch, we discover that Merriam-Webster awarded Word of the Year status to “surreal.” Given what’s transpired since, the company may have jumped the gun on that one. “Surreal” would have been a great choice in 2020 or 2021.

“Hoax,” “hypocrisy,” “duped,” “f**ked,” “trapped,” “minions,” “serfs,” and “lackies” would have also been appropriate choices for either of the past two years. Or “Socialism,” “authoritarianism,” “Antifa,” or “BLM.” (Granted, the latter is an acronym that stands for three words, but it is frequently used as if it were a single word.)

 What will be 2022’s Word of the Year? “Anti-Americanism?” “Globalism?” “Marxism?” “Communism?” “Tyranny?” “Bondage?” “Slavery?” “R.I.N.O.?” “Hopelessness?”  “Despair?”

What can we do now to ensure that, instead, 2022 WOTY contenders are those such as “courage,” “independence,” “rebound,” and “freedom?”

And that 2023’s and beyond may be those such as  “grateful,” “thankful,” “reverent,” and “resolute.”  

All I can tell you is that it involves “commitment,” “legacy,” “honesty,” “honor,” “integrity,” “perseverance,” “determination,” “sacrifice,” and “bravery.”



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