LONDON (AP) — What single word best captures the tone of the past year? Oxford Dictionaries says it’s “toxic.”
Oxford University Press monitors changes in the English language and each year selects a word that catches the annual mood.
Its lexicographers said Thursday that “toxic” grew into “an intoxicating descriptor for the year’s most talked about topics.”
Beyond its literal sense, people also employed it to describe relationships, politics and habits.
The word beat other shortlisted possibilities, including gas-lighting (“manipulating someone by psychological means into accepting a false depiction of reality or doubting their own sanity”) and orbiting (“the action of abruptly withdrawing from direct communication with someone while still monitoring, and sometimes responding to, their activity on social media”).
Toxic succeeds last year’s word of the year, youthquake, which recognized the millennial generation’s power.