The phrase NFT (short for non-fungible token) has been made word of the year by Collins Dictionary.
It says use of the abbreviation rose by more than 11,000% in 2021.
NFTs are certificates to say that you own something digital – so original versions of viral videos, memes or tweets can be sold as if they were art.
And from the Charlie Bit My Finger video to Harambe the gorilla movie, NFT sales have made some people very rich this year.
Collins Dictionary’s Alex Beecroft said it was “unusual” for an abbreviation to experience such a massive rise in usage.
“Whether the NFT will have a lasting influence is yet to be determined, but its sudden presence in conversations around the world makes it very clearly our word of the year,” he added.
- NFT is one of the three technologies that make up Collins’ new vocabulary, as well as “crypto”, which stands for cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, and the “metaverse”, which describes a three-dimensional symbolic world.
Other words on Collins’ list include:
“Climate change” – reflects growing public concern about climate change and the lack of action to address it.
“Neopronoun” – words that serve as pronouns but, unlike “he” or “she”, have no gender.
“Cheugy” – a hypocritical word used to describe, and dismiss, anything that looks hopelessly unpleasant or unused. .
“Pingdemic” is on this year’s list, after self-isolation rules but pressure on workforces across the UK.
“Hybrid working” and “double-vaxxed” have also seen a boom in use, Collins says.