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Key Words: ‘Toxic’ is the word of the year, says Oxford English Dictionary publisher

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Toxic in a literal sense.

The Oxford English Dictionary, that most storied of all English-language reference books — having inspired the 1998 best seller “The Professor and the Madman” — has announced its word of the year for 2018, and, forgoing further ado, it is:

‘Toxic.’

The dictionary publisher says look-ups for the adjective were up 45% this year, an increase attributed to its use in environmental and political contexts, as well as in connection with the year’s #metoo tales (cf. toxic masculinity).

On the word-of-the-year shortlist alongside toxic were gaslighting and incel and several other notable terms.

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