‘Single-use’ – Collins’ Word of the Year 2018

‘Single-use’ – Collins’ Word of the Year 2018

Reflecting the increasing global awareness in environmental issues, the Collins Dictionary has named “single-use” as its ‘Word of the Year 2018’ (WOTY)


According to Collins, ‘Single-use,’ an adjective, refers to products – often plastic – that are ‘made to be used once only’ before disposal.


The term refers to products that are often made of plastic and have been made to use just once, only to be thrown away after, rendering them unsustainable and harmful to the planet, informed a posting on the collinsdictionary.com.


The unchecked proliferations of these items are blamed for damaging the environment and affecting the food chain, it said.


“Images of plastic adrift in the most distant oceans, such as straws, bottles, and bags have led to a global campaign to reduce their use,” it posted on its website.


The word has seen a four-fold increase since 2013, with news stories and images such as those seen in the BBC’s Blue Planet II steeply raising public awareness of the issue, it added.


In a blog, Collins’ Rachel Quin informed that the lexicographers monitor the 4.5 billion-word Collins Corpus and create the annual list of new and notable words that reflect an ever-evolving “culture and the preoccupations of those who use it.”


This year, environmental issues rise to the top with words such as ‘single-use’ and ‘plogging’, accompanied by political movements, dance trends and technology.


It encompasses a global movement to kick human’s addiction to disposable products – from plastic bags, bottles and straws to washable nappies, she noted.


As per the blog description, ‘Single’ first appears in the 14th-century, primarily used to describe an unmarried person, deriving from the Old French ‘sengle’, meaning alone or unadorned. This itself come from the more forgiving Latin ‘singulus’; one, individual or separate. It began to appear as a combining form in the late 14th-century, forming part of many words such as single-handed and, later on, single-use.


Use is somewhat older, first noted in the 1200s, and also deriving from Old French ‘user’ meaning to employ, make use of, or consume. Naturally, single and use came together to describe disposable items, made to be used one time and one time only.


CollinsWOTY2018 Shortlist

Backstop (Noun)
A system that will come into effect if no other arrangement is made


Floss (Noun)
A dance in which people twist their hips in one direction while swinging their arms in the opposite direction with the fists closed


Gammon (Noun)
A person, typically male, middle-aged, and white, with reactionary views, especially one who supports the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union


Gaslight (Verb)
To attempt to manipulate (a person) by continually presenting them with false information until they doubt their sanity


MeToo (Adjective)
Denoting a cultural movement that seeks to expose and eradicate predatory sexual behaviour, especially in the workplace


Plogging (Noun)
A recreational activity, originating in Sweden, that combines jogging with picking up litter


VAR (Abbreviation)
Video Assistant Referee


Vegan (Noun)
A person who refrains from using any animal product whatever for food, clothing, or any other purpose


Whitewash (Verb)
To cast a white actor in the role of (a character from a minority ethnic group) or to produce (a film or play) using white actors to play characters from a minority ethnic group.


Morung Express Feature
(Compiled from www.collinsdictionary.com © Collins 2018)