VAX—WORD OF THE YEAR 2021—OXFORD LANGUAGES
- January 21, 2022
- Posted by: Madrigal Admin
- Category: Word of the Week Blog
OR … IF YOU TURN INTO A CROCODILE THATS YOUR PROBLEM
The Oxford Languages (Oxford University Press) word of the year for 2021 is vax. Vax is a colloquial shortening of either vaccine or vaccination as a noun and vaccinate as a verb. It has been used in the vaxed, double-vaxed, unvaxed, and the scourge of lockdowns, the anti-vaxers.
The Word of the Year is based on usage evidence drawn from Oxford’s references. These include more than 14.5 billion words, gathered from international English-speaking news sources. The Oxford Languages word of the year aims “to reflect the ethos, mood or preoccupations” of the preceding year, while also having “potential as a term of lasting cultural significance.”
The continuing coronavirus pandemic has focussed the world’s media on the fight against the disease. Many of the pandemic words we used in 2020 continue to be used frequently but the rollout of vaccination has focussed our vocabulary.
OTHER VAX EXPRESSIONS
The vaccination rollout around the world created some neologisms and generated a multitude of witty and barbed vaccination expressions. These included:
- Fauci Ouchie (for the vaccination jab advocated by Dr Anthony Fauci the US’s senior medical spokesperson)
- inoculati (the group that had greater freedom based on their fully-inoculated status)
- vaxinista (advocates of vaccination and those involved in delivering shots, or those that flaunt their vaccination status)
- vaxications (the post-vaccination getaways)
- vaxxident (a road accident claimed to be caused by alleged side-effects of vaccination, is confined mostly to vaccine-sceptical websites in the US)
- anti-faxxer (anti-vaxxers who don’t listen to the facts)
- spreadnecks (rednecks who attend US anti-vax rallies and ironically catch and spread the virus)
VAX WORDS FROM OTHER LANGUAGES
The Oxford Language experts also highlighted some vaccination words from other languages. The following are some of the most notable.
The Spanish refer to los vacunados (loss ba-koo-NAH-doss) for those who have been vaccinated.
The French word for vaccine is unsurprisingly vaccin (vak-san). The vaccination program created and revived some words:
- le vaccinodrome (vak-seen-oh-drohm, with the Greek dromos—racecourse or public walk) for a megacentre set up for mass inoculation
- les bélénophobes’ (bay-lay-noh-fob) for people with a phobia of needles
The French race to vaccinate people created:
- fracture vaccinale (frak-tyoor vak-seen-al, disparity between the rate at which different areas or population groups receive vaccine doses)
- inégalité vaccinale (een-ay-gal-ee-tay vak-seen-al) for vaccine inequality
Russian has an English loanword for vaccine—вакцина (vak-TSEEN-a) which coexists with the Russian word, прививка (prih-VEE-vka) for inoculation.
Russia, seemingly suffering the same frustration with deniers as we have, has several words for them:
- антиваксер (an-tee-VAK-ser, anti-vaxxer)
- антипрививочник (an-tee-prih-VEE-vach-nik, meaning anti-inoculationist)
In Brazil, a picada (pee-KAH-dah), or a sting, describes the prickling sensation of being injected with the vaccine.
Many Brazilians have worn reptile suits to their vaccination (often as a jacaré, in the attire of a scaly alligator) in protest against the huge death toll. The country’s President refused to take the vaccine and expressed doubts about its side effects, saying: ‘If you turn into a crocodile, then that’s your problem’.
Vaccination has been the word of the year in 2021 as we come to terms with COVID-19 and its variants. Although we will certainly defeat COVID-19 we must prepare ourselves for other outbreaks of coronavirus. Vaccination is the most important tool in combating it so we are likely to be using the word often over the next few years.
A shorter version of this post was first published on Linked IN (