With a much implication definition to show the times, Merriam-Webster has announced a truth as it’s the word of the year: VACCINE.
“This was a word that was extremely high in our data every single day in 2021”, Peter Sokolowski who is the Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, reported to The Associated Press ahead of Monday’s announcement.
It actually shows two different stories. One is the story of science, that is the extraordinary speed with which the vaccines were made and developed. But there is also the argument regarding policy, political affiliation, and politics. It is one word that has these two long stories, he stated.
The selection states vax as the word of 2021 from the people who publish the Oxford English Dictionary. And it comes only after Merriam-Webster selected pandemic as tops in searches last year on their online site.
“The pandemic was the gun going off and now we have the aftereffects”, Sokolowski stated.
At Merriam-Webster, searches for vaccines raised 601% over 2020, when the first United States shot was operated in December in New York after fast development, and several months of speculation and discussions over the impacts. The first jab in the world took place earlier that month in the United Kingdom.
As compared to 2019, when there was very little need or statements about vaccines, Merriam-Webster logged a rise of 1,048 percent in lookups in 2021. “Debates over inequitable distribution, vaccine mandates and boosters kept interested high”, Sokolowski stated.
The term vaccine was not originated in a day or cause of a single pandemic. The very first known use takes us back to 1882 but references do pop up earlier due to fluid from cowpox pustules that were used un inoculations, Sokolowski stated.
“It was borrowed from the New Latin vaccina, which goes back to Latin’s feminine vaccinus, meaning of or from a cow. The Latin for cow is vacca, a word that might be akin to the Sanskrit vasa,” according to Merriam-Webster.
On the other hand, inoculation dates to 1714, in one sense stating to the act of injecting an inoculum.
Merriam-Webster added to its online entry for vaccine earlier this year to make sure to cover all the discussions of mRNA vaccines or messenger vaccines such as those needed for COVID-19 made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Whereas several other dictionary companies choose terms of the year by committee, Merriam-Webster bases its selection on ‘lookup data, paying close attention to spikes and, more recently, year-over-year increases in searches after weeding out evergreens.’ The company, since 2008, has been stating a word of the year. Among its runners-up in the word biography of the year are:
Insurrection: on the United States Capitol, interest was directed by the deadly 6th January siege. Arrests do continue, even congressional hearings over the attack by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Searches for this certain word raised by 61,000% over last year, Sokolowski stated.
Infrastructure: “President Joe Biden was able to deliver what Trump often spoke of but never achieved: A bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law. When Biden proposed help with broadband access, eldercare and preschool, conversation changed from not only roads and bridges but figurative infrastructure”, Sokolowski stated.
Several people enquired about what is infrastructure if it is not made from steel or concrete? In Latin the term ‘Infrastructure’ means underneath the structure, he stated.
Perseverance: “It’s the name of NASA’s latest Mars rover. It landed on Feb. 18, 2021. Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet, with a name that embodies NASA’s passion, and our nation’s capability, to take on and overcome challenges”, the space agency stated.
The name was coined by Alexander Mather who is a 14-year-old 7th standard student at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia. He took part in an essay contest organised by NASA. He was among one of the 28,000 K-12 students to submit their entries.
Nomad: The term had its significance with the 2020 release of the movie Nomadland. It won 3 Oscars in April 2021, including best picture, Chlo Zhao who won the best director and Frances McDormand who won the best actress. Zhao became the very first lady of colour to win best director.
Other words in Top 10 of Merriam-Wester includes: ‘Cicada (we had an invasion), guardian (the Cleveland Indians became the Cleveland Guardians), meta (the lofty new name of Facebook’s parent company), cisgender (a gender identity that corresponds to one’s sex assigned at birth), woke (charged with politics and political correctness) and murraya (a tropical tree and the word that won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee for 14-year-old Zaila Avant-garde).’