- “NFT” was recognized as the Word of the Year by Collins Dictionary for 2021.
- The abbreviation for non-fungible tokens shot to fame as the market grew at a dizzying pace.
- Other words that made the shortlist include “crypto” and “metaverse.”
“NFT” was named Word of the Year by Collins Dictionary for 2021, a nod to the surging popularity of digital collectibles.
The abbreviation for non-fungible tokens shot to prominence as the market soared to dizzying heights, aided by high-profile celebrities stirring up the hype.
“It’s unusual for an abbreviation to experience such a meteoric rise in usage, but the data we have from the Collins Corpus reflects the remarkable ascendancy of the NFT in 2021,” Collins Learning managing director Alex Beecroft told The Guardian. “NFTs seem to be everywhere.”
Collins defines NFT as a “unique digital certificate, registered in a blockchain, that is used to record ownership of an asset such as an artwork or a collectible.”
NFTs can be anything from artwork to sports cards. Some experts told Insider that one day they could be used by the government to store personal information like social security numbers or COVID-19 vaccine cards.
For now, NFTs are mostly status symbols among diehard crypto enthusiasts or ultra wealthy art collectors. Mike Winkelmann’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” sold for a whopping $69 million in March. Better known as Beeple, Winkelmann compiled 5,000 pieces of digital art that he created every day over the last several years. The sale was the most expensive piece of digital art ever sold, Christie’s auction house said.
Other runner-up words were mostly pandemic related. These include “double-vaxxed,” “hybrid working,” and “pingdemic” (defined by the dictionary as “the name used by the media to describe the epidemic of absences from work caused by “pings” from apps that warned users if they’d been in close contact with an infected person”).
“Climate anxiety” made the list in the light of this year’s COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Rounding out the top 10 were words that nodded to a particular cultural phenomenon.
“Neopronoun” is a gender-neutral pronoun to replace he or she, which includes xe, ze, and ve. “Regencycore” refers to a fashion aesthetic influenced by the popular Netflix series Bridgerton, while “cheugy” is used to pertain to someone or something that is out of date.
In 2020, Collins named “lockdown” as its Word of the Year. Earlier this month, Oxford Languages picked “vax” as its top word for 2021.