Oxford English Dictionary picks 'vax' as word of year

Oxford English Dictionary picks 'vax' as word of year
© Associated Press - Lynne Sladky

The Oxford English Dictionary has chosen the word "vax" as its 2021 word of the year.

In a statement, Oxford said the word was rarely used until this year and has become attached as an adjective or presented as a verb in many different words now used every day.

For instance, Oxford cites terms that have derived from the abbreviation "vax" of vaccine such as "vax-pass," "vax-card," "vax-site," "fully-vaxxed," "getting vaxxed" and "anti-vax."

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Oxford also justified its choice by noting how much more often discussions about vaccines occurred in 2021. 

"For the first time this year our report also examines how the language of vaccines has influenced languages other than English, looking at a selection of the most-spoken languages across the globe," the dictionary's editors wrote. 

Oxford did not choose a single word to represent the year in 2020, saying it was not a year that could "neatly be accommodated in one single 'word of the year.' ” 

According to The New York Times, 58 percent of U.S. residents of all ages are fully vaccinated. Almost 7 in 10 — 69 percent — of those aged 18 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the Times report, which is based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. 

According to the Times, about 50 percent of the world's population has gotten at least one shot.

Vaccines and particularly vaccine mandates remain a contentious issue in the United States as states have begun recently to sue the Biden administration over vaccine requirements and protests have erupted due to mandates and the use of vaccine passes.