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Word of the Year 2017

It's early December! Which means that it's "Word of the Year" season. I love seeing the nominations and trends that these words suggest about our global culture, and the mood of the people.

This year's nominations are, so far, politically inspired (I've put the nominating organization in brackets):

  • fake news (Collins Dictionary)
  • complicit (
  • populism (Cambridge Dictionary)

Have I missed any? I'm looking forward to seeing Oxford Dictionary's choice, and would love to see others commenting about other nominations that will be coming out over this month.

I also have a question: Is there any one organization's nomination that is more "official" than other organizations? For example, I'm wondering about the American Dialect Society's choice, which is usually announced in early January.


  • Thank you very much for your post, @karenwylie. We have put your question to the person heading up our WOTY campaign, so stand by for information!

  • edited December 2017


    Thanks for your question, and welcome to the Oxford Dictionaries Forum!

    We often get asked how we come to the decision on what Word of the Year is and how does that differ from other dictionaries? Surely they would all be the same? I would say that each dictionary picks their word on different criteria e.g. some make their choice based solely on what words people have been looking up.  

    The Oxford Word of the Year is a little different, we draw on evidence gathered from our extensive language research programme, including the Oxford Corpus, which gathers around 150 million words of current English from web-based publications each month. Sophisticated software allows our expert lexicographers to identify new and emerging words and examine the shifts in how more established words are being used. 

    Dictionary editors also flag notable words for consideration throughout the year and use other sources of data to identify contenders. 

    We regularly take into account the many suggestions sent to us via social media and in the comments on our blog.

    The final Word of the Year selection is made by the Oxford Dictionaries team on the basis of all the information available to us.

    More information can be found on the WOTY FAQ page 

    This year we have worked with Channel 4, and if you are based in the UK, there is a special programme on Saturday 16th December about the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2017.

  • Hi @karenwylie
    You might have seen it already, but the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2017 has just been announced!

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