2018 word(s) of the year; battle of the words

Abigail Tobis ’20, Editor-in-Chief

Every year a word is selected that is said to have been the most used and searched over the course of year’s 12 months. This year there is a competition as there have been two different words elected as the word of 2018. According to Dictionary.com, the word of the year is misinformation, but Oxford English Dictionaries says that the word of the year is toxic. They are different, but both negative. The big question is, what do people feel the real word of the year is, and why were these two words chosen?


According to Dictionary.com, the official definition of misinformation is “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead.” With social media and the ability for anyone to say anything that they want, the ability for misinformation to be spread is so much easier. Dictionary.com said, “This year, Twitter cracked down on millions of accounts that did not represent real human users for spreading misinformation.” Creating an account on social media can take only five minutes, and you are able to say whatever you want under a different username, allowing false information to spread easier than ever before. This word also sparked in a political element, with President Trump’s election. “In early November, fact-checkers from the Washington Post shared their record of all the false or misleading claims President Trump has made since becoming president. As of the time of that report, the count was at 6,420, an average of about 10 false or misleading claims a day,” Dictionary.com said. The word misinformation could be a good word to describe 2018, but its reasons are very political, so it can be very one-sided.


According to Oxford Dictionaries the word toxic means poisonous or harmful. It stated “Our data shows that, along with a 45 percent rise in the number of times it has been looked up on oxforddictionaries.com, over the last year the word toxic has been used in an array of contexts, both in its literal and more metaphorical senses.” All the natural disasters that have occured like the California fires that occurred towards the end of the year, is also a reason for toxic definition. The website states that the word is due to the increase in the rates of pollution in 2018. It was also used in context of the workplace. “From overly demanding workloads to outright sexual harassment, many companies have been exposed as crucibles for such toxic culture this year…”

Then it was time to take it to the students of South Lyon High School to decide what they thought should be the 2018 word of the year. In a poll of 50 students, thought toxic was the word of the year with 39 votes. Junior Olivia Stafford said, “Toxic, definitely. This word perfectly describes 2018, with friendships and just everything about the year.” A lot of students agreed with this feeling of negativity towards the year of 2018 overall. Both words are not positive one to describe our year, so let us try and make 2019 a better year to have some happier word contenders.
Photo courtesy of Cross Armory

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