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June 07, 2018 Thursday 04:18:41 PM IST

Plastic is Children's Word of the Year: Oxford University Press

International Policy

New Delhi: "Plastic" has been declared the children's word of the year as it is most commonly used by them, indicating that they are aware about the hazards of plastic pollution, according to Oxford University Press.

The Oxford University Press analysed short stories submitted to BBC Radio 2's 500 Words competition.

Plastic, the ocean, Emmeline Pankhurst, Donald Trump, Brexit, Korea, Grenfell Tower, unicorns, slime and computer game Fortnite are some of the people and subjects that influence British children's creativity and use of language, says a report published today by Oxford University Press (OUP).

Plastic is the Oxford Children's Word of the Year because of its significant increase in use in the competition (a total rise of more than 100 per cent on the 2017 competition).


Children use plastic in their stories in an emotive way to convey their understanding of the damage pollution is causing to marine life, drawing on their creativity and imagination to deliver powerful descriptive imagery in stories, with titles such as The Plastic Shore, The Mermaid's Plastic Mission and The Evil Mr Plastic, OUP said in a statement.

Vineeta Gupta, head of Children's Dictionaries at OUP, was quoted in the statement as saying: "Children have shown they are acutely aware of the impact plastic has on our environment and how it will affect their own future. They have used their stories to devise imaginative ways to combat this issue and bring about change in their world." 

Last year, Trump was the Children's Word of the Year. This year, US president Donald Trump took the top spot for famous people mentioned for the second year in succession.

Santa and Cinderella remain the most used fictional characters as in all other years of the competition.


Of the political words/names which have grown most in frequency of use since 2017, Brexit tops the list with an increase of 182 per cent. It is mainly mentioned as an item on the news, or as a boring topic of conversation.

(Indebted to various sources)


What all are the measures that can be taken to limit the use of Plastic among children?