NFT, vax, perseverance, strollout, vaccine

NFT IconWhat do these words have in common? They are the English words of the year 2021, as chosen by lexicographers and users of various eminent anglosphere dictionaries.


NFT is the Collins Dictionary word of the year 2021. NFT, the abbreviation of non-fungible token, is “a digital certificate of ownership of a unique asset, such as an artwork or a collectible”. An NFT is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, which can be sold and traded (according to Wikipedia). Is that clear?

The other items on the Collins shortlist were climate anxiety, double vaxxed, metaverse, pingdemic, cheugy, crypto, hybrid working, neopronoun, Regencycore. Here is more about the Collins shortlist.


Vax is the Oxford Languages word of the year 2021, based largely on the number of searches for this item during the year and its generative role in the creation of many compound neologisms, such as double-vaxxed.


The Cambridge Dictionary word of the year is perseverance, chosen by the dictionary team of specialists. Perseverance is the name of the vehicle that NASA landed on Mars last February and also refers to an attitude to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Merriam-Webster chose vaccine as their word of the year, based in large part on a sustained increase in online consultations about this word. The dictionary expanded its definition in response to this heightened interest.


Australia often chooses words with a unique Aussie flavour and 2021 has been no different. The same word of the year was chosen by both main lexicography groups (Macquarie and the Australian National Dictionary Centre). Strollout, which was also chosen in a public vote, refers ironically to the slow pace of vaccine rollout by the Australian government.

Spanish word of the year 2021

Over recent years the Fundación del Español Urgente (Fundéu) has chosen a palabra del año. Their verdict for 2021 has yet to be announced.

Catalan word of the year 2021

The Observatori de Neologia de la Universitat Pompeu Fabra and the Institut d’Estudis Catalans have set up a vote to choose the Catalan neologism of the year. You can vote online for your choice from a shortlist of ten words till 19th December:

  • ANTIVACUNES m. i f. i adj. Persona que està en contra de les vacunes perquè en qüestiona l’efectivitat o considera que poden ser perjudicials per a la salut.
  • CISGÈNERE m. i f. i adj. Persona en què la identitat de gènere que sent com a pròpia coincideix amb la que se li ha assignat en néixer.
  • CRONIFICAR v. tr. Fer esdevenir crònica alguna cosa, especialment una malaltia.
  • DISFÒBIA f. Aversió envers una persona discapacitada.
  • DISTÒPIC -A adj. Relatiu a una societat futura imaginària organitzada d’una manera opressiva o totalitària.
  • EDATISME m. Actitud discriminatòria envers una persona per la seva edat, especialment en el cas de persones d’edat avançada.
  • MONODOSI f. Dosi continguda en un medicament envasat individualment, destinada a prendre’s d’una sola vegada.
  • NEGACIONISME m. Actitud que consisteix en la negació sistemàtica i irracional de fets històrics demostrats o de teories que tenen l’aval d’un consens científic unànime o pràcticament unànime.
  • PODCAST m. Fitxer de ràdio, de so o de vídeo destinat a la difusió per Internet.
  • PRESENCIALITAT f. Estat de l’activitat o de la persona que és present en un lloc determinat.
Richard Samson

About Richard Samson

I’m a teacher living in Osona, Spain. I'm into tennis, dogs, and chickens. I’m also interested in translation and Moodle (well, digital tools for teaching, in general).
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