Oxford University Press (OUP) is once again giving word lovers throughout the world the opportunity to take part in the selection of its annual Word of the Year campaign. A shortlist of words and phrases, all chosen to reflect the mood, ethos, or preoccupations of the year, will go head-to-head in a public vote.
The shortlist of eight words has been selected by the language experts at OUP. They have examined the 19-billion-word corpus of spoken and written language data for words or expressions that have seen a spike in usage or that have been recently added to the language (neologisms).
The eight words on the shortlist will be opened up to head-to-head voting by the public, with one winner emerging from each of those competitions, narrowing the field down to just four finalists. The experts will then perform one last detailed analysis of the corpus data, taking into account the votes and public commentary on the finalists, and name the definitive word of the year for 2023.
Last year, for the first time in its history, the Oxford Word of the Year was placed completely in the hands of the public, with English speakers worldwide given the chance to have their say. Almost 400,000 people took to social media to join the discussion, before Goblin Mode was crowned the winner with an overwhelming 93% of the overall vote.
Voting will be open from today across social media and the Oxford Languages website and run until 5pm GMT on Thursday 30th November 2023. The competing words are as follows:
- Swiftie vs. de-influencing
- beige flag vs. rizz
- situationship vs. parasocial
- heat dome vs. prompt
Speaking about this year’s approach, Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Languages, said:
“We were overwhelmed by the engagement, enthusiasm, and the sheer number of votes we received when we opened up last year’s Oxford Word of the Year to the public. Everyone has a role to play in how the English language evolves over time, which is why we wanted language lovers across the world to help us select the word that best reflected their experiences of 2022.
The world seems to be spinning faster than ever, the mood of 2023 bouncing from extremes from one moment to another. With this in mind we feel it’s important to maintain a strong element of public participation in our process. To hear from the speakers who’ve lifted these words into the public consciousness. This year represents a collaboration between the English-speaking public and OUP’s language experts, and we’re excited to explore the results together. All of the words and expressions on the shortlist reflect unique concerns, concepts, and preoccupations that we’ve all experienced this year, and we really hope that everyone enjoys being a part of this process once more.”
Votes open at 09:00 GMT on Monday 27th November 2023 across the Oxford Languages website, and OUP’s X, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts, and close at 17:00 GMT on Thursday 30th November 2023. The winner will be announced on Monday 4th December 2023.