In a sign of the times, ‘toxic’ is named word of the year

According to the Oxford dictionary, toxic is the word of the year.

Used in the English language since the 17th century, the medieval term was borrowed from the Latin word toxicum meaning “poison”. The Latin word was borrowed from the Greek toxikon pharmakon, a lethal poison used by ancient Greeks.

The word of the year is a word or expression that reflects the mood and ethos of the times. The editors say toxic became a dominant descriptor for the biggest topics in 2018. There was a 45% rise in the number of times the word was searched on in the past year. 

In 2018, the word was frequently searched in conjunction with:

1. Chemicals
2. Masculinity
3. Substance
4. Gas 
5. Environment
6. Relationship 
7. Culture 
8. Waste 
9. Algae
10. Air

All these words are a reflection of some of the biggest topics in 2018 including climate change and patriarchy.

According to Oxford, “toxic masculinity” was used in relation to the #MeTooMovement and related conversations around gender-based issues. Toxic gas, substance and waste have been used in relation to the US seeking to combat toxic waste in the wake of hurricanes.

Here are five “toxic” headlines in 2018:    

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