Chernobyl, Holocaust, AIDS. What was the main word of the year in the past

The American Dialect Society has chosen the main word of 2022. This is the suffix -ussy, derived from the word pussy ("pussy", more often figuratively - female genital organ). The formation of new words from this help (for example, calzone - pizzussy, bottle of wine - winussy) has become a slang trend of the past year. The phrase Slava Ukraini had a chance to become the word of the year from ADS - it was shortlisted along with three other contenders. In addition, among the euphemisms of the year recognized by the American Dialectological Society is "special military operation" (this is how Russian authorities and propaganda refer to the war in Ukraine). Today, there are dozens of organizations and dictionaries in the world that choose the word of the year for different languages. Such words are vivid illustrations of historical events, moods and trends that were relevant at that time. WAS decided to recall which words became the main ones for the past years.

The Friend of the German Language was the first (or one of the first) to define the word of the year. In 1972, it was done once – then the choice stopped at aufmüpfig (rebellious, disobedient) – this is how the press characterized the youth protest environment, in particular the West German student movement. Since 1977, the tradition has become regular.

1979: Holocaust (Holocaust). The American miniseries of the same name then increased public interest in this Nazi crime.

1981: Nulllösung (Null Option). This was the name given to US President Ronald Reagan’s proposal to withdraw all Soviet and American medium-range nuclear missiles from Europe.

1986: Tschernobyl (Chernobyl). For many years this toponym became the most famous word associated with Ukraine.

1987: AIDS, Kondom (AIDS, condom). The epidemic of a new terrible disease forces a new look at the problem of safe sex.

1989: Reisefreiheit (freedom of movement). -chekpojntu-charli/”>Berlin Wall – and East Germans got this same freedom.

1990: Die neuen Bundesländer (new German lands). Germany united, the former GDR became the new regions of FRG.

1999: Millennium (Millennium).

2005: Bundeskanzlerin (Federal Chancellor). Angela Merkel just took office.

2015: Flüchtlinge (refugees). The war in Syria provoked a huge wave of refugees, a large part of which remained in Germany.

2021: Wellenbrecher (wave breaker). Government measures to prevent new waves of the coronavirus.

Among the words of the year in the English language, the most interesting from the point of view of history is the choice of the already mentioned American Dialectological Society, since it has been doing this for more than 30 years.

1991: mother of all. This is a reference to Saddam Hussein, who pathetically called the Persian Gulf War of 1991 “the mother of all battles.” We will remind, the dictator suffered a crushing defeat in that war, but called on Iraqis to rejoice in victory.

1995: web (network). It is about the rapid development of the Internet.

1997: Millennium bug. Many computers and other electronic devices in the 20th century were configured at the time of manufacture so that the first digits of dates in programs were by default ” 19″. They could not automatically switch correctly from 1999 to 2000, which could create a lot of problems for work. Governments of various states had to spend efforts on restructuring.

2001: 9-11. Terror attacks on September 11.

2002: weapons of mass destruction (weapons of mass destruction). The possible presence of them in the hands of the dictator Saddam Hussein became the reason for the invasion of Iraq by the international coalition .

2003: metrosexual (metrosexual). Here we cannot fail to mention our issue on the history of male beauty.

2009: tweet. Social networks, in particular Twitter, play an increasingly important role in people’s lives.

2011: occupy. The Occupy Wall Street action in New York launched similar protest movements around the world.

2014: #blacklivesmatter(#життячорнихмаютныхный). Hashtag used by participants of protests against racial violence in the USA. The reason was the killing of African Americans by the police.

2017: fake news. The expression gained popularity due to its regular use by Donald Trump during the presidential campaign.

2020: Covid. The largest pandemic of our time.

In addition, the American Dialect Society chose the words decade, century and millennium. For the 1990s it is web (network), for the 2000s – “Googles”, for the 2010s – Singular they (they as a singular form; in in English, this word is used as a gender-neutral pronoun). The word of the 20th century was recognized as “jazz”, and the word of the 2nd millennium was “she”.