Oxford Word Of The Year Has 3 Contenders: Here’s What They Are And Mean

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For the first time, the Oxford English Dictionary is giving a chance to the people to vote for the word of the year. According to a BBC report, a team of lexicographers from Oxford University Press has narrowed down the list to just three words – metaverse, #IStandWith and the phrase goblin mode. The Oxford staff believe that all the three options are “each relevant to the year in a different way”. The language lovers have December 2 to decide.

Oxford’s rival Collins has already announced ‘permacrisis’ – “an extended period of instability and insecurity” – as its word of the year, and Cambridge Dictionary has chosen ‘homer’. In 2021, Oxford had chosen ‘vax’ – “vaccine” or “vaccination” – as its word of the year.

Here are the meaning of the three options available to public for voting:

  • Metaverse: It is a conceptual virtual world where people can live, eat, work and make friends through their avatars. Facebook is among the platforms that are investing billions to give a big push to metaverse. Oxford said that usage of this word quadrupled in October 2022 due to work from home culture and virtual reality, compared to the same month last year.
  • #IStandWith: The hashtag “recognises the activism and division that has characterised this year”, said the Oxford team. People across the world have used it to express solidarity with a cause or movement, adding that on TikTok, the hashtag has 2.8 million views.
  • Goblin mode: This is a slang phrase that dates back to 2009-10, said the Oxford University Press. It saw a rise in interest when actor and model Julia Fox was linked to a fake headline with the phrase about her break-up with rapper Kanye West.

“Over the past year the world reopened, and it is in that spirit we’re opening up the selection process for the Word of the Year to language lovers everywhere,” Oxford Languages President Casper Grathwohl told the BBC when asked why the dictionary chose to open the vote to the public.

Other contenders:

  • Platty Jubes: A term popularised by social media for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
  • Quiet Quitting: This phrase was also in consideration. It means doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary.

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