Was word of the year wasted?

Collins Dictionary has just announced their word of the year: single-use.

In a year of activism and politics, how can just one word be picked to represent 2018?

Also making the shortlist for word of the year were terms such as ‘#MeToo,’ ‘gammon,’ ‘VAR,’ and ‘floss.’ An argument could be made for each of these as to why they should be word of the year.

#MeToo sparked a powerful movement that is still making waves today and holding abusers accountable. Collins notes that the phrase has moved past just a hashtag and evolved to be part of our language like “the MeToo era” and “a MeToo moment.”

‘Gammon’ has risen more in use as a phrase to combat the term ‘snowflake’ and to describe a typically white, middle-aged man who’s pro-Brexit.

And following this year’s World Cup, it’s not a surprise ‘VAR’ would be a contender. An acronym for Video Assistant Referee, VAR played a big part in an important goal for France in the World Cup final against Croatia.

‘Floss,’ while more lighthearted than the other words, was also just as influential. The popular dance has been an internet sensation across the world.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oIzOOIwG9w]


So why did ‘single-use’ win out over these other words? In a press release sent to Voice of London, Collins Dictionary rationalises their choice by noting that use of the word has increased fourfold since 2013. There have also been large movements to ban single-use plastics this year which have raised the popularity of the term.

Not everyone is happy with the choice though. Some Twitter users are upset about single-use technically being two words while others are upset about the inclusion of ‘gammon’ in the shortlist.



But for those unhappy about the choice, there may be hope yet. Kate Shepherd of Oxford English Dictionary told Voice of London that their shortlist of words will be released this coming Thursday.


Don’t agree with Collins Dictionary’s choice? Tweet us at @VoiceofLondonUK with your choice for word of the year with #VoLWordoftheYear.


Featured Image: Pisit Heng via Unsplash

Words: Elise Fritts | Subbing: Taylor Paatalo

Accessibility | Cookies | Terms of use and privacy