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What’s Your Word of the Year?

Categories: Vocabulary Building Words, Vocabulary Research, Vocabulary Resources |

Rembrandt did it almost 40 times in the 17th century. Van Gogh did it almost 40 times in the 19th century. And pretty much anyone in the 21st century who has a camera on their phone does it almost 40 times every year. Well, that last statistic is hard to pin down, but there’s no doubt that creating a self-portrait has become the universal artform of our time, which explains why selfie is the Oxford Dictionaries 2013 Word of the Year.

Abbreviations and acronyms are just one of many ways that the English language grows. As we’ve discussed in other posts, technology has been quickly adding new terms to English as well. When you combine the two, even more words are possible. We create and use language to describe what we’re doing and how we live, so when new ways of doing and living come about, we need new vocabulary to match. Sometimes we come up with entirely new words, and sometimes old words get recycled with new forms and new meanings.

Some of the other words that were being considered by the editors at Oxford Dictionaries include showrooming (window shopping in the real world to compare products and prices, before making the actual purchase on line) and binge-watching (viewing all episodes of a television series in order, one after the other without stopping). Given its recent increase in value, the bitcoin might end up as the word of the year in 2014 – unless the value falls again, of course. And there will always be new movies that bring us words like sharknado, though we hope that there’s never any real-life reason to use that one!

To find out more about the 2013 Word of the Year, check out this infographic (and there’s another 21st century word for you) on the Oxford Dictionaries blog.