‘Single-use’ named word of the year by Collins Dictionary

'Plogging' was among the other words chosen.
'Plogging' was among the other words chosen.
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“Single-use” has been named Word Of The Year – while “gammon”, “gaslight” and “backstop” also make an appearance.

“Single-use” refers to products, often plastic, which are made to be used only once before they are thrown away, with lexicographers saying that use of the word has gone up four times since 2013.

Collins Dictionary experts have created an annual list of new and notable words.

“Gaslight” – to manipulate others, often romantic partners, by leading them to question their sanity – makes the list, having seen a big rise.

“Gammon”, used as an insult to describe middle-aged, white, pro-Brexit supporters, is also included, as is “backstop”, which has seen an increase in use in reference to what might happen with the Irish border once the UK leaves the EU.

“Whitewash”, following criticism about casting white actors as characters from ethnic minority backgrounds, is also on the list.

“MeToo” is also a word of the year, with lexicographers saying it has become part of the language, thanks to phrases such as “the MeToo era” and “MeToo moment” in relation to campaigns against sexual harassment.

Other words include “plogging”, which combines jogging with picking up litter, and “vegan”, which has become “increasingly mainstream”.

“VAR” gets a mention (for the video assistant referee, in sports), as does “floss”, the victory dance and playground craze.

The words will be entered into CollinsDictionary.com and considered for future print editions. “Plogging” and “VAR” are new to the dictionary and will be in next week’s new edition.

Helen Newstead, head of language content at Collins, said that the year had seen the “rise of new words and the revitalisation and adaptation of old ones” and “contribute to the ever-evolving English language”.

“It’s clear from this year’s Words Of The Year list that changes to our language are dictated as much by public concern as they are by sport, politics, and playground fads,” she said.

In 2017 a phrase consistently in the headlines – and one Twitter feed in particular –was named Collins’ word of the year. “Fake news” became synonymous with statements from US President Donald Trump, as he railed against the media. Politics had a big influence on the shortlist, with “Antifa” and “Echo-chamber” also taking their spots. Collins described fake news as “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting”.