The words that trended in 2021 tell a story of the most significant moments and phenomena of the year. It is interesting how many of these now common words were obscure even just 5 years ago.
The Oxford Dictionary named the word “vax” as the word of the year. The inflected form of the word, “vaxxed,” earned a spot as one of the most memorable words of 2021. The word, with the “-ed” suffix, describes a person who’s inoculated with a coronavirus vaccine. Businesses started requiring “fully vaccinated” people to show “proof of vaccination,” while “anti-vaxxer” sentiments spread. The runner up was the word “variant”, to describe a change in the original strain.
It is not hard to see why “languishing” got third most used word, as it helped people describe their emotions in 2021. “Languishing” describes a state of dispirited or apathetic disposition, languishing doesn’t necessarily feel “good” or “bad”; instead, it’s a lack of focus and restlessness that can’t be placed.
The pandemic also catapulted the concept of “hybrid work” into the conversation as a model for the future of work, making this the fourth most popular phrase used around the globe.
The aforementioned is again proof of how people use language to make sense out of the issues they face. Although machines would be able to translate these words, there remains a lack of context which is what a human translator brings to the table.