Greta Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion and a growing sense of alarm over global heating have made 2019 a watershed moment in terms of climate change action.
Now the Collins Dictionary has named “climate strike” as its word of the year, defining it as “a form of protest in which people absent themselves from education or work in order to join demonstrations demanding action to counter climate change.”
Other words that made it onto the shortlist include “rewilding,” or the act of returning areas of land to a wild state, including reintroducing animal species that are no longer naturally found there.
Rewilding is cited in some quarters as a solution to climate change.
“BoPo,” short for body positive, or the idea that people should be proud of their appearance, was also on the shortlist.
As was “nonbinary,” which Collins defines as “relating to a gender or sexual identity that does not belong to the binary categories of male or female, heterosexual or homosexual.”
Social media makes an inevitable appearance with the inclusion of “influencer,” which is used to describe people who uses digital platforms to promote products and lifestyle choices.
The tech term “deepfake” also makes an appearance. It refers to the creation of fake photos or videos that look real, such as those created by controversial viral app Zao.
Next up is “cancel,” as in cancel culture, or the public rejection of a person or organization to show disapproval of them, and “double down,” which is used to define the act of reinforcing your commitment to something despite opposition.
And members of a political party might bemoan an influx of “entryists,” or people who join up with the aim of changing its policies.
In fact, Collins says politics has such an influence on the way we use language it has published a list of terms inspired by Brexit.
By far the most kinetic is “milkshake,” which, in addition to defining a sweet, dairy-based drink, now refers to the act of throwing such a drink all over someone.
The term shot to prominence after right-wing figures Nigel Farage and Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, were “milkshaked” by opponents on the campaign trail earlier this year.
Other terms on the list include “Brexiety,” or a feeling of unease over Brexit, as well as “cakeism,” used to define the “idea of wanting all the benefits of EU membership with none of the expenses or responsibilities.”