Word of the year: 'youthquake'

Word of the year: 'youthquake'

LONDON: Oxford Dictionaries recognised the power of the millennial generation on Friday with its 2017 word of the year: youthquake.

Oxford lexicographers say there was a fivefold increase in use of the term between 2016 and 2017. It is defined as "a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people".

The word, coined almost 50 years ago by Diana Vreeland, then the editor of Vogue magazine, has been used to describe phenomena including surging youth support for Britain's Labour Party and the election of 30-something leaders in France and New Zealand.

Each year, Oxford University Press tracks how the English language is changing and chooses a word that reflects the annual mood. Oxford Dictionaries president Casper Grathwohl said youthquake has "yet to land firmly on American soil, but strong evidence in the UK calls it out as a word on the move".

The US-based dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster last week declared "feminism", a word first coined in 1841, its word of the year. Its choice reflected the rapid rise in the number of women speaking out about sexual harassment and abuse, most notably in the United States.

Runners-up at Oxford included "broflake" -- a man who is readily upset or offended by progressive attitudes that conflict with his views -- and "kompromat", a Russian term for compromising information collected for political leverage.

Oxford Dictionaries consultant Susie Dent said many of the year's standout words "speak to fractured times of mistrust and frustration".

"In 'youthquake' we find some hope in the power to change things, and had a little bit of linguistic fun along the way," she said. "It feels like the right note on which to end a difficult and divisive year."

Last year's word of the year was "post-truth".


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