(Mirror)Youthquake named Oxford Dictionaries word of the year 2017 – here’s what it means
Oxford Dictionaries has selected ‘youthquake’ as its 2017 word of the year
Youthquake has been selected by Oxford Dictionaries as the 2017 word of the year.
Never heard of it? You’re not alone. But you’ll have experienced or witnessed the meaning behind the word – youthquake is defined as “a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people”.
The term has seen a 401 per cent increase year-on-year. Indeed, 2017 has been a period of political change and unsettlement. It’s been 12 months in which the much-maligned millennial generation (18-34) threw down their avocados and fought back.
Youthquake was chosen picked from a shortlist of 10 words, which included ‘Antifa’, which means ‘anti-fascist’, and ‘kompromat’, used when discussing ‘compromising information gathered for use in blackmail, usually for political purposes and gain.
Other words that made the 2017 shortlist are ‘broflake’, a label for men easily irritated and upset by progressive social attitudes, and ‘unicorn’, used to describe glittery food and drink.
We must mention also ‘Milkshake Duck’, a term for an instance, object, animal or person that sparks a positive reaction on social media. Yes – a happy, viral story.
Traditionally, the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year is added to the compendium, but youthquake is already there. It was first coined by 1960s Vogue editor Diana Vreeland to describe the impact British youth were making on the world’s fashion and music industries.
Lexicographer and dictionary consultant Susie Dent the shortlist reflected the sad times in which we live – but youthquake is a sign of hope.
“There’s not a lot of sunshine in the standout words this year,” Dent said.
“Words like Antifa and kompromat speak to fractured times of mistrust and frustration. In youthquake we finally found some hope in the power to change things, and had a little bit of linguistic fun along the way. It feels like the right note on which to end a difficult and divisive year.”