Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Merriam-Webster chooses Vaccine as 2021 Word of the Year

With an expanded definition to reflect the times, Merriam-Webster has announced an all-encompassing truth as its 2021 word of the year: vaccine.

“It was a term that was in our data pretty much every single day in 2021,” Merriam-Webster editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski told the Associated Press ahead of Monday’s announcement.

“It really represents two different stories. One is the story of science, the remarkable speed with which vaccines were developed. But there is also debate about policy, politics and political affiliation. This one The word is what encapsulates these two big stories,” he said.

The selection follows “wax” as the word of the year from the people who published the Oxford English Dictionary. And it comes after Merriam-Webster chose “pandemic” at the top of the lookup on its online site last year.

“The pandemic was coming out of the gun and now we have the results,” Sokolovsky said.

At Merriam-Webster, the lookup for “vaccine” increased 601% compared to 2020, when the first US shot was administered in New York in December after accelerated development, and after months of speculation and discussion on efficacy. The world’s first jab took place in the UK earlier that month.

Compared to 2019, when there was little urgency or chatter about vaccines, Merriam-Webster reported a 1,048% increase in lookups this year. Sokolowski said the debate over unequal distribution, vaccine mandates and boosters kept interest high. So was the vaccine hesitancy and friction over the passport to the vaccine.

The word “vaccine” was not born in a day or because of a single pandemic. Sokolowski said the first known use stretches back to 1882, but references pop up first, relating to the fluid from cowpox pustules used in inoculation. It was borrowed from the New Latin “vaccina”, which goes back to the Latin feminine “vaccinus”, meaning “of or of a cow.”

According to Merriam-Webster the Latin word for cow is “vaka”, which may be similar to the Sanskrit “vasa”.

Vaccination, on the other hand, dates back to 1714, in a sense referring to the act of injecting an “inoculum”.

Earlier this year, Merriam-Webster added to its online entry for “vaccine” to cover all talk of an mRNA vaccine, or messenger vaccines such as the one developed by Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna for COVID-19 .

While other dictionary companies select words of the year by committee, Merriam-Webster bases its selection on lookup data, paying close attention to spikes and, more recently, year-by-year in searches after taking out evergreens. year increases. The company has been proclaiming the word of the year since 2008. In its runner-up in the 2021 biography:

Rebellion: The interest was driven by the deadly siege of the US Capitol on January 6. The arrests continue, as do congressional hearings on the attack by supporters of President Donald Trump. Some of Trump’s aides have opposed the summons, including Steve Bannon. Sokolowski said there was a 61,000% increase in word searches in 2020.

basic infrastructure: President Joe Biden was able to deliver what Trump often spoke about but never achieved: a bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law. When Biden proposed help with broadband access, eldercare and preschools, the conversation turned to not just roads and bridges, but “figurative infrastructure,” Sokolovsky said.

“Many people asked, what is infrastructure if it is not made of steel or concrete? Infrastructure, in Latin, means under the structure,” he said.

Perseverance: This is the name of NASA’s latest Mars rover. It landed on February 18, 2021. “Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover that NASA has sent to the Red Planet, a name that reflects NASA’s passion and the potential of our nation,” the space agency said.

The name was thought up by Alexander Mather, a 14-year-old seventh-grader at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia. He participated in an essay competition organized by NASA. He was one of 28,000 K-12 students who submitted entries.

Nomad: The word’s moment coincided with the release of the film “Nomadland” in 2020. It won three Oscars in April 2021, including Best Picture, Director (Chloe Zhao) and Actress (Frances McDormand). Zhao became the first woman of color to win the Best Director award.

AP film writer Jake Coyle called the indie success “a plain-spoken meditation on solitude, grief and grit”. He wrote that it “hit a chord in a pandemic-ravaged year. It made for an unexpected Oscar winner: A film about marginalized people took center stage.”

Other words in Merriam-Webster’s top 10: cicada (we were invaded), guardian (Cleveland Indians became Cleveland Guardians), meta (the lofty new name for Facebook’s parent company), cisgender (a gender identity that defines one’s gender). corresponds to) given at birth), wake (politics and charged with political correctness) and morena (a tropical tree and the word that won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee for 14-year-old Zella avant-garde).


This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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