Karpova K. S., PhD., Assistant Prof. Institute of Philology, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv



The article is devoted to popular sociolinguistic event ‘A Word of the Year’, which takes place annually on web-sites of famous dictionaries (Oxford English Dictionary, Collins English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s English Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary of the English Language) and well- known linguistic institutions (American Dialect Society, Global Language Monitor, Australian Na- tional Dictionary Centre, Society of the German Language). In English-speaking environment Oxford English Dictionary as one of the first dictionaries to launch ‘A Word of the Year’ list chooses a word or expression which have attracted a particular interest of its readers over the last twelve months. Every year hundreds of candidates are discussed online and a particular word is chosen to reflect the mood and preoccupations of a specific year as well as signify its potential as a word of cultural significance. The adjective toxic, chosen by Oxford English Dictionary as key word of 2018, is under linguistic

analysis in present research. Firstly, we study lexical and semantic peculiarities of word of the year. Secondly, we investigate the most frequently-used patterns of its lexical combinability with nouns. According to online version of Oxford English Dictionary, among nouns, which regularly collocate with the target adjective toxic, the following should be paid attention to: chemical, substance, waste, algae, air, masculinity, environment, relationship, culture. Finally, we exemplify the contextual usage of adjective toxic in modern English. Moreover, we dwell on the mechanisms of influence of key spheres of life in English-speaking world (politics, economy, ecology, social and interpersonal relations) on users’ choice in 2018.

Keywords: sociolinguistics, word of the year, Oxford English Dictionary, lexical and semantic peculiarities, lexical combinability.


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