Collins Language has announced the 2017 Word of the Year Shortlist, identifying ten words that emerged or came to prominence during the year. Here we trace the often obscure origins of the five words and show how they became prominent in news, politics, business and society.

Fake news

The word ‘fake’ was originally used as part of the slang spoken among criminals, who wanted to hide their activities from piercing ears. It originated as a verb, and it refers to making a fake or theoretical version of something, such as money or a document. The meaning of the word may eventually come from the Italian verb facciare, meaning ‘to make’, and it probably found its way into English as part of a kind of slang called polari, used among sailors in Mediterranean ports. Borrows the words made.

The association of ‘fake’ with ‘news’ began in the field of comedy, as exemplified by shows such as John Stewart’s The Daily Show and Chris Morris’s The Day Today, but around 2005 the term was coined on false news stories. Began to be implemented.

Were broadcast with malicious intent rather than satire. During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, pundits turned their attention to a large number of websites that spread false stories about candidates under the guise of news. Then in January 2017 Donald Trump dismissed reports from the CNN news agency about his alleged relations with Russia as ‘fake news’. Claims that potentially harmful stories were ‘fake news’, and inquiries into the spread of such stories were a major part of the news agenda in 2017.

Cuffing season

The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible tells us that ‘everything has a time’. The Collins Dictionary already identifies such events as ‘festive seasons’ and ‘silly seasons’, but in 2017 these well-established seasons were added to the English dictionary by the ‘cuffing season’, the period A rough name for when the weather gets cold, the nights are long, and unmarried people are long for a regular partner – at least until spring, when they can resume the life of an independent soul.

The significance of the word ‘cuffing’ in this expression is that the single person subjected himself to the metaphorical handcuffs of a one-sided relationship, rather than being handcuffed by an officer of the law like a criminal.

Echo room

Both the Brexit referendum and the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election were greeted with incredibility in a few quarters. The losers could not understand how their opponents clearly refused to be influenced by reasonable arguments, while the winners remained convinced of the veracity of their own cause.

Experts diagnosed that this condition was caused by many people living in an ‘echo chamber’, where they only hear the views of those who share and reinforce their opinions. This is even more possible when people create online communities that exclude any voices that challenge or threaten them.

The term ‘echo chamber’ basically refers to a room created by scientists to create echoes for use in sound recording or experiments. The idea of ​​an environment where you can hear your own voice over and over again has made it an ideal metaphor for the world of social media, where a lot of people only talk to people who agree with them. , Thus creating a distorted picture of what the world really is like.

Gig Economy

In July 2017, Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, delivered a speech at the ‘Gig Economy’ promising to support the growing number of workers, with the flexibility to work part-time and part-time at the expense of low job security. . And none of the employment benefits received by permanent members of the staff.

The expression ‘gig economy’ is based on the use of the word ‘gig’ to refer to a personal job. The term was first used by American jazz musicians to refer to solo bookings or engagements. (Jazz and rock concerts are still widely known as ‘gigs’.) The final origin of the word is disputed: it may come from a type of dance called ‘gig’, in which musicians play Will be booked for, or it may be that ‘gig’ refers to a cart on which black American musicians played in the early twentieth century because they would be arrested for vaginas if they played outdoors. Was at risk.


The word ‘unicorn’ is definitely not new. It first occurs in English in the thirteenth century, and comes from the Latin unicornis ‘one-horned’, a combination of the Latin words yunus (meaning ‘one’) and cornu (meaning ‘horn’).

What makes the ‘Unicorn’ rank among the Words of the Year of 2017 is the way the creature has been used as a branding tool this year, especially when done with glitter and pastel shades. Attempts to capitalize on the event include ‘Unicorn Toast’ (bread covered in cream cheese, psychedelic food coloring and jazz by hundreds and thousands), a ‘Unicorn Body Scrub’ and even.

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