The usage of vax, a word which was first recorded in English in 1799 and is derived from the Latin word vacca, has increased 72 times more than last year
‘Vax’ has been chosen by lexicographers at the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as the word of the year. Due to the global pandemic, words related to vax such as double-vaxxed or fully-vaxxed have been used frequently since last year. The word’s usage has increased 72 times more than last year.
The senior editor of Oxford English Dictionary, Fiona McPherson said that the word vax has made a striking impact by being in use this year, and hence it was an obvious choice.
The word vax also formed several other words such as ‘vaxinista’ and ‘vaxxie’. Hence, vax became the word that was mostly used.
According to OED, the noun vax means a vaccine or a vaccination, while the verb vax refers to treating someone with a vaccine in order to produce immunity against a disease.
Oxford chose this word from a list of several other words used this year which includes, lockdown, , Black Lives Matter, Work from Home, bushfires and furlough.
The President of Oxford languages, Casper Grathwohl, said that there was a dramatic spike in the usage of the word vax as it was used everywhere, from dating apps to academic calendars to bureaucratic operations.
Vax as a word was first recorded in English in 1799. The other words such as vaccine and vaccination came in 1800.
The word vacca, however, originated from Latin, meaning cow. It emerged in the era of smallpox, in the 1790s when scientist Edward Jenner had discovered that cowpox could be used as a vaccine against smallpox.
Dr Mercedes Durham, a reader in sociolinguistics at Cardiff University, stated that the word vax was extremely adaptable and had a meme quality to it as a prefix and suffix could be added to vax in order to form new words that were relevant in the COVID era. If one adds ‘anti’ or ‘double’ to the word vax, it can form new words and mean different things.
She said that most people have thought about vaccines this year more than anything and social media has also impacted the usage of this word.
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