Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Brexit
3 November 2016

Brexit beats Trumpism and Hygge to be named word of the year

The term is described as politics's most important contribution to language for the past 40 years.

By media mole

It’s a word that some of us dreaded, and most of us are now sick of hearing, but Brexit today was named Collins’s word of the year. Ironically, this announcement was made just as the government lost its legal battle to trigger Article 50 without parliamentary permission. Your mole can report that this political hybrid which caused the downfall of a prime minister, divided the country and spawned a spate of divisive spin-offs from “Bremorse” to “Bremainer”, saw an upsurge in usage of 3,400 per cent in the past 12 months. Collins said such an increase was “unprecedented” since it started tracking word usage.

The term first appeared in 2013, around the time that David Cameron first promised a vote on Britain’s membership of the EU, and is defined by Collins, as meaning “the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU”. The mole has to fight the urge to beat a speedy retreat back into the burrow at the prospect, but hey, ho. Maybe now there is a glimmer of hope.

At least headline writers are happy. Brexit has furnished them with endless worldplay potential around splits and romantic separations — the break-up of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s marriage became “BrexPitt’ or “Bradxit”, while the BBC’s loss of the Great British Bake Off will be forever known as “Bakexit”.

Brexit topped the word of the year list ahead of such strong contenders as “Trumpism”, the policies advocated by the US presidential candidate, Hygge the Danish concept of cosiness, and “snowflake generation” which it defines as “the young adults of the 2010s, viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations”.

The full list of the top ten words of the year will appear in Collinsdictionary.com. The mole is particularly glad that it was never subjected to “sharenting” — having childhood pictures splashed across social media — and hopes humans might now think twice before creating a digital archive of their child’s early life before it has a chance to advocate for quality control

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

It’s time for your mole to head back undergroud to indluge in more Brexit banter and speculate on what puns the newspapers might wheel out to mark the latest twist in this political tale.

Below are the top ten words of the year for you all to enjoy and their definitions according to Collins.

Brexit: the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union

Dude food: junk food such as hot dogs, burgers, etc considered particularly appealing to me

Hygge: a concept, originating in Denmark, of creating cosy and convivial atmospheres that promote wellbeing

JOMO: joy of missing out: pleasure gained from enjoying one’s current activities without worrying that other people are having more fun

Mic drop: a theatrical gesture in which a person drops (or imitates the action of dropping) a hand-held microphone to the ground as the finale to a speech or performance

Sharenting: the habitual use of social media to share news, images, etc of one’s children

Snowflake generation: the young adults of the 2010s, viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations

Throw shade: to make a public show of contempt for someone or something, often in a subtle or non-verbal manner

Trumpism: (1) the policies advocated by the US politician Donald Trump, especially those involving a rejection of the current political establishment and the vigorous pursuit of American national interests (2) a controversial or outrageous statement attributed to Donald Trump

Uberization: the adoption of a business model in which services are offered on demand through direct contact between a customer and supplier, usually via mobile technology