NFT, pingdemic and neopronoun named among top 10 words of 2021

25 November 2021, 13:34

Art consultant Alexander Pirinoli conducts a virtual tour of exhibits offered as Non-Fungible Tokens
ARTCEL blue-chip art portfolio launch. Picture: PA

The abbreviation for ‘non-fungible token’ is the Word Of The Year as Collins Dictionary experts created an annual list of new words.

“NFT” has been named Word Of The Year while “neopronoun”, “pingdemic” and “cheugy” also make an appearance on the list.

Collins Dictionary experts have created an annual list of new and notable words, crowning the abbreviation of “non-fungible token” as their Word Of The Year after seeing a more than 11,000% rise in usage in 2021.

NFT – the unique digital identifier that records ownership of a digital asset – has entered the mainstream this year as millions has been spent on the most sought-after images and videos.

Any digital creation, including a picture, a video, a piece of music or even a tweet, can become an NFT, with the most valuable selling for £50.3 million at a Christie’s auction in March.

A coronavirus NHS app notification
‘Pingdemic’ emerged when people using the NHS app were pinged to self-isolate (PA)

Describing the word, Alex Beecroft, from MD Collins Learning, said: “It’s unusual for an abbreviation to experience such a meteoric rise in usage, but the data we have from the Collins Corpus reflects the remarkable ascendancy of the NFT in 2021.

“NFTs seem to be everywhere, from the arts sections to the financial pages and in galleries and auction houses and across social media platforms. Whether the NFT will have a lasting influence is yet to be determined, but its sudden presence in conversations around the world makes it very clearly our Word Of The Year.

“Its unique technicolour collision of art, technology and commerce has broken through the Covid noise with dramatic effect.”

“NFT” is one of three tech-based words to make Collins’ list of 10 words of the year, as well as “crypto”, the short form of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, and “metaverse” describing a three-dimensional virtual world.

The 2020 Word Of The Year was “lockdown”, and the influence of the Covid-19 pandemic on the language remains strong as three related words make this years list.

“Pingdemic” emerged when people using the NHS app were pinged to self-isolate following contact with someone with a confirmed case of Covid-19.

“Hybrid working” denotes the mixture of commuting and working from home, which has become the norm, while “double-vaxxed” refers to anyone who has received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

This year the term “climate anxiety” has made the list, reflecting people’s growing concerns about climate change and the perceived lack of action to tackle it.

Similarly, conversations over gender and the representation of trans and non-binary people has led to a rise in usage of “neopronouns” which is another word on this year’s list.

A pair of new words complete this year’s list. “Regencycore” relates to the recent influence shows such as Bridgerton have had on fans and fashion, and “cheugy” is a slang term used to describe, and dismiss, anything seen as hopelessly uncool or unfashionable.

By Press Association

More Technology News

See more More Technology News

Elizabeth Denham

Outgoing Information Commissioner reflects on ‘big beast of a job’

A patient receives a Covid-19 vaccine booster

Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters

Social media apps

TikTok enhances safety policies around young people and online challenges

Apple iPhone 13

Apple to launch self-service repair scheme

The logo of mobile phone network EE is displayed on the screen of a smartphone

EE unveils gaming data monthly plans featuring Xbox consoles

Royal visit to Microsoft HQ

William visits Microsoft UK to learn how AI combats illegal wildlife trade

Huawei concerns

Government powers to strip Huawei equipment from 5G networks come into force

A child using a laptop computer

Peers back efforts to boost online age checks amid child safety fears

Oxford Street Stores Stock

Dyson launches virtual reality experience store

Sky stock

Six million Sky broadband routers had major security flaw

A picture of the Twitter, Instagram and Facebook icons

Prevent adults from direct messaging children, Ofcom tells social media firms

A Bitcoin symbol is presented on an LED screen during the closing ceremony of a congress for cryptocurrency investors in El Salvador

El Salvador to build cryptocurrency-fuelled Bitcoin City

End-to-end encryption has sparked fears of threatening children’s safety online (Peter Byrne/PA)

Facebook owner says encryption of all messaging services not until 2023

Electric vehicle charging points

Electric vehicle charging points: What are they and how do they work?

Amazon logo

Italian competition watchdog fines Apple and Amazon £170m

Ben Wood, founder of the Mobile Phone Museum

Mobile Phone Museum launches online