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In the turbulent times Oxford Dictionary picks 'youthquake' as the word of the year

Swapna Mohanty | Updated on: 16 December 2017, 17:15 IST

With the deepening political unrest across the globe and  rise in the influence of young people in selecting their leader, a new term has been coined called 'youthquake'. Would you believe its rampant use has even made it the word of the year by Oxford Dictionary.

Youthquake in Oxford Dictionary
Origin of the word
 
Despite its increased  present day use, the term was coined more than 50 years ago by the former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. She used this term in the 1960s to describe the transformation in fashion and music brought by the youth.
 
Why was the word chosen
 
The main reason behind the inclusion of this word is the twofold increase in the awareness among the youngsters and their power to influence and drive a political change. This was evident during the June 8, 2017 UK general elections when the youngsters described themselves as 'youthquake.' The votes of the millennials were responsible for Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn's surprisingly strong standing and the formation of the hung government.
 
 
UK general elections
What were the other words ?
 Many words made to the contest and one common factor among  them was, political turbulence and social change.
 
Antifa
 Just like the word 'youthquake' which had its origin in the 60s, Antifa also traces its roots to the 1920s and the 1930s. Antifas were the militant leftists involved in battles against American pro-Nazi organizations but weren't that active until Trump's victory.
The recent tragedy in Charlottesville is the biggest highlight of the Antifas, also known as the anti-fascist group where a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, was killed. Dozens were injured amidst violent clashes between the white supremacists and anti-fascists ahead of a rally protesting against the removal of the statue of a Confederate General in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Militant leftists involved in battles against American pro-Nazi organizations
Broflake
 A man who is upset or offended by attitudes that conflict with his conservative stance. They are overly sensitive or easily offended.
Broflake
Broflake Tweet
Broflake Tweet
Milkshakeduck
This term is mostly used for those who get fame instantly through social media. This is indeed a grim recognition and speaks of having a distasteful or repugnant past.
 
Milkshakeduck
Milkshakeduck
Milkshakeduck
Milkshakeduck

Its recent example is a 11-year-old Keaton Jones, a boy who hails from Tennessee. Featured in an emotional video that went viral, he was seen discussing his experience with bullies on Facebook. This video went viral, and caught the attention of many including politicians and celebrities. However, the fame did not last long and his mother was accused of racism, based on photos of her and her family posing with the Confederate flag.

Keaton Jones
Word of the year list

And mind you, the choice of 'youthquake' did not go well with some sections. Despite a major political and cultural impact in  2017, the winning word was treated with skepticism by some on social media.

"This is not a word that I have ever heard used. Anywhere. By Anyone. #Youthquake," tweeted Ruth Ibegbuna, CEO of a youth leadership and social change organization in the U.K as quoted by The New York Times.

"So, 'Youthquake' is Oxford English Dictionaries word of the year. Never heard it being said, no idea what it means...must have missed the memo on this one," wrote another baffled Twitter user. It is interesting to note that  "Youthquake" was the title of a 1985 album from British pop group Dead or Alive.

 
First published: 16 December 2017, 16:53 IST
 
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