2019 Words of the Year Reflect Changing Attitudes, Awareness


The English language is always evolving, and each year linguists take stock of the notable cultural changes or trends that are reflected in the words we use.

This year, Merriam-Webster chose “they” as its word of the year. For Dictionary.com, it was the word “existential.” Meanwhile, the Oxford English Dictionary went with “climate emergency.”

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University of Chicago linguist Jason Riggle joins us to discuss these and other trending words like quid pro quo, Latinx and plant-based. 

And in case you’ve forgotten what Merriam-Webster’s Words of the Year were in, say, 2003 (quagmire, slog, gubernatorial) or 2013 (science, rapport, metaphor), check out this Wikipedia article for reminders. 


Related stories:

Merriam-Webster Declares ‘They’ Its 2019 Word of the Year

Dictionary.com Chooses ‘Existential’ as Word of the Year

Top News Stories from 2019: The Year in Review

Nomophobia, Incel, Toxic: The 2018 Words of the Year


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