Binge-watch, dadbod and Corbynomics - Collins announces its "words of the year"

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05 November 2015
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imports_WRI_20549953806-648f9f88d2-o-16588_46099.jpg Binge-watch, dadbod and Corbynomics - Collins announces its "words of the year"
Think you know what "ghosting", "manspreading" and "shaming" mean? New usage and neologisms from Collins ...
In what is fast becoming an annual celebration of words you may well have forgotten within a decade, Collins has announced its words of the year. Some are entirely new, some are applying new usage on existing words and some are long-standing definitions given new life after social changes or trends.

It's been around a few years and doesn't look likely to fade fast, but binge-watch is the Collins word of 2015, after researchers noticed a dramatic increase in its usage, particularly on social media. At the other end of the scale, Corbynomics comes in at number 4, coined less than two months ago and so specific in its usage it seems destined to go the way of "chunnel" and "bedroom tax". In between are a selection of not entirely appealing phrases that will live or die on being used popularly... are there any you'll be slipping into your next work, or will they just confuse future readers? Let us know in the comments.

Collins Dictionary's words of 2015

1 Binge-watch - meaning to watch a large number of TV programmes, usually from a single show, in succession. Unheard of a decade ago, when viewers would have to wait a week between episodes of their favourite shows, but now a widespread activity thanks to streaming services like Netflix and automated recorders like Tivo or DVR boxes. Likely to remain a familiar concept at least until a new technology changes our viewing practices once more.

2 Clean eating - an easily decipherable phrase reflecting recent healthy eating trends for diets containing only natural foods. Could stand the test of time, but is it different from "healthy eating"?

3 Contactless - in a specific sense of payment, meaning to utilise radio chips in close proximity to make payments without needing a pin or signature (as with an Oyster card and many high street chain card machines). The technology, and therefore the term, has been around for several years but owes its place on the list this year to the introduction of Apple's new Apple Pay initiative.

4 Corbynomics - the most epochal of all, pertaining to the economic policies of new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, but could anyone actually use it outside of Newsnight?

5 Dadbod - a concept we are entirely unfamiliar with in the WM office, dadbod is the untoned, expanding physique of early middle age, especially when – as certain gossip mags have decided this year, "justifying" its position on this list – it is seen as attractive. ATTN MEN: do not attempt to create jokey camaraderie: mumbod is unlikely to win you any friends.

6 Ghosting - to ghost has long been a verb, with a very precise meaning close to our hearts, meaning to write on behalf of someone else. In 2015, however, it apparently means ending a relationship by simply ending all communication, going, if you will, contactless. Maybe the kids are doing it? Makes for an awkward life once you're past the initial dating phase and your partner actually knows where you live.

7 Manspreading - a long-standing gripe of commuters and fellow passengers everywhere, now there's a word for the act of sitting, as alpha males are wont to do, with legs widely apart when it would be more considerate to occupy a smaller personal space (see picture)

8 Shaming - Not a new one, obviously, and without a new nuance of meaning, but shaming has been a vogue-ish concept in 2015, usually hyphen-tacked onto whatever the shamer is accusing the shamed of (eg body-shaming, slut-shaming). Interestingly though, this usage is most widespread at one step removed – eg journalist calls out other journalist body-shaming a celebrity – and is therefore guilty of shaming-shaming.

9 Swipe - No new meaning, but a new application. Or app at least. Swipe in its shiny modern context, pertains specifically to mobile phone dating apps such as Tinder. Swiping right on an image implies approval of a suggested mate; swiping left rejects them. Brutal but efficient, the concept is spreading among teens and twenty-somethings (and no doubt other users, but not us!) as an oral shorthand, much as "like" (sometimes with a thumbs-up motion) is popular among those of us who are proud of getting to grips with Facebook.

10 Transgender - Around for decades, no new meaning. Collins detects an increased usage but we suspect they might provoke the wrath of some very vocal communities by labelling transgender a mere "word of the year".

So what do you think? Swipe left or swipe right? Let us know what you think and whether you'll be using (or use) any of these terms.

Picture, Richard Yeh / WNYC, Creative Commons, via Flickr
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