Oxford English Dictionary Declares “Climate Emergency” Word of the Year 2019

The term “climate emergency” has been chosen as the Oxford word of the year 2019. The declaration of the term as Word of the Year clearly reflects the pressing global concerns about the changing climate and the catastrophic effects of this crisis.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines climate emergency as,

A situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.

Every year, the Oxford English Dictionary chooses a word or expression shown through usage evidence to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.

Oxford English Dictionary Declares “Climate Emergency” the Word of the Year for 2019

Climate emergency declared the Word of the Year 2019 by Oxford English Dictionary / Image: Earth Day Network

Climate Emergency as Word of the Year

As per the dictionary’s data, the usage of this term has increased a hundred-fold, precisely 10,796 percent over the last year. The numerous implications of this word not only mirror the rise in climate awareness but the choice of a language showing immediacy and urgency.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word climate has been central to 2019 overall, but the prominent use of the term climate emergency represents a new trend in the use of the word emergency. The word usually is used in a typical sense to reflect the acute situations at a personal level. This year, the word has been used to indicate an extension of emergency to the global level and became one of the most talked-about terms of 2019.

Also Read: Google Employees Demand Company for Strict Action Against Climate Change Deniers

The choice of this word over climate change, climate crisis, or global warming is more accurate as it shows the urgency to take stringent actions against changing climatic conditions that are bound to take the lives of millions.

Shift in the Language

Recently, there has been a radical shift in the language in which people talk about the environment and climate change. Last year, the young environmental activist Greta Thunberg inspired thousands of school children to demand stronger actions to combat climate change and asked people to act on the same as they would in an emergency.

Recently, over 11,000 scientists issued a warning in the journal BioScience, declaring that earth is facing a climate emergency.

Although climate emergency has been crowned as the word of the year, a few other terms such as climate action, climate crisis, climate denial, eco-anxiety, and ecocide were also shortlisted, which reflects the prominence of climate-related language in the year 2019.

Via: Oxford Dictionaries

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