‘NFT’ named 2021’s Word of the Year by Collins Dictionary

The abbreviation for ‘non-fungible token’ beats the likes of ‘neopronoun’ and ‘pingdemic’ by topping the shortlist.

Collins Dictionary have revealed their annual standings for new and notable words, crowning ‘NFT’ as their Word of the Year for 2021.

An abbreviation for ‘non-fungible token’, the word refers to an identifier that records the ownership of a digital asset and has gained mass mainstream popularity over the calendar year.

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The digital asset can be anything from a picture, a video, and even a tweet.

The word has received 11,000% more usage in 2021 after jaw-dropping stories of people selling their digitised goods for millions of pounds - the most expensive being £50.3 million at a Christie’s auction in March.

The word of the year for 2020 was ‘lockdown’ as the influence of the recent coronavirus pandemic on language continues.

Alex Beecroft from MD Collins Learning described the word and said: “It’s unusual for an abbreviation to experience such a meteoric rise in usage, but the data we have from the Collins Corpus reflects the remarkable ascendancy of the NFT in 2021.

“NFTs seem to be everywhere, from the arts sections to the financial pages and in galleries and auction houses and across social media platforms.

“Whether the NFT will have a lasting influence is yet to be determined, but its sudden presence in conversations around the world makes it very clearly our Word Of The Year,” he said

“Its unique technicolour collision of art, technology and commerce has broken through the Covid noise with dramatic effect.”

NFT is one of three tech-based jargon to make Collins’ 10 words of the year, joining ‘metaverse’ which refers to a three-dimensional virtual world, and ‘crypto’ which is short form for cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.

‘Pingdemic’ can be found on the standings, emerging as a result of people who used the NHS App being told to self-isolate as a result of contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.

Conversations around trans and non-binary people has led to a meteoric rise in usage of ‘neopronouns’, which is another word that can be found on the list.

Following COP26 and growing concerns about climate change and the lack of action to fight against it, ‘climate anxiety’ ranks high on Collins’ list.

Other words included in the list are:

  • Hybrid working - referring to the mixture of working and commuting from home.
  • Double vaxxed - referring to anyone who has received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Regencycore - referring to the influence that mainstream TV shows such as Bridgerton have had on fans and fashion.
  • Cheugy - a slang term used to describe and dismiss anything seen as uncool or unfashionable.