How the Mail helped to coin the word of the year
It has become one of this year’s most discussed topics, largely thanks to the success of Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II documentary and a Daily Mail campaign.
And while single-use plastics might be banned in europe soon, the term has achieved a certain level of popularity after being named Collins Dictionary 2018 Word of the year.
‘Single-use’ refers to products such as plastic bottles, straws and bags that are designed to be used only once before disposal and can take centuries to fully degrade. they have been blamed for polluting the world’s oceans and waterways, as highlighted in the second series of Sir David’s BBC documentary and in the Daily Mail’s turn the tide On Plastic campaign.
Due to greater awareness, the term ‘single-use’ has seen a four-fold increase since 2013. Last month, the european Parliament overwhelmingly backed a new directive to slash the use of single-use plastics, with a view to banning the use of such straws, plates and cutlery by 2021.
Other terms that made the annual list of new and notable words include ‘plogging’, a Scandinavian fitness craze of running while picking up litter, and ‘floss’, the playground dance craze. the use of the word ‘vegan’ has also increased in the past year, as the diet becomes more mainstream, while ‘Me too’ made the list thanks to its use as a twitter hashtag relating to campaigns against sexual harassment.
And there has been no shortage of words used relating to Brexit, so ‘backstop’ – a system that will come into effect if no other arrangement is made – is also on the list.
Helen Newstead, head of language content at Collins, said: ‘this has been a year where awareness and often anger over a variety of issues has led to the rise of new words and the revitalisation and adaptation of old ones. It’s clear from our Words of the year list that changes to our language are dictated as much by public concern as they are by sport, politics and playground fads.’