Oxford Dictionary has selected “toxic” as its Word of the Year for 2018. Every year, the Oxford Dictionary chooses one word that “is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.” Based on their research, in 2018, there was a 45% rise in the number of times the term “toxic” was searched on their site. Terms searched alongside toxic included “relationship,” “masculinity,” and “waste.”
The word “toxic” has negative connotations. It’s defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “poisonous” or “very bad, unpleasant or harmful.” It seems likely that the frequency with which these words have been searched for is indicative of today’s culture, which saw a flourishing of the #MeToo movement, accompanied by a huge rise in women speaking out about the “toxic” nature of the way in which females are treated, among other things.
But, it’s also indicative of what the culture is thinking about. People are thinking even more about “toxic waste” and “toxic relationships,” which could be viewed as a sign that positive change is on the horizon. If society is thinking about these issues more, it could lead to the type of action that might rid us of the “toxic” energy that so plagued 2018.
Top 10 “toxic” collocates in 2018