The word to sum up 2019 has been decided. (Well, it’s two words.)
Spurred on by society’s growing disquiet with reprehensible behaviour, the Macquarie Dictionary has crowned ‘cancel culture’ as its word of the year.
By the dictionary’s definition, cancel culture means: “the attitudes within a community which call for or bring about the withdrawal of support from a public figure, such as cancellation of an acting role, a ban on playing an artist’s music, removal from social media, etc., usually in response to an accusation of a socially unacceptable action or comment”.
Its origin and usage can be linked to the Me Too movement, which was 2018’s word of the year.
🚨 WORD OF THE YEAR 2019 🚨
Announcing the Macquarie Dictionary Committee's Choice Word of the Year as 🚫 CANCEL CULTURE 🚫! Find out why this word was chosen and our three Honourable Mentions and the rest of the shortlist on our website. https://t.co/aeGZyMEwfd pic.twitter.com/6xeyyfA6ms
— Macquarie Dictionary (@MacqDictionary) December 1, 2019
Death doesn’t excuse you from cancellation: The revealing Finding Neverland documentary about Michael Jackson had society questioning the King of Pop’s status in pop culture.
Every year, a group of about eight are tasked with the job of finding the word that perfectly encapsulates the culture of the previous 12 months.
“A term that captures an important aspect of the past year’s Zeitgeist … an attitude which is so pervasive that it now has a name, society’s cancel culture has become, for better or worse, a powerful force,” the committee said in a statement.
Runner-up words included eco-anxiety (a strong emotional reaction to climate change and the environment), thicc (a curvaceous figure), and coffice (a mix of cafe and office, where a worker sets up shop for the day and probably nurses a small flat white for several hours just to use the free wifi).
Literary lovers who have strong opinions on what words should get attention (and which shouldn’t) can throw their vote behind their favourite 2019 word, through the people’s choice awards.