'Climate strike' named Collins Dictionary's word of the year

Use of the term 'climate strike' has surged this year

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Collins English Dictionary has named ‘climate strike’ as its 2019 word of the year, crediting Greta Thunberg’s school strike movement for the surge in its usage.

The term was first registered by Collins' lexicographers in November 2015 when the first event of its kind took place during the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

And this year, there was a 100-fold increase in its usage compared to 2018, as climate change protests became a “frequent reality in many of the world’s largest cities”.

The word of the year is chosen by the dictionary's lexicographer's after monitoring billions of texts, with 10 new and notable terms selected. One of these is then crowned word of the year.

Miss Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, began striking from school earlier this year in demand of immediate environmental action, sparking a global movement.

Meanwhile, the Collins has also added the term ‘non-binary’ to its vocabulary in recognition of “changes in how people relate to each other and define themselves”.

It is defined as “relating to a gender or sexual identity that does not conform to the binary categories of male or female, heterosexual or homosexual”.

LGBT charity Stonewall's director of campaigns Laura Russell praised the “important” move to recognised non-binary people who have “always existed in every community”.

WATCH: Suzie Dent explains the workings of dictionaries

Collins has also published its first “Brexicon”, which looks at how Brexit - the word of the year 2016 - has made certain words more prominent in our language.

The 10-strong Brexit-themed list includes Brexiteer, flextension, prorogue, Remainer and cakeism - described as a wish to enjoy two desirable but incompatible alternatives.

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