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'Vax' becomes Oxford’s 2021 Word of the Year

'Vax' becomes Oxford’s 2021 Word of the Year

From vax sites and vax cards to getting vaxxed and being fully vaxxed, no word better captured the atmosphere of the past year than vax.

'Vax' becomes Oxford’s 2021 Word of the Year (Photo: Reuters) 'Vax' becomes Oxford’s 2021 Word of the Year (Photo: Reuters)

The word 'vax' has been chosen as the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year for 2021. The term, which is related to vaccines, aptly summarizes the spirit of  the present age in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic which brokeout last year.


A report by Oxford Languages found that by September “vax” was more than 72 times more frequent in the English language than at the same time last year. A lot of derivatives of the word have appeared in informal contexts, such as “vax sites”, “vax cards”, “getting vaxxed” and being “fully vaxxed”.


According to the Oxford Languages’ monitor, "the word vax (a colloquialism meaning either vaccine or vaccination as a noun and vaccinate as a verb) registered a particularly precipitous increase in frequency."


At the end of 2020, the most frequently modified nouns by vaccine included candidate, trial, development, maker, and approval, as COVID-19 vaccines were developed, tested, and authorised for use. As vaccination programs were launched and organised, vaccine rollout also made to the list of the most frequent collocations.

It also related to the reality in 2021, which saw a marked rise in the usage of terms relating to the much-discussed topic of requiring people to certify their vaccination status in order to travel, attend events, etc., and even phrases such as vaccine passport, vaccine card, vaccine mandate, and vaccine requirement.

Other vaccine-related words which significantly increased in frequency this year include inoculate, booster, jab, and shot. "We have also seen a surge in terms referring to the number of doses required or received, including single-dose, two-dose, and double-jabbed, Oxford Languages" monitor added.

Also Read: COVID-19 poses higher risk of rare brain conditions than vaccines: Oxford study

Also Read: COVID-19 vaccine booster dose effective in reducing severe outcomes: Lancet

Published on: Nov 01, 2021, 5:20 PM IST
Posted by: Tarab Zaidi, Nov 01, 2021, 5:00 PM IST