Students React to Dictionaries’ Words of the Year

The publication of dictionaries' words of the year causes students to contemplate 2018 and the year's events.


Katharine Walker, Editor-in-Chief

     It’s that time of the year! Along with Christmas and other holidays, the winter season brings in a time of reflection. The carefully selected words of the year that notable dictionaries choose demonstrates this yearly contemplation to sum up events and ideologies.

     Oxford’s word of the year for 2018 is “toxic” which, besides being a popular Britney Spears song, is a word that defines as poisonous, referring to recent scandals, such as the discovery of Facebook harvesting user data.’s chosen word of the year is “misinformation” as a stab against the publishment of fake news.

     “The year 2018 has been very long,” junior Alex Hines said. “It seems like things have really dragged on. Like, everyday there seems to be a new headline that everyone is freaking out about, so I think these words somewhat describe the year. I mean, it’s really hard to sum up an entire year with one word.”

     The fact that dictionaries put  a lot of time into picking a word to represent the year, brings into question particularly newsworthy (or non-newsworthy) events that have caused reactions among people nationally or even world-wide.

     “When I see the word ‘misinformation,’ I think of logical fallacies or people skewing information to their own agenda,” Hines said. “People definitely use their roles to appeal to a specific audience and their views rather than being objective.”

     The words chosen by the dictionaries can mean different things to different people; it all depends on one’s outlook. Tyler Patrick views the word “toxic” as either poisoning or just irritating. Regardless of this viewpoint, he thinks that this word was overused this year.

     “I feel like the whole migrant caravan thing and the Beto versus Cruz campaign has triggered a lot of people,” senior Tyler Patrick said. “This definitely fits into the word ‘toxic’ because of how people have reacted to it and how the media has ‘misinformed’ viewers based on their own political agendas.”

     Another factor that went into deciding the year’s words are political aspects that occurred during 2018. Senior Jacob Willis believes that, “Trump’s influence had input into the dictionaries choosing the words ‘toxic’ and ‘misinformation.’”

     “I think that it is the people’s conflicting views on Trump as president that have caused conflict in this year,” Hines said. “People can’t agree or tolerate his actions, and this has gained the attention of the media all throughout 2018.”

     While dictionaries’ choices of words don’t agree with all audiences, it symbolizes reflection of the year and years to come.

     “The word I would have chosen is ‘disillusionment,’” Hines said. “This is because people can’t find themselves in society. Everyone bases their ideas off others or an organization instead of forming their own. However, I don’t really believe one word can sum up an entire year. The year hasn’t all been negative. There has been positive elements too that have been forgotten.”