2022 Word of the Year from Collins (“for word lovers and word geeks everywhere”)

The Collins Dictionary revealed its 2022 word of the year as “permacrisis” with the definition of an “extended period of instability and insecurity, (especially) one resulting from a series of catastrophic events.” This is according to


Some of the catastrophic events that came to my mind are the COVID pandemic, extreme weather, and Russia’s war on Ukraine. My hope is in 2023 the word of the year will hit a cheerier note. Another phrase that came up on the 2022 list was quiet quitting. My understanding is that this means doing the minimum at work to improve work/life balance.

Alex Beecroft, managing director of Collins Learning, said: 

“Language can be a mirror to what is going on in society and the wider world and this year has thrown up challenge after challenge.

It is understandable that people may feel, after living through upheaval caused by Brexit, the pandemic, severe weather, the war in Ukraine, political instability, the energy squeeze and the cost-of-living crisis, that we are living in an ongoing state of uncertainty and worry.

Our list this year reflects the state of the world right now – not much good news, although, with the determination of the Ukrainian people reflected by the inclusion of “Kyiv”, and the dawn of the new “Carolean” age in the UK, there are rays of hope.”

The Collins site explains that:

“the lexicographers at Collins Dictionary monitor their 18-billion-word database and a range of media sources, including social media, to create the annual list of new and notable words that reflect evolving language. Last year’s word of the year was “NFT” (short for non-fungible token) – which entered the mainstream after millions were spent on the most sought-after images and videos, and celebrities from Paris Hilton to Bella Hadid, Elon Musk and Snoop Dogg joined the NFT craze.”

You may find another dictionary that provides a word of the year you like better, but for now, let’s consider how Collins has weighed in. Here is some more about UK-based Collins from their web site with me thinking it can be interesting to have a non-US view of language keeping in mind of course the great US-based dictionaries such as the American Heritage and Merriam-Webster.

“With a history spanning almost 200 years, Collins remain pioneering dictionary publishers today: our dictionaries are easy to use and up to date, and benefit from extensive language research using the Collins Corpus. Regularly updated, and containing over 4.5 billion words, this living language resource helps Collins track and monitor language change, allowing us to identify the new words, phrases, and meanings that spring up every day. This ensures that we offer an unparalleled resource for word lovers, word gamers, and word geeks everywhere.”

 By Jeanette Evans