Today, the Collins English Dictionary released its top 10 words of the year – and ahead of all the competition, “Brexit” has been named the Word of the Year 2016, thanks to a “dramatic increase in usage.”
Brexit (ˈbrɛɡzɪt) noun: the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
One Word To Rule Them All
The first instance of the term is thought to have emerged in 2012, based on the word Grexit referencing Greece’s exit from the Eurozone. In the build-up to and the aftermath of the June referendum vote, the use of “Brexit” understandably skyrocketed, but to an excess that Collins suggests is “unheard of”, to 3,400%.
A More Important Contribution To The English Language Than “Watergate”
Helen Newstead, Collins’s head of language content, commented: “‘Brexit’ is arguably politics’ most important contribution to the English language in over 40 years since the Watergate scandal gave commentators and comedians the suffix ‘-gate’ to make any incident or scandal infinitely more compelling.” Take Marmitegate, for example. (We still think the 2012 Marmageddon crisis sounds altogether more dramatic!)
Evolutions Of The Term
It’s also inspired a host of related words, such as “brexiter” if you voted to leave, “bremain” to stay, and even “bremorse”, post-session depression, when the realisation set in for some. Newstead also points to “Bakexit”, referring to the BBC’s loss of The Great British Bake Off, “Mexit”, when footballer Lionel Messi’s retired, and “BrexPitt” or “Bradxit” when Brangelina split.
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