‘Vax’ Becomes Word of 2021 by Oxford English Dictionary Firm

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The Oxford English Dictionary has named “Vax” as the word of the year for 2021. (OED).

Due to Covid, vaccine-related words such as double-vaxxed, unvaxxed, and anti-vaxxer have seen an increase in usage in 2021.

According to the BBC, vax was an obvious pick because it had “the most striking impact,” according to OED senior editor Fiona McPherson.

It dates back to the 1980s, she noted, but according to our corpus, it was hardly used until this year.

Both vax and vaxx are acceptable spellings, but the one-x version is more popular.

Definitions of vax from the Oxford English Dictionary:

—vax n. a vaccination or vaccine

– vax v. To immunize (someone) against a disease by administering a vaccine.

—vaxxie n. A photograph of oneself taken during or just before or after a vaccine, particularly one against Covid-19, and usually posted on social media; a vaccination selfie.

—anti-vax adj. a person who is anti-vaccination.

—anti-vaxxer n. someone who opposes vaccination

-double-vaxxed adj. Having received two vaccination doses

This year, the use of the word pandemic has surged by more than 57,000 percent.

Vax – word of 2021 is the Oxford-winning word, which was first recorded in English in 1799, while its derivatives vaccinate and vaccination was both first recorded in English in 1800.

The Latin term Vacca, which means cow, is the root of all of these nouns. This is owing to English physician and scientist Edward Jenner’s pioneering work on the smallpox vaccine in the late 1790s and early 1800s, according to the OED.

According to Oxford Languages, its corpus, or language resource, compiles daily news articles and contains over 14.5 billion words for lexicographers to examine and analyze.


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