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11.30 15 Dec 2017


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The 2017 Word of the Year has been revealed by the Oxford Dictionary - 'youthquake'.

It says the phrase has been judged 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."

The noun is defined as 'a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people'.

Data collated by the dictionary shows a fivefold increase in usage of youthquake in 2017 compared to 2016.

The word first struck in a big way in June with the UK's general election.

On April 18th, British Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election. After the public went to the polls on June 8th, headlines emerged of an unexpected insurgence of young voters.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-cards="hidden" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">&#39;Youthquake&#39; behind Labour election surge divides generations <a href="https://t.co/6OJ3opygHX">https://t.co/6OJ3opygHX</a></p>&mdash; The Guardian (@guardian) <a href="https://twitter.com/guardian/status/877075884389408768?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 20, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Despite higher engagement figures among the baby boomer generation and despite Labour ultimately ending up with fewer seats, many commentators claimed that 'It was the young wot won' it for Jeremy Corbyn - and dubbed their collective actions a 'youthquake'.

It was in September that the second, and largest, spike in usage of youthquake was recorded - in New Zealand.

Source: Oxford University Press

The word was used to discuss young people’s engagement in politics, and was rapidly picked up by politicians and the press alike during that country’s general election.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-cards="hidden" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Political Roundup: Is a &#39;youthquake&#39; looming, or not? <a href="https://t.co/xfEshe2dyS">https://t.co/xfEshe2dyS</a> <a href="https://t.co/OQKAK4W5z3">pic.twitter.com/OQKAK4W5z3</a></p>&mdash; nzherald (@nzherald) <a href="https://twitter.com/nzherald/status/910041577518706688?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 19, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Out of the plethora of words suggested and discussed, only nine made it to the final shortlist - before youthquake was crowned Word of the Year.

Here are the final eight:

Source: Oxford University Press

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