Now playing
01:10
Oxford Dictionaries' 2018 word of the year is ...
Now playing
02:11
'I can't stop staring': Internet reacts to actress' transformation for role
Now playing
00:57
Simon Cowell hits golden buzzer for singer fighting cancer on 'AGT'
President Joe Biden, with a brood X cicada on his back, walks to board Air Force One upon departure, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Biden is embarking on the first overseas trip of his term.
Alex Brandon/AP
President Joe Biden, with a brood X cicada on his back, walks to board Air Force One upon departure, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Biden is embarking on the first overseas trip of his term.
Now playing
02:16
Biden has run-in with cicada before boarding Air Force One
Now playing
00:48
See ominous landspout tornado darken Colorado skies
Now playing
00:46
See a classic typewriter made entirely of Legos
TikTok/AliciaSilverstone
Now playing
00:39
Alicia Silverstone recreates iconic scene with her son
Balenciaga
Now playing
02:18
High-heeled Crocs may sell for as much as $1K
WTVR
Now playing
01:48
What mom and daughter did with 80,000 penny child support payment
'Baywatch' star David Hasselhoff joins Germanys Covid-19 vaccination campaign, in a video posted by Germanys health ministry.
Twitter/BMG_Bund
'Baywatch' star David Hasselhoff joins Germanys Covid-19 vaccination campaign, in a video posted by Germanys health ministry.
Now playing
00:46
Hear David Hasselhoff's Covid-19 vaccine message
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 02: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a Creative Industries and Business Reception on October 02, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.   (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 02: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a Creative Industries and Business Reception on October 02, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:16
Foster: Harry and Meghan's new baby's name a nod to the Queen
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 18: Kim Kardashian West of 'The Justice Project' speaks onstage during the 2020 Winter TCA Tour Day 12  at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 18, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
David Livingston/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 18: Kim Kardashian West of 'The Justice Project' speaks onstage during the 2020 Winter TCA Tour Day 12 at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 18, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:47
'I feel like a failure': Kim Kardashian on troubles with Kanye
TikTok
Now playing
01:13
'The Sandlot' star recreates iconic movie scene
Clockwork
Now playing
02:20
Robot manicure really 'nails it'
courtney cox ed sheeran friends dance routine mxp vpx_00000930.png
Courtney Cox/Warner Bros
courtney cox ed sheeran friends dance routine mxp vpx_00000930.png
Now playing
00:36
Ed Sheeran and Courteney Cox recreate famous 'Friends' dance routine
@amyschumer/Instragram
Now playing
00:55
See Amy Schumer react to birthday trolling
CNN —  

2018 was toxic.

That’s the view of the esteemed Oxford Dictionaries, the British publisher that has been defining language – and our times – for over 150 years.

It has chosen the word as its annual “Word of the Year,” arguing that it’s “the sheer scope of its application that has made it the standout choice,” a video posted on the Dictionary’s twitter page explains.

Strictly defined as “poisonous,” Oxford Dictionaries says that its research shows that “this year more than ever, people have been using ‘toxic’ to describe a vast array of things, situations, concerns and events.”

“In its original, literal use, to refer to poisonous substances, ‘toxic’ has been ever-present in discussions of the health of our communities, and our environment,” the video explains, pointing, among other examples, to the recent increase in discussion surrounding the “toxicity of plastics.”

But it adds that “toxic” has “truly taken off into the realm of metaphor, as people have reached for the word to describe workplaces, schools, cultures, relationships and stress.”

It adds the “Me Too” movement has “put the spotlight on toxic masculinity” whereas in politics more broadly “the word has been applied to the rhetoric, policies, agendas and legacies of leaders and governments around the globe.”

It certainly seems to have made its mark on CNN – with around 600 news stories and opinion pieces online featuring the word in 2018 so far, popping up in articles about everything from US President Donald Trump, to conspiracy website Infowars, the national debt, Michigan’s drinking water and Tide pods.

Part of Oxford University Press (OUP), a department of the University of Oxford, the dictionary has, in the past, turned to neologisms to describe the zeitgeist. In 2017, its Word of the Year was “youthquake,” defined as “a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.”

Previous years have also been influenced by the political landscape, with 2016 taking its cue from the Brexit referendum and US presidential election to choose “post-truth” as its word. The year before, however, it broke with tradition to choose the “tears of joy” emoji.

The Word of the Year is chosen from a shortlist “drawn from evidence gathered by (its) extensive language research program, including the Oxford Corpus, which gathers around 150 million words of current English from web-based publications each month,” according to the publisher’s Word of the Year website.