Youthquake — The Other Word Of The Year That No One Has Heard Of (Probably)

Oxford Dictionary just announced its word of the year: Youthquake. Have you heard of it? Youthquake (n.), as defined by Oxford Dictionary, is “a significant cultural, political or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.”

Oxford Dictionary details the history of the word in its announcement. "Youthquake" originated in 1965 due to social change revolving around civil rights, feminism and the Vietnam War. The term came from the editor-in-chief of Vogue, Diana Vreeland, who wrote: “‘The year’s in its youth, the youth in its year. …More dreamers. More doers. Here. Now. Youthquake 1965.’”

So, why "youthquake" now? The Chicago Tribune writes that Oxford Dictionary felt it encapsulated the political change of 2017, which mirrors that of the 60s. The word saw a rebirth of "youthquake" during the U.K. election, called for by Theresa May, when millennials widely supported Labour Party candidate, Jeremy Corbyn. It also reflects the push for social justice around the world, especially here in the U.S. in the wake of Donald Trump.

However, the word was met with some skeptics on social media because so many people, including millennial activists themselves, hadn't heard of the word.

“I run a charity for young people. This is not a word that I have ever heard used. Anywhere. By Anyone. #Youthquake,” tweeted Ruth Ibegbuna, chief executive of a youth leadership and social change organization in Britain.

According to Mashable, Merriam Webster and pick their words of the year based on the most searched words (which explains how Merriam Webster ended up with "feminism" for 2017). However, Oxford Dictionary does things a little different, looking for “the zeitgeist, that defining spirit or mood of the moment” said President of Dictionaries Casper Grathwohl in a blog post

Words on Oxford Dictionary’s website that were listed as finalists were antifa, broflake, gorpcore, kompromat, milkshake duck, newsjacking, white fragility and unicorn.

Whether you’ve heard of youthquake or not, we can all agree that millennials have been a prominent voice for political change across the world!