Word of the year for 2021 is ‘vaccine’: Merriam-Webster

NEW YORK – With a definition expanded to reflect the times, Merriam-Webster has announced a truth that is as ubiquitous as the 2021 year: vaccines.

Peter Sokolowski, editor-in-chief of Merriam-Webster, told The Associated Press ahead of Monday’s announcement: “This is an extremely high-value word in our data every day in 2021.

“It really represents two different stories. One is the science story, which is the remarkable rate at which a vaccine has been developed. But there are also political, policy-related debates. and political parties. One word carries these two big stories,” he said.

The selection followed by “vax” is word of the year from the publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary. And it comes after Merriam-Webster chose “pandemic” as top of last year’s searches on its online site.

“Pandemic is the sound of gunfire and now we are suffering the consequences,” Sokolowski said.

At Merriam-Webster, searches for “vaccine” are up 601% from 2020, when the first US shot was administered in New York in December after rapid growth, and months of speculation and speculation. discuss efficiency. The world’s first collision occurred earlier that month in England.

Compared to 2019, when there was little urgency or talk about vaccines, Merriam-Webster recorded a 1,048% increase in searches this year. Debates about unequal distribution, vaccine mandates, and stimulant boosters, Sokolowski said, remain of high interest. The same goes for vaccine hesitancy and conflict over vaccine passports.

The word “vaccine” was not born in a single day, or due to a single pandemic. The first known use dates back to 1882, but references appear earlier to the liquid from cowpox pustules used in vaccination, Sokolowski said. It is borrowed from the New Latin word “vaccine”, reverting to the feminine Latin “vacinus”, meaning “of or from a cow.” According to Merriam-Webster, the Latin word for cow is “vacca”, a word possibly similar to the Sanskrit “vasa”.

Vaccination, on the other hand, dates back to 1714, which in a sense refers to the act of injecting “inoculation”.

Earlier this year, Merriam-Webster added a “vaccine” online entry to include all discussion of mRNA vaccines, or messenger vaccines, such as those for COVID-19 made by Pfizer -BioNTech and Moderna developed.

While other dictionary companies select words of the year by committee, Merriam-Webster bases its selection on lookup data, paying much attention to spikes and more recently the number of searches. increased annually after the removal of evergreens. The company has claimed a word of the year since 2008. Of the runner-ups in the bio from 2021:

REVOLUTION: Interest was fueled by the deadly January 6 siege of the United States Congress. Arrests continue, as do congressional hearings into the assault by supporters of US President Donald Trump. Several Trump allies have resisted the subpoena, including Steve Bannon.

Searches for the word grew 61,000% in 2020, Sokolowksi said.

THE INFRASTRUCTURE: US President Joe Biden was able to deliver what Trump often talks about but never achieved: A bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law. When Biden offered help with broadband access, aged care, and early childhood, the conversation changed not only from roads and bridges but also “figuratively infrastructure,” Sokolowski said.

“Many people have asked, what is infrastructure if it’s not made of steel or concrete?

PERSISTENCE: That’s the name of NASA’s newest Mars rover. It lands on February 18, 2021. “The Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet, with a name that embodies NASA’s passion and our nation’s capabilities, take on and overcome challenges,” the space agency said.

The name was coined by Alexander Mather, a 7th, 14th grader at Lake Braddock High School in Burke, Virginia. He entered an essay contest organized by NASA. He was one of 28,000 K-12 students who submitted entries.

ENJOY: From there began to appear when the movie “Nomadland” was released in 2020. The film went on to win three Oscars in April 2021, including best picture, director (Chloe Zhao) and actress. member (Frances McDormand). Zhao became the first woman of color to win the Best Director award.

AP filmmaker Jake Coyle called the success of the indie style “a simple meditation on solitude, grief, and grit.” He wrote that it “hit a chord in a year devastated by a pandemic. It made an Oscar winner unlikely: A movie about marginalized people taking center stage. heart.”

Other Merriam-Webster Top 10 words: Cicada (we had an invasion), guardian (Cleveland Indians become Cleveland Guardians), meta (the lofty new name of Facebook parent company), cisuality (the gender identity corresponding to one’s gender is specified at birth), awakened (charged with politics and political correctness) and Murraya (a tropical plant and word that won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee Award for 14-year-old girl Zaila Avant-garde).


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