'Toxic' branded Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year

'Toxic' branded Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year

"Toxic" has been revealed as Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year.

The word "has added more strings to its poisoned bow during 2018, becoming an intoxicating descriptor for the year’s most talked about topics," a spokesperson for the dictionaries said.

"In its literal sense, toxic has been ever-present in discussions about the health of our communities and our environment with ‘toxic substance’, ‘toxic gas’, ‘toxic environment’, ‘toxicwaste’, ‘toxic algae,’ and ‘toxic air’ appearing as common collocates in our corpus data.  Even ‘toxic slime’ has made the headlines – not to mention the continued discussion around the toxicity of plastics," the spokesperson said. 

"But, it’s not just the physical that has been described as toxic this year. Alongside the literal sense of the word, data shows that people have reached for the word to describe workplaces, schools, relationships, cultures, and stress. Politically, the #MeToo movement has shone a spotlight on ‘toxic masculinity’ while, more broadly, the word has been applied to the environment for debate fostered by the Brexit vote and by the rhetoric of leaders across the globe."

Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Dictionaries, said: “Reviewing this year in language we repeatedly encountered the word ‘toxic’ being used to describe an increasing set of conditions that we’re all facing. Qualifying everything from the entrenched patriarchy to the constant blare of polarizing political rhetoric, ‘toxic’ seems to reflect a growing sense of how extreme, and at times radioactive, we feel aspects of modern life have become.”