The phrase NFT (short for non-fungible token) has been made word of the year by Collins Dictionary.
It says use of the abbreviation rose by more than 11,000% in 2021.
NFTs are certificates to say that you own something digital – so original versions of viral videos, memes or tweets can be sold as if they were art.
Collins Dictionary’s Alex Beecroft said it was “unusual” for an abbreviation to experience such a massive rise in usage.
“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 added.
- Charlie Bit Me boys to pay for uni with NFT money
- Harambe the gorilla photo to be sold as an NFT
- What are NFTs and why are some worth millions?
NFT is one of three tech-based words to make Collins’ new words list, as well as “crypto”, the short form of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, and “metaverse”, which describes a three-dimensional virtual world.
Other words on Collins’ list include:
- “Climate anxiety” – reflecting people’s growing concerns about climate change and the perceived lack of action to tackle it
- “Neopronoun” – words that serve as pronouns but, unlike “he” or “she”, are free of gender
- “Cheugy” – a slang term used to describe, and dismiss, anything seen as hopelessly uncool or unfashionable
The 2020 word of the year was “lockdown” – and the influence of the pandemic on language remains strong.
“Pingdemic” is on this year’s list, after self-isolation rules but pressure on workforces across the UK.
“Hybrid working” and “double-vaxxed” have also seen a boom in use, Collins says.