Brexit - 2016's word of the year

  | James Innes

With the UK government’s plans to leave the European Union without parliamentary approval suffering a major blow in the courts, Brexit, which ended the political career of David Cameron, divided a nation and split families, and has created a political storm which will reverberate for years, is once again headline news around the world. Fitting, just after Collins, the dictionary publisher has named Brexit the word of the year.

According to Collins, the usage of Brexit has increased 3,400% this year “an unheard of” rise.

The term  defined as the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union – has spawned a number of derivatives, such as “Bremain”, “Bremorse”, and “Nexit” (the departure of the Netherlands from the EU), as well as the more esoteric “BrexPitt” (the split of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt).

Brexit has topped this year’s list of new words and phrases, which also includes “Trumpism” – the policies advocated by US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump – and “Dude Food” – junk food such as burgers and hot dogs which particularly appeal to men.

Another phrase to gain traction this year is “mic drop”, a gesture through which somebody pretends to throw a microphone to the ground at the end of a speech or performance, Prince Harry being the most high profile practitioner this year in a short film that also featured the Queen and Michelle Obama.

Among the other words and phrases that have made the list are:

Sharenting – using social media to share news and pictures of your children;

Throwing Shade – publicly showing contempt or disdain for somebody in a subtle or non-verbal way;

Uberisation – the adoption of a business model – based on the Uber taxi concept – where services are offered on demand through direct contact between a supplier and customer, usually using mobile technology; and

Snowflake Generation – young adults of the 2010's who are regarded as less tough and readier to take offence than previous generations.


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