It’s a word not many have heard of, and it beat more popular words to reach the title.
The Oxford English has come out with its Word of the Year, and it’s a word not many have heard of — youthquake.
“So given this broad examination of the year in language, what did we eventually settle on? I am pleased to introduce youthquake as Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2017,” writes Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford’s dictionaries division.
So what does it mean?
Oxford’s definition is as follows: “A significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.”
Grathwohl adds that, “We chose ‘youthquake’ based on its evidence and linguistic interest. But most importantly for me, at a time when our language is reflecting a deepening unrest and exhausted nerves, it is a rare political word that sounds a hopeful note.”
But where is it from?
Going back to the dictionary, the first usage of the term was in 1965. It was coined by Vogue’s editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland to represent a cultural movement. It was the time baby boomers entered young adulthood, the time when women gained a little more independence, — and to cement the Vogue connection — the time when boutiques over took couture houses.
Why is it the word of 2017?
“Five decades later ‘youthquake’ has been resurrected with a new meaning, now referring to the political awakening of the oft-maligned millennial generation,” says Grathwohl. He explains that the word “built momentum in the wake of the British polls in June when young voters almost carried the Labour Party to an unlikely victory. Then it began to gain usage in New Zealand in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in September.”
Australia too seem to have referenced the word during their marriage equality referendum this year.
Grathwohl says that the rationale behind the choice is that ‘youthquake’ is a word “we can all rally behind.”
Why haven’t I heard of it?
That is because the usage is limited only to these countries. It is yet to make its presence known around the world.
What else did they consider?
Antifa - a political protest movement comprising autonomous groups affiliated by their militant opposition to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology.
Broflake - a man who is readily upset or offended by progressive attitudes that conflict with his more conventional or conservative views.
Gorpcore - a style of dress incorporating utilitarian clothing of a type worn for outdoor activities.
Kompromat - compromising information collected for use in blackmailing, discrediting, or manipulating someone, typically for political purposes.
Milkshake duck - a person or thing that initially inspires delight on social media but is soon revealed to have a distasteful or repugnant past.
Newsjacking - the practice of taking advantage of current events or news stories in such a way as to promote or advertise one's product or brand.
Unicorn - denoting something, especially an item of food or drink, that is dyed in rainbow colours, decorated with glitter, etc.
White fragility - discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality and injustice.