Dictionary compilers reveal the words that define 2022

Permacrisis and partygate… what a year! Dictionary compilers reveal the words that define 2022

  • Harper Collins have decided ‘permacrisis’ is the word that has summed up 2022
  • They define permacrisis as ‘an extended period of instability and insecurity’ 
  • Other words that made the list included ‘partygate’ as well as ‘sportswashing’

With war in Europe, raging inflation and three prime ministers in quick succession, 2022 has been a hard year to sum up.

But if the editors at Harper Collins have their way the answer lies with the word ‘permacrisis’.

It is one of a series of additions to the Collins Corpus database, which contains 4.5billion entries and is the basis for the publisher’s dictionaries.

They define permacrisis as ‘an extended period of instability and insecurity’. 

Harper Collins are trying to decide on the word that has defined 2022. The publisher is hoping to go with ‘permacrisis’ meaning ‘an extended period of instability and insecurity’. ‘Partygate’ was also a popular word – referring to the lockdown gatherings at Downing Street during Boris Johnson’s (pictured) government 

Other words that make this year’s cut include ‘partygate’, for the scandal over lockdown gatherings at Downing Street and ‘sportswashing’, a term for how organisations or countries use sports to enhance their reputations and distract from controversy.

Also on the list is ‘warm bank’, a public building used by those unable to heat their own home and ‘Carolean’, the name given to the reign of King Charles III. ‘Kyiv’, the capital city’s Ukrainian spelling, also features.

The Managing Director for Collins Learning, Alex Beecroft, said: ‘Language can be a mirror to what is going on in society and the wider world and this year has thrown up challenge after challenge.

‘It is understandable that people may feel, after living through upheaval caused by Brexit, the pandemic, severe weather, the war in Ukraine, political instability, the energy squeeze, and the cost-of-living crisis, that we are living in an ongoing state of uncertainty and worry; ‘permacrisis’ sums up quite succinctly just how truly awful 2022 has been for many people.’

He added: ‘Our list this year reflects the state of the world right now. Not much good news, although, with the determination of the Ukrainian people reflected by the inclusion of ‘Kyiv’, and the dawn of the new ‘Carolean’ age in the UK, there are rays of hope.’

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