Washington, 8 November 2019 (dpa/MIA) – With a nod to Swedish teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg, Collins dictionary on Thursday made “climate strike” its word of the year for 2019.
Collins said climate strike, which it defines as a protest in which people skip work or school to demand action to counter climate change, took off just over one year ago and grew along with the 16-year-old Thunberg’s celebrity.
“‘Climate strike’ was first registered in November 2015 when the first event to be so named took place to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris,” the British dictionary said on its website.
In the last year climate strikes have become a frequent reality in many of the world’s largest cities, it said. Collins’ lexicographers observed a one-hundredfold increase in its usage in 2019.
Thunberg began a “school strike” in August 2018 outside the Swedish parliament, inspiring a youth-led movement that has staged climate strikes worldwide under the slogan Fridays for Future.
The dictionary said its shortlist for word of the year included rewilding, defined as the act of returning areas of land to a wild state, which some people see as a response to climate change.
Other words that made the short list are BoPo, short for body positive, and nonbinary, which Collins defines as “relating to a gender or sexual identity that does not belong to the binary categories of male or female, heterosexual or homosexual.”
The word influencer also made the short list. Collins defines it as a description for people who use digital platforms to promote products.