The Oxford University Press ‘Word of the Year 2011′ is Squeezed Middle. Even though this year’s winner is a two-word expression known as a ‘compound’, it will be treated as one word if and when it is included in the dictionary. The Oxford Press defines “squeezed middle” as that “section of society regarded as particularly affected by inflation, wage freezes, and cuts in public spending during a time of economic difficulty, consisting principally of those people on low or middle incomes”. First coined by British Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, the phrase was also chosen by American lexicographers and consultants at OUP for its accuracy in describing the plight of many U.S. citizens. It’s the first time the same word has been chosen on both sides of the Atlantic.
The two countries obviously choose from different shortlists as well. Some of the words on the U.S. shortlist included:
Clicktivism. The use of social media like Facebook and Twitter to further a cause.
Crowdfunding. The tactic of funding a venture by soliciting small amounts of money from a large number of people, most often through the internet.
Gamification. Using gaming concepts and techniques in other areas such as online marketing.
Sifi. A financial institution regarded as vital to a country’s economy. An acronym derived from systemically important financial institution.