And the Word of the Year 2018 is...

The runners' up were Big Dick Energy (BDE), Gaslighting, Techlash, Gammon, Incel, Cakeism, Overtourism and Orbiting. 

And the Word of the Year 2018 is...

The Word of the Year 2018, according to Oxford English Dictionary (OED), is...


Defined as ‘poisonous', the adjective 'toxic' reflects the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the year that went by, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance, says Oxford.

“In 2018, toxic added many strings to its poisoned bow becoming an intoxicating descriptor for the year’s most talked about topics....

“Our data shows that, along with a 45% rise in the number of times it has been looked up on, over the last year the word toxic has been used in an array of contexts, both in its literal and more metaphorical senses,” said the publisher.

The word 'toxic' was habitually used alongside the following 10 words:

1. Chemical
2. Masculinity
3. Substance
4. Gas
5. Environment
6. Relationship
7. Culture
8. Waste
9. Algae
10. Air

The word emerged on the top after being associated with several incidents including the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter in Britain. Concern over the rise of toxic chemical stockpiles across the world was also highly cited.

Then there was the usage of toxic in the US and India with reference to toxic substance, toxic gas, toxic waste. The burning of toxic waste, especially in India, was identified as one of a number of causes of toxic air. 

However, the most frequent use of the term was toxic environment – in reference to mental health, sexual harassment, workplace, relationships and so on.

“The term toxic environment itself, however, has been more frequently used in reference to harmful workplace environments and the toll this takes on the workforce’s mental health. From overly demanding workloads to outright sexual harassment, many companies have been exposed as crucibles for such toxic culture this year, which has seen mass walkouts at Google, the fashion mogul Philip Green disgraced, and the Speaker of the House of Commons accused of misusing his official powers to cover up allegations of bullying in Westminster.

“Toxic relationships are not exclusive to the workplace, however, and whether its partners, parents, or even politicians, this year has seen so much discussion of ‘poisonous’ relationships across our society that ‘relationship’ is the sixth most-seen toxic topic for 2018. One reoccurring element in such discussions has been toxic masculinity,” said Oxford.

The words which almost made it to the top, but settled for runners' up position were Gaslighting, Incel, Techlash, Gammon, Big Dick Energy, Cakeism, Overtourism and Orbiting.