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Unwort des Jahres

The designation of "Unwort des Jahres," was initiated in Germany in 1991 to draw attention to questionable use of language in the public and the media.

Literally meaning "non-word of the year," the "Unwort des Jahres" is meant to bring to light the media's use of language and to advance awareness of words which violate human dignity and the principles of democracy or lead to discrimination. The annual prize remained under the aegis of the Society for German Language until 1994, when its jury declared its independence. Anyone may propose a word, and the jury makes the final decision. Past words have included "Gutmensch," which ironically describes those eager to improve their own appearance by helping refugees, and "Sozialtourismus," which was used to stir up disapproval of refugees, particularly from Eastern Europe.