Vax was chosen as the word of the year by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) lexicographers.
Vaccine-related words have increased in frequency in 2021 due to Covid, with double vaccination, not vaccinated And anti-vaccine everyone sees a surge in usage.
Senior OED Editor Fiona McPherson says vax was an obvious choice as it had “the most surprising impact.”
“It dates back to at least the 1980s, but according to our corpus it was rarely used until this year,” he said.
“When you add to that its versatility in forming other words – vaxxie, vax-a-thon, vaxinist – it became clear that the vax was the highlight in the crowd. “
Vax and vaxx are both accepted spellings, but the form with an x is more common.
Oxford English dictionary definitions for vax:
- vax n. A vaccine or vaccination
- vax v. Treat (someone) with a vaccine to produce immunity against a disease; vaccinate
- vaxy n. A photograph of yourself taken during or immediately before or after a vaccination, particularly that against Covid-19, and typically shared on social media; a vaccination selfie
- antiviral adj. Against vaccination
- antiviral n. A person who opposes vaccination
- doubly vaccinated adj. After receiving two doses of a vaccine
The use of the word pandemic has also increased by more than 57,000% this year.
Oxford Languages and Collins each decide their own word of the year and in 2020 Collins chose “lockdown”.
But Oxford decided it was an unprecedented year with too many contenders, so it expanded its award to include a handful of new keywords including confinement, forest fires And COVID-19, as well as Black lives matter, WFH [working from home], key attendants And license.
This year’s Oxford winning word, vax, was first recorded in English in 1799, while its vaccinated and vaccinated derivatives first appear in the 1800s.
All these words ultimately derive from the Latin word vacca, which means cow. According to the OED, this is due to the pioneering work of the English physician and scientist Edward Jenner on vaccination against smallpox in the late 1790s and early 1800s.
Oxford Languages says its corpus, or linguistic resource, gathers news content that is updated daily and contains over 14.5 billion words for lexicographers to search for and analyze.
- Coronavirus vaccines
Word of the year extended for 2020 “unprecedented”
- November 23, 2020
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