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Situationship, beige flag, de-influencing: Eight words on shortlist for Oxford word of the year

'Everyone has a role to play in how the English language evolves over time, which is why we wanted language lovers across the world to help us select the word that best reflected their experiences of 2022'

PTI New Delhi Published 29.11.23, 01:54 PM
Representational image.

Representational image. Shutterstock

'Situationship', 'swiftie', 'beige flag' and 'de-influencing' are among the eight words on the shortlist for Oxford Word of the Year for 2023, officials said on Wednesday.

According to officials at the Oxford University Press (OUP), the eight words will be opened up to head-to-head voting by the public with one winner emerging from each of those competitions, narrowing the field down to just four finalists.

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Experts will then perform one last detailed analysis of the corpus data, taking into account the votes and public commentary on the finalists, and name the definitive word of the year for 2023.

The shortlist of eight words has been selected by the language experts at OUP.

They have examined the 19-billion-word corpus of spoken and written language data for words or expressions that have seen a spike in usage or that have been recently added to the language (neologisms), officials said.

While 'situationship' is a term used for a romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered to be formal or established, 'beige flag' refers to a character trait that indicates that a partner or potential partner is boring or lacks originality.

'Swiftie' is an enthusiastic fan of the singer Taylor Swift while 'de-influencing' is the practice of discouraging people from buying particular products, or of encouraging people to reduce their consumption of material goods, via social media.

"Everyone has a role to play in how the English language evolves over time, which is why we wanted language lovers across the world to help us select the word that best reflected their experiences of 2022.

"The world seems to be spinning faster than ever, the mood of 2023 bouncing from extremes from one moment to another,” said Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Languages.

All of the words and expressions on the shortlist "reflect unique concerns, concepts and preoccupations that we’ve all experienced this year and we really hope that everyone enjoys being a part of this process once more", she added.

Other words on the shortlist are 'parasocial', 'heatdome', 'rizz' and 'prompt'.

While 'parasocial' refers to a relationship characterised by the one-sided, unreciprocated sense of intimacy felt by a viewer, fan, or follower for a well-known or prominent figure, 'heat-dome' is a persistent high-pressure weather system over a particular geographic area, which traps the mass of hot air below it. 'Rizz' refers to style, charm, attractiveness or the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner. 'Prompt' is an instruction given to an artificial intelligence programme, algorithm, etc., which determines or influences the content it generates.

Last year, for the first time in its history, the Oxford Word of the Year was placed completely in the hands of the public, with English speakers worldwide given the chance to have their say. Almost 400,000 people took to social media to join the discussion, before Goblin Mode was crowned the winner with an overwhelming 93 per cent of the overall vote.

'Goblin mode', 'vax’, 'climate emergency', and 'toxic' are among the Oxford Word of the Year chosen in the last five years.

In 2020, Oxford for the first time had chosen not to name a word of the year, describing 2020 as "a year which cannot be neatly accommodated in one single word". Instead, from "unmute" to "mail-in", and from "coronavirus" to "lockdown", the eminent reference work has announced its "words of an 'unprecedented' year".

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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