‘Gammon,’ a word which has been widely used as an insult to describe middle-aged men who tend to go pink in the face when angry, has officially made it into the Collins Dictionary Word of the Year 2018 shortlist.
Historically, it is more commonly recognised as a cured pork meat which many British families like to enjoy as part of their Sunday roast. Now, ‘gammon’ has now entered an English dictionary with a completely new definition, largely due to a combative political debate.
Collins’ additional definition of ‘Gammon’ is: “a person, typically male, middle-aged, and white, with reactionary views, especially one who supports the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union.”
The word has been particularly popular with left-wing political commentators and ardent Remainers, who have enjoyed causing a stir in using what they see as a playful put-down. Though they have often had to fend off accusations that the word is racist against white people.
Try mass incarceration, police brutality, deportations, street harassment, front page moral panics, poor housing and healthcare outcomes. Then talk to me again about how white men calling other white men gammon is racist. https://t.co/hQW35WQDsq
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) May 14, 2018
No one is born a gammon Toby, it’s not racist. Would have been nice to see you call out the Islamophobia of Melanie Phillips in the Times last week with at least as much vigour
— Matt Zarb-Cousin (@mattzarb) May 14, 2018
Quite remarkable hearing the broadcast gammon declare that fast food, bar and hospitality workers don’t merit a living wage.
— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) October 4, 2018
Despite the ongoing debate over exactly how offensive ‘gammon’ really is, It’s made the Collins Dictionary Word of the Year shortlist.
‘MeToo’ and ‘Plogging,’ a term originating from Sweden, which describes a recreational activity that combines jogging with litter picking, also made the list.
Other shortlisted Collins Dictionary Words of the Year 2018
Backstop: a system that will come into effect if no other arrangement is made
Floss: a dance in which people twist their hips in one direction while swinging their arms in the opposite direction with fists closed
Gaslight: to attempt to manipulate (a person) by continually presenting them with false information until they doubt their sanity
MeToo: denoting a cultural movement that seeks to expose and eradicate predatory sexual behaviour, especially in the workplace
Plogging: a recreational activity, originating in Sweden, that combines jogging with picking up litter
Single-use: made to be used once only, commonly referring to disposable plastic items such as straws and bottles
VAR: abbreviation for video assistant referee
Vegan: a person who refrains from using any animal product whatever for food, clothing or any other purpose
Whitewash: to cast a white actor in the role of a character from a minority ethnic group, or to produce a film or play using white actors to play characters from a minority ethnic group
Helen Newstead, Head of Language Content at Collins, said: “This has been a year where awareness and often anger over a variety of issues has led to the rise of new words and the revitalisation and adaptation of old ones.
“It’s clear from this year’s Words of the Year list that changes to our language are dictated as much by public concern as they are by sport, politics, and playground fads.”
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