8 Words on Oxford 2017’s Word of The Year Shortlist

It's Political, Millennial and Social


2017 Word Of The Year Shortlists

So, Oxford Dictionaries have released their 2017 Word of The Year and its shortlists. For a year filled with noteworthy political unrest, social media trendiness (and shennanigans!) and most of all, millennial-centric causes, I wasn’t surprised to see some of the words that came up. Between Antifas and Broflakes, to News Jacking and White Fragility –  like most words to make the yearly list, it has become a quaint reflection of modern times. All these words share a commonality in either its political, millennial-trendy or social conflict themes.

Here are the 8 words that made Oxford Dictionaries’ 2017 Word of The Year shortlist:


[noun; treated as singular or plural] a political protest movement comprising autonomous groups affiliated by their militant opposition to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology

Antifa, short for Anti Fascist is a whole lot of things. According to The Daily Show, they claim to be inherently leftist, but i don’t think anyone can pinpoint a singular ideological cause they have or a leader among their ranks. Acting similarly to a millitant terrorist group, beating possible Nazi and KKK members the same way they beat down their own credibility –  to crack down on neo-nazis and racist groups. Its just ironic that the destruction and fear caused is inherently fascist-esq in itself.



[derogatory, informal] a man who is readily upset or offended by progressive attitudes that conflict with his more conventional or conservative views

I had a recent bout of arguments discussions, on the the thirteenth doctor from Doctor Who being female. I’ll admit, I never really watched the show but even to an outsider of the fandom like myself, I could appreciate a pick like this. After 12 white male doctors,we should have been way past the conversation for equal representation in media come 2018. yet here we still are. He called it “pandering to third wave feminism” and I called it “ABOUT DAMN TIME”. So Broflakes are basically Snowflake boys with a “dude-bro” complex. Possibly the kind that will shout #NotAllMen in the same vein as “feminism is about female superiority” 


36 White Male Protagonists meme Source:


[noun] a style of dress incorporating utilitarian clothing of a type worn for outdoor activities

According to Vogue IndiaGorp is a word used by hikers to refer to trail mix (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts).  Here is a helpful guide on Reddit to styling your own ‘Gorpcore’ pieces. Truthfully to me, it looks like dollar store bargains put together. Throw in a plume jacket or an ill-fitting wind breaker on top of your shirt and you’re ready to go.

Gorpcore Attire Source: Vogue India –


[mass noun] compromising information collected for use in blackmailing, discrediting, or manipulating someone, typically for political purposes

According to CNN, ‘Kompromat’ is embarrassing material intended to be used against someone. It is a well-known tactic in Russia, according to former British Ambassador to Russia Tony Brenton. “It is very much a part of the way Russia works, that intelligence agencies collect compromising information on individuals and that they’ll use it when it’s to their advantage,” he told CNN.

I’m curious about what defines embarrassing material to their target. Doxing them and publishing their internet history wouldn’t be enough? Or do most of them secretly have a stash of granny panties and blunts grown from the sweat and tears of impoverished children. Who knows?

Mr. Burns, Release the Kompromat meme

Milkshake Duck

a person or thing that initially inspires delight on social media but is soon revealed to have a distasteful or repugnant past

If you asked me what this word meant without context, I’d tell you its a new bathtub trend, dunking yourself in a smoothie blend of ice, milk and vanilla whipped cream – with a rubber duckie – as a top hat. It is unfortunately not that.

What it is though – is an idiom for a highly regarded social media influencer or person, caught having done something…uncouth – like drugs, bigotry, misogyny or racism – or worse. Basically they done bad. It’s an odd word with an even weirder pop culture origin, starting off as a joke, then a meme and now something recognized culturally with modern significations. This is the only one in the list that seems harder to figure out at face value. According to the NY Times, the Milkshake Duck is exactly what happened to Ken Bone, whose bright red sweater, bubbly personality and steady questioning of the candidates in the presidential debate made him an instant celebrity. Days later, Mr. Bone was undone, as some unsavory comments from his Reddit history online came to light.

Screenshot of Milkshake Duck tweet by @Pixelated Boat



[mass noun; marketing ] the practice of taking advantage of current events or news stories in such a way as to promote or advertise one’s product or brand

It’s in a word – a marketing strategy to riding the hype of a viral or highly talked about subject. Like the recent Malaysian scandal involving a Master Chef UK Episode and local Malaysian delight, Chicken Rendang outed for not being “crispy” enough – many brands and marketers jumped onto the band wagon. KFC’s one comes as no surprise, as their Instagram ad can show you :


denoting something, especially an item of food or drink, that is dyed in rainbow colours, decorated with glitter, etc.

You’ve seen them everywhere – Princess-ey makeup looks, cartoons with a questionable fandom, food that are likely chemical hazards with all that colouring, rainbow attire that could sustain enough LGBT pride marches to last a life time. What is up with the unicorn craze?

It’s a specifically millennial thing. Unicorns were usually associated with myth, fantasy – with little girls and birthday parties; but now we are living in times where people embrace it way into their teens and adult life. Perhaps it’s a trend that relies on nostalgia, being fabulous, youthfulness and the giddy excitement of a child to get its consumers going.

A still from NinJa Sex Party’s 2013 single, Unicorn Wizard. A swirl of fabulous, glitter and rainbows.

White fragility

[mass noun] discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality and injustice

It’s quite similar to Broflake – but not exactly.

According to Salon, white fragility is a phrase coined by author Dr. Robin DiAngelo, and is defined as “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.” According to him, most white people “live in a social environment that insulates them from race-based stress,” due to their privilege as part of the cultural majority. It is a responsive mechanism, one in part mixed perhaps with either guilt or discomfort about confronting with certain racial standards and intolerances the world we live in have.




Oxford Dictionaries 2017 Word Of The Year Shortlist
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Stevie Ku'shon

Stevie grew up in the cusp between the VCR and DVD era and can't afford Netflix either. Reportedly the first ever person to transition from Beta female, to Alpha female, to Beta again successfully without any complications - she also has a degree paper, that paper being white - And 11 out of 10 people agree that she never tells any lies, especially in writing. With a background in fine arts, particularly an affinity for performance/ installation art that touch on breaking boundaries and social norms, she has a lil sum-sumthin to say about it all

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