Anti-vaxxer, willy-waver, Wagwan among new words in Oxford Dictionary – see list

Long Covid, snackette and bath bombs are also among the new entries in the Oxford English Dictionary but it’s the pandemic which has had a big effect on language this year

Anti-vaxxers demonstrate at Clapham Common

The word anti-vaxxer has made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, but it has taken 209 years and a pandemic to get there.

Long Covid also made it, but that has only been around since May 2020, when it was first used in a tweet.

The 837 new entries also include the more fun snackette, for a bite-sized nibble, and bath bombs, another old one, with US stores selling them back in 1927.

But an OED spokeswoman said: “World events have a big impact on language and this update is no exception.”

Anti-vaxxer is used to describe someone who refuses the Covid jab, but it was coined in 1812 by Edward Jenner when his smallpox injection came up against fierce opposition.

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Disaster capitalism, for making a profit from catastrophes, voter suppression, for preventing people getting to the ballot box, and the once-taboo subject of period poverty are also new entries.

The OED spokeswoman said: “They have, somewhat depressingly, all seen enough evidence of use for them to enter the dictionary.”


Anti-vaxxer – a person opposed to vaccination

Bants – short for banter and denotes teasing or playful remarks used in social circles

Bath bomb – a fragrant, shaped bath product that dissolves in water

Big-tech – a collection of major, multinational technology companies

Brown-nosing – sucking up to someone and flattering them to gain favour

Disaster capitalism – exploitation of natural or man-made disasters such as extreme weather events, war and epidemics

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Ghosting – being blanked on social media and getting no response to messages, signalling the sudden end of a friendship or relationship

Long Covid – persistence of symptoms related to Covid-19

Love locks – a padlock attached to a bridge, railing, or fence by a couple as a symbol of their love and commitment

Noise cancelling – a device such as headphones with technology to cut out background sounds and chatter

Period poverty – being unable to afford sanitary products

Snackette – a small snack

Snooze – to activate the snooze feature on an alarm clock or device

Voter suppression – to prevent people, especially those belonging to certain demographic groups, from voting in elections

Wagwan – a short way of asking “what’s going on?”

Willy-waver – a boastful, self-styled tough guy who exhibits excess amounts of machismo

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