Perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘Permacrisis’, a term that describes ‘an extended period of instability and insecurity, has been named Collins Word of the Year 2022. Collins Dictionary monitors its 18bn-word database and a range of media sources, including social media, to create an annual list of new and notable words that "reflect our ever-evolving language.”
But this year, the list of 10 top words in 2022 “sums up just how truly awful 2022 has been for so many people,” said Alex Beecroft, the managing director of Collins Learning.
He explained: “Language can be a mirror to what is going on in society and the wider world and this year has thrown up challenge after challenge.
“It is understandable that people may feel, after living through upheaval caused by Brexit, the pandemic, severe weather, the war in Ukraine, political instability, the energy squeeze and the cost-of-living crisis, that we are living in an ongoing state of uncertainty and worry,”
Other words on the list included “Partygate” which refers to the scandal of social gatherings in Downing Street during the pandemic, “Kyiv”, the name of the Ukrainian capital after the war with Russia broke out earlier this year and “sports washing” which refers to the promotion of sports events to distract from controversial activity.
Last year’s word of the year for the Oxford Dictionary was vax while words related to vaccines spiked in frequency in 2021 because of Covid, with double-vaxxed, unvaxxed and anti-vaxxer all seeing a surge in use.
Previous Collins’ words of the year include lockdown, climate strike, single-use, fake news, Brexit, binge-watch, photobomb and geek.
Collins Dictionary top words for 2022
Carolean: Of or relating to Charles III of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or his reign.
Kyiv: The capital of Ukraine, on the Dnipro River.
Lawfare: The strategic use of legal proceedings to intimidate or hinder an opponent.
Partygate: A political scandal over social gatherings held in British government offices during 2020 and 2021 in defiance of the public health restrictions that prevailed at the time.
Permacrisis: An extended period of instability and insecurity, especially one resulting from a series of catastrophic events.
Quiet quitting: The practice of doing no more work than one is contractually obliged to do, especially in order to spend more time on personal activities; the practice of doing little or no work while being present at one’s place of employment.
Splooting: The act of lying flat on the stomach with the legs stretched out.
Sportswashing: The sponsorship or promotion of sporting events in order to enhance a tarnished reputation or distract attention from a controversial activity.
Vibe shift: A significant change in a prevailing cultural atmosphere or trend.
Warm bank: A heated building where people who cannot afford to heat their own homes may go.