Story at a glance
- This year’s word of the year is “NFT,” Collins Dictionary said Wednesday.
- Usage of “NFT” exploded this year, along with the actual popularity of the concept.
- Other tech-based words such as “metaverse” and “crypto” were also shortlisted.
The abbreviation of non-fungible token, “NFT,” is Collins Dictionary’s 2021 word of the year, recognizing the intensity with which the financial, digital and art worlds collided this year.
“NFT” beat out other popular words like “cheugy” and “double-vaxxed” for the coveted number one spot, Collins said Wednesday in a blog post. It's also one of three tech-related words to make Collins’ top-ten list this year.
Usage of “NFT” exploded in 2021, up 11,000 percent from a year ago, the Guardian reported.
That’s not entirely surprising when looking back on 2021, with the trading volume of NFTs spiking in the third quarter of the year to $10.67 billion.
The most expensive NFT ever sold at auction was purchased for $69 million in March of this year. The piece, the surrealist digital artist Beeple’s “Everydays: the First 5000 Days,” is a collage of every single image he’s created since pledging to make one daily in 2007.
Collins defines “NFT” as a “unique digital certificate, registered in a blockchain, that is used to record ownership of an asset such as an artwork or a collectible,” meaning it's not replaceable by any other piece of data.
Popularity of “NFT” overtook that of two other tech-based words: “metaverse,” described by Collins as a digital future including virtual and augmented reality, and “crypto,” the shortened version of “cryptocurrency.”
Pandemic-related words were also used frequently this year, according to Collins, with “double-vaxxed,” referring to those who have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and “hybrid working” also making the top ten.
The climate crisis also weighed heavily on word choice this year, earning “climate anxiety” a spot on the top-ten list as well.
Words like “cheugy,” used to something describe out-of-date or embarrassing, and “neopronoun,” or a way to refer to someone using gender-neutral pronouns like “xe” or “ze,” were popular word choices this year.
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