**Brexit named word of the year, ahead of Trumpism and hygge
“Brexit” has emerged ahead of “Trumpism” and “hygge” to be named the word of the year by Collins after seeing an “unprecedented surge” in use.
The dictionary publisher said that Brexit saw its first recorded usage in 2013, but has since increased in use by more than 3,400% this year as the referendum approached in June, and as the ramifications have played out since. Such an increase, said Collins, is “unheard of” since it began monitoring word usage.
“‘Brexit’ is arguably politics’s most important contribution to the English language in over 40 years, since the Watergate scandal gave commentators and comedians the suffix ‘-gate’ to make any incident or scandal infinitely more compelling,” said Helen Newstead, Collins’s head of language content.**
According to Newstead, Brexit is “proving even more useful and adaptable” than Watergate. As well as its obvious definition as “the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union”, and its spawning of words including “bremain” and “bremorse”, the term has also inspired “a lot of wordplay”, said Collins. She pointed to “BrexPitt” or “Bradxit”, referring to the end of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s marriage, “Mexit”, for the footballer Lionel Messi’s retirement, and “Bakexit”, about the BBC’s loss of The Great British Bake Off. It was added to the current print edition of Collins Dictionary earlier this year.
Other contenders for Collins’s word of the year included Trumpism. “Trump is not the first politician to have had his name co-opted by language: ‘Thatcherism’ and ‘Reaganomics’, for example,” said Newstead. “However, the longevity of ‘Trumpism’ as a word may depend on his success in the forthcoming election.”