2018 was toxic.
That's the view of the esteemed Oxford Dictionaries. It has chosen the word as its annual "Word of the Year".
Defining the word as “poisonous”, Oxford said it had become a “descriptor for the year’s most talked about topics”. The dictionary pointed to a 45% rise in the number of times the word has been looked up on its website, and said it best captured “the ethos, mood, or preoccupations” of 2018.
First appearing in English in the mid-17th century, from the medieval Latin toxicus, “toxic” has also been used to describe workplaces, schools, relationships, cultures and stress over the last year.
It said the #MeToo movement "put the spotlight on toxic masculinity" while in politics the word has been applied to the "rhetoric, policies, agendas and legacies of leaders and governments around the globe."
However, the word was most associated with the word “chemical”, appearing most frequently in discussions about the environment, including “toxic substance”, “toxic gas”, “toxic waste” and “toxic air”.
The debate fostered by the Brexit vote has also been described as a toxic environment, said the dictionary, while social media platforms “have come under fire for the toxic impact they have on our mental health”.
Last year's word of the year was 'youthquake', defined as ‘a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.’
Last week Collins Dictionary chose the term “single-use”, referring to products made to be used once and then thrown away, as its word of the year.
Primarily a word used in the UK, cakeism is the belief that it is possible to enjoy or take advantage of both of two desirable but mutually exclusive alternatives at once.
Typically used in the UK as a derogatory term for an older middle-class white man whose face becomes flushed due to anger when expressing political (typically right-wing) opinions.
The action of manipulating someone by psychological means into accepting a false depiction of reality or doubting their own sanity.
Incel, short for ‘involuntarily celibate’, is used as a self-descriptor by members of an online subculture who typically deem themselves chronically unable to attract romantic or sexual partners. They hold views that are hostile towards to women and to men who are sexually active.
Orbiting is the action of abruptly withdrawing from direct communication with someone while still monitoring, and sometimes responding to, their activity on social media.
An excessive number of tourist visits to a popular destination or attraction, resulting in damage to the local environment and historical sites and in poorer quality of life for residents.
A strong and widespread negative reaction to the growing power and influence of large technology companies, particularly those based in Silicon Valley.