Usage of Collins' Word of the Year Jumped 11,000%

Dictionary chooses 'NFT' over 'metaverse'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2021 12:39 PM CST
Usage of Collins' Word of the Year Jumped 11,000%
This undated photo shows a digital collage titled "Everydays: The First 5,000 Days," by an artist named Beeple, which sold at auction for nearly $70 million in March.   (Christie's via AP)

We've moved on from "lockdown" to the year of the "NFT." Use of the abbreviation for "nonfungible token" jumped more than 11,000% this year, propelling it to the title of Collins Dictionary's word of the year, per the BBC. NFT—defined by Collins as "a unique digital certificate, registered in a blockchain, that is used to record ownership of an asset such as an artwork or a collectible"—beat out two other tech-related words in a year in which graphic designer Mike Winkelmann, aka Beeple, became one of the most valuable living artists with the $69.3 million sale of his digital collage of 5,000 artworks. It's the most valuable NFT to date, per the Guardian.

"NFTs seem to be everywhere, from the arts sections to the financial pages and in galleries and auction houses and across social media platforms," Collins Learning managing director Alex Beecroft says, per the Guardian. He adds "it's unusual for an abbreviation to experience such a meteoric rise in usage." "Crypto," a shortened form of the word "cryptocurrency" whose usage is up 468% year on year, and "metaverse," the term for a shared 3D virtual-reality world whose usage has increased 12-fold in the last year, also appear on the dictionary's top 10 list of words for the year.

Other words or terms making it into the top 10 are "cheugy," an adjective to describe something that's out of fashion or uncool; "climate anxiety," referring to a state of distress caused by concern about climate change; "neopronoun," meaning a pronoun that avoids gender distractions, such as "ze" and "ve"; and "Regencycore," a style of dress inspired by the Regency period of 1811-1820, as featured on Netflix's Bridgerton. The ongoing pandemic isn't forgotten, with "double-vaxxed," "hybrid working,” and "pingdemic" also appearing in the top 10. (Oxford Dictionary's word of the year is also pandemic-related.)

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