CULTURE & ARTS
11/15/2018 10:22 am ET

Oxford Dictionaries' Word Of The Year Is A Tragically Apt Summary Of 2018

Gaslighting, incel, big dick energy and overtourism all made the shortlist.

There is a noxious air about Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year 2018 ― “toxic.”

The British publisher, in announcing the choice, revealed “a 45 percent rise in the number of times” the word — which it defines as “poisonous” — was searched for in “an array” of literal and metaphorical contexts on its websites this year.

“In 2018, toxic added many strings to its poisoned bow becoming an intoxicating descriptor for the year’s most talked about topics,” the publisher said in a statement online Thursday. “It is the sheer scope of its application, as found by our research, that made toxic the stand-out choice for the Word of the Year title.”

Oxford Dictionaries also revealed the 10 most looked-up terms containing the word:

1. Toxic Chemical

2. Toxic Masculinity

3. Toxic Substance

4. Toxic Gas

5. Toxic Environment

6. Toxic Relationship

7. Toxic Culture

8. Toxic Waste

9. Toxic Algae

10.Toxic Air

Eight other words made Oxford’s shortlist:

Their definitions, per the publisher, are:

Big Dick Energy (BDE): An attitude of understated and casual confidence.

Cakeism: 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.

Gammon: 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.

Gaslighting: The action of manipulating someone by psychological means into accepting a false depiction of reality or doubting their own sanity.

Incel: An incel is a member of an online community of young men who consider themselves unable to attract women sexually. Typically, they hold views that are hostile towards men and women who are sexually active.  

Orbiting: Orbiting is the action of abruptly withdrawing from direct communication with someone while still monitoring, and sometimes responding to, their activity on social media.

Overtourism: 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.

Techlash: A strong and widespread negative reaction to the growing power and influence of large technology companies, particularly those based in Silicon Valley.

Previous Oxford Dictionaries Words of the Year include the controversial “youthquake” in 2017, “post-truth” in 2016, the emoji known as “Face with Tears of Joy” in 2015, “vape” in 2014, and “selfie” in 2013.

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