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Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2021 is three letters long and rhymes with “snacks”

“Vax” has been named Word of the Year 2021, according to Oxford Languages, the world-famous language database that produces the Oxford English Dictionary.

Having caused quite a stir, quite literally, the post-pandemic world seems to have used the word “vax” 72 times more frequently in September 2021 than the previous year, according to Oxford Languages. 

Vax — Oxford English Dictionary’s 2021 Word of the Year

oxford english dictionary vax
(Image credit: Belinda Fewings/Unsplash)

According to Oxford’s data analysis, “vax” was most commonly and frequently used in Australia, North America and South-East Asia, but it also observed that Britain and other English-speaking nations were also picking up the word.

“When reviewing the language evidence, vax stood out as an obvious choice. The word’s dramatic spike in usage caught our attention first. Then we ran the analysis and a story started to emerge, revealing how vax sat at the centre of our preoccupations this year”, said Casper Grathwohl, the President of Oxford Languages.

Vax is derived from the word ‘vaccine’, having been used for the first time in the eighties. It has seen a steep surge in usage this year, now that the entire world is on a vaccination drive. What’s interesting is that the word “vax” also came up several times for those against vaccination, commonly known as anti-vaxxers. 

oxford english dictionary vax
(Image credit: Mufid Majnun/unsplash)

In 2020, Oxford Languages did not announce a Word of the Year — for the first time ever. While it did have several contenders, from “coronavirus” to “lockdown”, among others, Oxford declared that it was impossible to choose one since there were too many words that could sum up the year. 

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