Oxford Dictionaries has spoken and the word of the year is "youthquake." It's quite unexpected and not a lot of people are familiar with the term, but it does describe the immense influence of the youth in the past closing year and offers a hopeful view of the impending one.
Youthquake Of 2017
Many words have been spoken this 2017 in the form of trends, viral tweets, conspiracy theories, and undefinable words. As the year draws to a close, Oxford Dictionaries chose one word that wraps up the way the youth influenced the events of the past year in significant ways. No, it's not covfefe.
This year's Word of the Year is "youthquake," a terminology that not a lot of people are familiar with but whose average annual frequency in usage has increased significantly compared to previous years. It is defined as "a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people."
According to Oxford Dictionaries, the reason that they chose youthquake as the word of the year is that apart from the fivefold increase in frequency of its usage beginning with the UK's general election in June, it also describes the surge of influence and movement from young people in the political arena among others.
Where Did 'Youthquake' Come From?
Interestingly, youthquake isn't a new word. It was actually coined in post-war 1965 in a Vogue US editorial written by its editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland. In it, she described how the youth led changes in industries such as fashion and music, with more young people rejecting traditional values and creating new roads.
Although back in 1965 it largely described how the youth influenced the fashion and music industry, this year, it was reinvented to define the political awakening and awareness of a new generation, which began with how young voters largely affected the UK and New Zealand elections.
Bringing The Youthquake To 2018
The year is already close to ending but youthquake can still persist into 2018. With many feeling like they practically just survived 2017, the word brings to mind the hurdles that had to be jumped over but it also brings with it a hopeful message of how the youth of today would handle whatever 2018 may bring.
"At a time when our language is reflecting a deepening unrest and exhausted nerves, it is a rare political word that sounds a hopeful note." said Casper Grathwohl of Oxford Dictionaries, expressing his hope that the next generation could rebuild damaged institutions and continue to use their voices in the future.