Vax has been chosen as the word of the year by lexicographers at the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).
Words related to vaccines have spiked in frequency in 2021 due to Covid, with double-vaxxed, unvaxxed and anti-vaxxer all seeing a surge in use.
OED senior editor Fiona McPherson says vax was an obvious choice as it has made “the most striking impact”.
“It goes back at least to the 1980s, but according to our corpus it was rarely used until this year,” she said.
“When you add to that its versatility in forming other words – vaxxie, vax-a-thon, vaxinista – it became clear that vax was the standout in the crowd.”
Vax and vaxx are both accepted spellings but the form with one x is more common.
Use of the word pandemic has also increased by more than 57,000% this year.
Vax, was first recorded in English in 1799, while its derivatives vaccinate and vaccination both first appear in 1800.