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Words that traipse their way into language

Tailor-making language to fit what’s trending socially and politically.

ET Bureau|
Nov 11, 2019, 08.44 AM IST
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Collins Dictionary has chosen ‘climate strike’ as the ‘Word of the Year’.
Language, as the old saying goes, is the dress of thought. And, like sartorial attire, verbal vestment is subject to the dictates of fashion in political and social parlance.

So, it should come as no surprise that as its ‘Word of the Year’, Collins Dictionary has chosen ‘climate strike’, a term that refers to the teenaged environmental activist Greta Thunberg’s FridaysForFuture movement, which motivated thousands of schoolchildren all over the world to go on strike by skipping classes.

A related trope is ‘Boomer’, connoting an older person who downplays or dismisses the concerns, ecological and other, of the millennial generation, and refers to those born during the ‘baby boom’ following World War 2.

Brexit has also generated a booming ‘Brexicon’ of words relating to the UK’s on-again, off-again divorce with the EU. ‘Milkshake’ gained currency after the drink was thrown at Brexiter Nigel Farage, as an example of how to deal with a public personage with whom one thinks udderwise.

In a case of a ‘backronym’, or backwardly formed acronym, President Donald Trump’s mysterious ‘covfefe’ that appeared in an incomplete tweet has been turned by a political opponent into ‘Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically For Engagement’, the title of a Bill tabled in the US Congress. A worthy example of a mot juste. Or a mot jest.

TL:DR, Bingeable & Other Tech Words That Made Their Debut In The Dictionary

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26 Sep, 2018
Merriam Webster recently introduced over 840 words to the dictionary, including some that were inspired by today’s digital lifestyle. We list some of the favourite tech-inspired words: (Text: Shannon Tellis)

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