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2015’s Words of the Year say a lot about how society has changed

Collins English Dictionary has revealed the Words of the Year (identified as having become notably more visible in the last year) and they say a lot about the world in 2015.

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The publication chose “binge-watch” as its 2015 Word of the Year, after lexicographers noticed a 200 percent increase in its usage since 2014 (thanks Netflix).

It’s no secret that as a society we are much more driven by technology and consequently no surprise that binge-watching is something we find ourselves doing much more frequently (gone are the days of, say, throwing a ball outside).

“The rise in usage of ‘binge-watch’ is clearly linked to the biggest sea change in our viewing habits since the advent of the video recorder nearly 40 years ago,” said Helen Newstead, Head of Language Content at Collins.

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“It’s not uncommon for viewers to binge-watch a whole season of programmes such as House of Cards or Breaking Bad in just a couple of evenings — something that, in the past, would have taken months — then discuss their binge-watching on social media,” Newstead continued.

Other significant words in 2015 include “ghosting,” defined as “ending a relationship by ignoring all communication from the other person,” and “shaming” which means “attempting to embarrass a person or group by drawing attention to their perceived offence, especially on social media.”

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In recent years there’s been a massive change in the way we date — largely due to online dating apps like Tinder, OKCupid and Grindr — but as a society our reliance on social media has also led to an increase in bullying or “shaming.”

Other popular words of the year focus a lot on appearance with “clean eating” and “dadbod” (hello, Leonardo DiCaprio) making the list. The fact that these words are gaining traction with the public can only lead to one conclusion: social media and other online activity has a significant influence on our behavioural patterns and the language we use.

Below are 2015’s top words, reported by The Telegraph:

Binge-watch (verb): to watch a large number of television programmes (especially all the shows from one series) in succession.

Clean eating (noun): following a diet that contains only natural foods and is low in sugar, salt, and fat

Contactless (adjective): referring to payments, smart cards etc that utilise RFID (radio-frequency identity) technology and do not require a PIN or signature from the customer

Corbynomics (noun): the economic policies advocated by the U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Dadbod (noun): an untoned and slightly plump male physique, especially one considered attractive

Ghosting (noun): ending a relationship by ignoring all communication from the other person

Manspreading (noun): the act or an instance of a male passenger in a bus or train splaying his legs in a way that denies space to the passenger sitting next to him

Shaming (noun): attempting to embarrass a person or group by drawing attention to their perceived offence, especially on social media

Swipe (verb): to move a finger across a touchscreen on a mobile phone in order to approve (swipe right) or dismiss (swipe left) an image

Transgender (adjective): of or relating to a person whose gender identity does not fully correspond to the sex assigned to them at birth

If these words continue to be used on such a regular basis they may be added to the new edition of the Collins English Dictionary, due in 2018.

Are you surprised by the words that made the list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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