In Depth

Hopepunk to non-binary: the latest additions to the Collins Dictionary

‘Climate strike’ has been chosen as the Word of the Year

“Climate strike” has been chosen as the Collins Dictionary Word of the Year for 2019, amid growing concerns over global warming.

As The Guardian notes, worldwide protests over the climate crisis have been “staged from Afghanistan to Vietnam, Extinction Rebellion demonstrations stopped traffic in major cities, and Greta Thunberg called for young people to skip school to fight political inaction”.

The phrase climate strike was first recorded four years ago when protesting students began ditching classes, according to the BBC, but the movement has ballooned over the past year under the figurehead of 16-year-old Swedish activist Thunberg. That expansion has seen “climate strike” used on average 100 times more this year than in 2018.

The Collins lexicographers create the annual list of new and notable words that reflect cultural changes by monitoring the 9.5 billion-word Collins Corpus – a database of terms taken from sources such as newspapers and social media worldwide.

Here are some of the most prominent words of 2019 and their meanings:

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Climate strike (noun)

The winner of the Word of the Year describes a form of protest in which people refuse to attend their school or workplace in order to join demonstrations demanding action to counter climate change.

BoPo (noun)

Short for “body positivity”, BoPo is a growing movement advocating the view that people “should be proud of the appearance of their bodies, or any aspect of this, especially size”, says Collins.

Cancel (verb)

To publicly cease to acknowledge a person or an organisation, on social media or elsewhere, “in order to express disapproval of their activities or opinions”.

Deepfake (noun)

Collins describes deepfakes as “barely detectable counterfeit videos” created by artificial intelligence that make it “possible to manipulate and seamlessly meld one piece of footage onto another, with the result that public figures and celebrities can be made to say or do pretty much anything”.

Double down (verb)

To double down is to “reinforce one’s commitment to a venture or idea in spite of opposition or risk”.

Entryist (noun/adjective)

A person who “joins an existing political party with the intention of changing its principles and policies”, or when used as an adjective, “relating to the practice of joining an existing political party with the intention of changing its principles and policies”.

Non-binary (adjective)

A gender or sexual identity that does not conform to the binary categories of male or female, heterosexual or homosexual. The Collins team say the new word was added in recognition of the “changes in how people relate to each other and define themselves”.

Hopepunk (noun)

A branch of the steampunk genre of art - such as TV shows and films - which finds its narrative motivation in the idea of optimism “embodied in acts of love, kindness, and respect for one another - as resistance”, Merriam-Webster says.

Rewilding (noun)

The practice of returning areas of land to a wild state, including the reintroduction of animal species that had been wiped out.

Influencer (noun)

People who use social media to promote lifestyle choices or commercial products to their followers.

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