Word of the year

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The word of the year denotes a catchphrase that stands for a characteristic event or a significant discussion of the past year and has therefore been specially emphasized.

Those words and phrases are selected that have determined the public discussion of the year in question, that stand for important topics or appear otherwise characteristic. There is also no rating or recommendation associated with the selection.

When choosing the word of the year, other linguistic marks are often chosen, such as a sentence of the year or a youth word of the year .


In Germany, a word of the year was chosen for the first time in 1971 and regularly since 1977; Until 1999 this choice was valid for the entire German-speaking area . Since 1991, a non-word of the year has been voted regularly , and since 2008 also a youth word . A set of the year has also been chosen since 2001, although there was no set of the year between 2004 and 2008, only again since 2009.

Until 2009 (unword of the year: works council contaminated ) or 2012 (word of the year: rescue routine ) the chosen words were significantly in use. Since then, word frequency has no longer played a role in the company's decision to use the German language . In the archives of the magazine Der Spiegel will rescue routine used once: 1975th


In Liechtenstein, a separate word, bad word and phrase of the year have been chosen since 2002.


After more and more words were chosen for the word of the year that had a strong connection to Germany, Austria decided in 1999 as the first country in the German-speaking area to choose its own word of the year. In addition, an unword, a slogan since 2002, an unmention since 2006 and a youth word of the year since 2010.


German-speaking Switzerland has been determining its own word of the year since 2003; a non-word and a sentence of the year are also chosen, as well as other linguistic marks at irregular intervals. Previously, the appointments made by the Society for the German Language also applied in Switzerland. The appointment of words that are of no interest in Switzerland because they are based on Germany (e.g. black money affair , Teuro ) prompted the Liechtenstein economist Daniel Quaderer, who already initiated the Liechtenstein Word of the Year, in cooperation with DRS 3 organize their own word of the year for Switzerland.

A new determination mode will apply from 2017: ZHAW linguists, together with the public, journalists, language critics, bloggers and literary professionals, will determine the word of the year (German and French-speaking, from 2018 Italian-speaking, from 2019 Romansh language communities).

Such an election was also held in the Romansh- speaking area in a few years (2004–2006, 2011, 2014–2015).

Other German-speaking areas and dialects

Low German language area

A Low German word of the year has been selected since 1993 .


The Saxon word of the year has been chosen since 2008 .


In 2005 South Tyrol began to search for the word of the year and the unword of the year - each with its own for the three national languages ​​German, Italian and Ladin . The initiators are the language department in the South Tyrolean cultural institute, the institute for technical communication and multilingualism of the EURAC and the research center languages ​​of the Free University of Bolzano .

Other countries


In France, a mot de l'année has been determined since 2005 as part of the festival du mot in La Charité-sur-Loire .


In the Netherlands , the annual selection is organized by the editors of the great Van Dale dictionary , the De Pers newspaper and the popular science magazine Onze Taal .


In Ukraine, a slovo roku (слово року) has been selected from the online dictionary "Myslovo" since 2013 .

United Kingdom

Since 2004, Oxford University Press (publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary ) has chosen a “UK Word of the Year”. The British dictionary service Oxford Dictionaries 2015 chose an emoji as “Word of the Year” , namely the smiling face with tears of joy (“?”). The international word of the year 2016 was post-truth , the English equivalent of the German word of the year “post factual” .

United States

In the USA , the American Dialect Society has chosen Word (s) of the Year in various categories since 1990 , including several non-words . Since 2000 the Texan Global Language Monitor has voted for a "Top Word of the year". Since 2004 the Oxford University Press (publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary ) has chosen a "US Word of the Year".


The world's most beautiful ABC competition was once held as an international, cross-language competition .

Notes and individual references

  1. crisis rhetoric: "Rescue routine" is word of the year SPON from 14 December 2012
  2. Neue Zürcher Zeitung: "Meh Dräck" - in future scientifically sound , January 9, 2017, accessed on January 9, 2017
  3. Word of the Year Switzerland - Your vote is in demand | ZHAW Applied Linguistics. Retrieved on July 29, 2017 (German).
  4. Le mot de l'année. Festival du mot, accessed on January 13, 2013 (French).
  5. Hét Woord van het jaar 2008 is swaffelen. Retrieved September 25, 2009 (Dutch).
  6. Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year: FAQ , accessed December 14, 2013
  7. ^ "Word of the Year": Oxford Dictionaries selects an emoji , Heise-News from November 17, 2015
  8. ^ Oxford Dictionaries: Word of the Year 2016
  9. ^ Words of the Year. American Dialect Society, accessed September 25, 2009 .
  10. History of the Top Words of 2008 - 2000 ( Memento of the original from November 10, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed December 14, 2013  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.languagemonitor.com
  11. Dictionary reveals US word of the year , December 12, 2005, accessed December 14, 2013