Youthquake: Oxford′s word of the year honors millenials | News | DW | 15.12.2017
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Culture

Youthquake: Oxford's word of the year honors millenials

Citing popular youth political movements around the world, Oxford Dictionaries declared 2017 the year of the youthquake. Antifa, broflake and milkshake duck were just a few of the other shortlisted choices.

Oxford Dictionaries announced on Friday that "youthquake" was the Word of the Year for 2017. The publisher chose this now as "not only reflective of the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of this past year, but as having lasting potential as a word of cultural significance."

Read more:'Jamaika-Aus' is German word of the year

Youthquake, originally coined in 1965 by then-editor of Vogue Diana Vreeland, is defined as "a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people."

Vreeland was referencing how the baby boomers began to break away from the conformist values embraced by their parents throughout the 1950s.

According to Oxford's lexicographers, the word experienced a fivefold increase in usage from 2016 to 2017.

"Sometimes a Word of the Year is selected in recognition of its arrival, but other times it is a word that has been knocking at the proverbial door and waiting to be ushered in," Oxford said.

Citing the "unexpected insurgence of young voters" in Britain's June 2017 elections, as well as similar movements that saw 30-something leaders elected in New Zealand and France, Oxford wrote that youthquake is "firmly on its way to become a fixture of political discourse."

Antifa, broflake, milkshake duck

Other shortlisted words pointed to the influence of the millennial generation on the English language, such as "broflake" and "milkshake duck."

Broflake is a co-opted form of the term snowflake, used by the alt-right to malign progressives – but turned around to mock men on the far-right who are "readily upset or offended by progressive attitudes that conflict with his more conventional or conservative views."

Read more:'I bims' is German youth word of the year 2017

Milkshake duck refers to a popular internet phenomenon that is "soon revealed to have a distasteful or repugnant past," such as Ken Bone, a man who rose to popularity in the US for his sweet, normal demeanor during the tempestuous US presidential debates in 2016. Shortly after becoming America's sweetheart, users on Reddit discovered controversial posts about women and insurance fraud that soon saw Bone castigated on social media.

Another word on the shortlist that highlighted the role young people are playing on the world stage was Antifa, the name of a loose-knit far-left collective that emerged first in Germany in the aftermath of World War II. The group achieved renewed notice in 2017 for its opposition to the G20 summit in Hamburg and to the administration of US President Donald Trump and the white nationalists encouraged by the Trump presidency.

 

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