Top 15 Words of 2021 You Should Know

The Oxford English Dictionary has added new words again to its dictionary’s list of vocabularies this year! The world’s leading dictionary never failed to amaze its avid readers about the interesting evolution of the English language. Despite sounding a little strange to the untrained ears, these words reflect the current trends in the world. These words and their relevance to the present time did prove that they deserve to be the Top 15 Words of 2021!

Transparently, these new words are creative representations of future-minded individuals. And since they mirror the trendiest of trends, you surely need to use them when talking about the environment, politics, and lifestyle.

Ever heard of a freegan, Nomophobia, Buzzy, and bluebird day? Bet you haven’t yet!

So, check out what these words are, and let’s learn the Top 15 Words of 2021!

New Words About Environment

1. carbon sink (n)

Definition: A forest, ocean, or another natural environment’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

If you think we’re talking about your sink, think again. We are talking about something bigger than this. First, in the Top 15 Words of 2021, a carbon sink is something natural that absorbs more carbon than it releases as carbon dioxide. By this, we mean oceans, seas, soil, and plants. Got it?

2. freegan (n)

Definition: A person who only eats free food that has been (or would normally be) thrown away.

For years of learning English, we’re confident that you already knew free and vegan. The word freegan is a portmanteau of free and vegan. A freegan is an activist who scavenges for free food to reduce the consumption of resources. You’ll see them collecting food in waste receptacles at stores and restaurants.

Freegan and freeganism are amongst the Top Top 15 Words of 2021, even if they’re added into the OED in 2015. With all the crises now, these terms will surely be commonly used this year.

3. plastic footprint (n)

Definition: The amount of plastic that someone uses and then throws away concerning the damage to the environment it causes.

A carbon footprint refers to the reduction of carbon emissions. Well, plastic footprint also means reduce your use of plastic materials. So next time, resort to using stainless or wooden straws rather than using the plastic ones. A plastic footprint is indeed mother nature’s newest and ultimate BFF!

4. climate emergency (n)

Definition: An urgent issue relating to the environment and climate which needs to be solved.

You might be used to hearing about “climate change”–a phrase that’s been used for many years. The word “change”, however, sounds too soft to describe the current climate situation.

Climate emergency has gained popularity thanks to the Guardian, Extinction Rebellion, and Greta Thunberg usage of the term. The term climate emergency emerged and the OED Word of the Year and no doubt it is among our Top 15 Words of 2021 list.

In the previous years, we always hear of global warming, but with all the fires, floods, and other natural disasters we are facing now, wouldn’t it be more impacting to use climate emergency?

New Words About Entertainment

5. bottle episode (n)

Definition: A bottle episode is produced cheaply and restricted in scope to use as few non-regular cast members, effects, and sets as possible.

TV producers make Bottle episodes to save the budget for more expensive locations. Have you watched the bottle episode on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “The Box”,? You should see it as it’s rated as one of the best by its viewers.

6. stan (adj)

Definition: An extremely excessively enthusiastic and devoted fan (stalker-fan).

Are you familiar with all the series of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter? Do Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise drive you crazy? Well, you’re definitely a stan! Blend the words stalker and fan, then you’ll get the word that suits you so well – STAN!

New Words about Science & Tech

7. nomophobia (n)

Definition: Fear of not using or having access to a working cell phone

Owning a spot in our Top 15 Words of 2021 list, nomophobia is just the phobia we are all guilty of. You know that uneasy, incomplete feeling when you left your phone in the house? Or maybe that anxious feeling you get when you misplaced your phone and can’t find it? Well, our phone is a part of our everyday accessory as human. We are addicted to it. And even if we deny it, we need to accept it. We’re suffering from nomophobia.

Check your phone. Maybe you lost it!

8. screen time (n)

Definition: the time spent watching television, playing a video game, or using an electronic device with a screen (such as a smartphone or tablet)

How much screen time do you spend every day? I hope not 24/7 because that’s totally unhealthy!

The term screen time is an old word popular to netizens years ago. However, this time, the word has gotten a new meaning. It’s not just used to refer to the amount of airtime an actor or a product received on TV. But we can also use it to refer to the time spent and wasted surfing the net on our phones or tablets.

Top 15 words of 2021
Top 15 words of 2021

Photo by Maksim Goncharenok from Pexels

New Words about Gender-Politics

9. child-free (adj)

Definition: Used to refer to people who choose not to have children.

Child-free is a term we now use to replace the more offensive word childless. Because it sounds pleasant to the ears, many are resorting to using child-free instead of childless to make others feel empowered and hopeful.

10. peoplekind (n)

Definition: A gender-neutral alternative to ‘mankind’.

Justin Trudeau famously encountered problems with his use of the word ‘peoplekind’. But we’re not ready to discard it yet. We expect this word to in the dictionaries in 2021!

11. they (n)

Definition: Used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is not fixed.

The word ‘gender-fluid’ made it in the list of the newest words in the OED in 2019. And now, the word “they’” also took the spot in our Top 15 Words of 2021. Though used as pronouns in English grammar, we use “they” to reflect people’s changing attitudes to gender stereotypes.

Interestingly, ‘them’ is also added to the list. Both words are used for a person whose gender identity is non-binary in September 2019. It was also Merriam Webster’s Word of The Year 2019!

New Words about Lifestyle

12. bluebird day (n)

Definition: A day marked by cloudless blue skies.

As Social Media platforms grow in extreme popularity, people are also becoming creative in their posts and caption. When you are basking under a cloud-free sky, captioning the picture as “BLUE SKY magic” seems outdated. On clear sunny skies and zero clouds, your caption better reads “BLUEBIRD DAY…One Sweet Day!”

13. buzzy (adj)

Definition: Something that generates excitement and gets people talking.

In Hollywood, news about celebrities getting married and separated always gets people talking. Why? Because this buzzy news from our favorite celebs is just so entertaining. Consider watching Hollywood’s gossip queen’s show, the Wendy Williams Show, and you sure will get excited. The juicy and buzzy news she spills will just make you love her even more.

How about talking about the lives of the Kardashian’s? Now, that’s both funny and buzzy!

14. peak (n)

Definition: Being at the height of popularity or attention.

The peak of a mountain is the topmost part of the mountain. However, this peak has a different meaning. Used before the name of a person, product, or cultural trend it tells us when something is at its best. The Lemonade album was peak Beyonce.

15. sober-curious (adj)

Definition: Experimenting with a period of not drinking alcohol.

Rounding last in the list of our Top 15 Words of 2021, sober-curious is not in publications yet but expect this will soon become popular.

Before, being sober has a stigma, but right now, it seems that people are already less inclined toward alcoholism. With most people saying bye-bye alcohol because of the pandemic, sober-curious will just soon become your favorite word.

So, now that you already have the top list of our Top 15 words of 2021, be sure to remember all of them! And make sure to enlighten your friends’ minds if ever they don’t have any idea about the existence of these words in the Oxford English Dictionary.

If you like this article, check out the Online Dating Slang Terms You Must Learn in 2020.

Top 15 words of 2021
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