10 words that made 2021

Vaxxed, NFTs and so many more new words this year – no wonder we wanted to disappear into the metaverse.
A typewriter with test on paper reading 2021

This year we started to see COVID normal influence our collective vocabularies as many words came in to describe how the arts sector was coping with the pandemic. While there was still talk of post-pandemic, a lot more of the language became about living with and immunising ourselves against a virus that would be with us for some time. But just like the virus, our language mutated to help us adapt.

At the start of the year Delta was an Australian singer but by the end of the year she’d joined viral supergroup, The Variants. While variants were defined based on the Greek alphabet, it was only the Delta mutation that caught on globally as we struggled to understand a new mutation of COVID-19. But the delta symbol (a triangle) has been used in physics to signify change so it is a fitting emblem in what were called ‘unprecedented times’ in 2020. The new Omicron variant appeared in October

Unlock Padlock Icon

Like this content?

Become a Member and unlock unlimited Access today

George Dunford is Director of Content at ArtsHub and Screenhub. He has written for Meanjin, The Big Issue, Lonely Planet, The Good Food Guide and others. He has worked in digital leadership roles in the cultural sector for more than 10 years including at the National Library of Australia, National Museum of Australia and the Wheeler Centre. You can follow him on Twitter: @Hack_packer