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"Single-Use" Is 2018's Word Of The Year

By Koty Neelis

What word have you used the most this year? According to Collins Dictionary, it was likely "single-use." Thanks to increased coverage on environmental issues and David Attenborough’s visually stunning BBC documentary Blue Planet II that helped raise awareness, the term became 2018's "Word of the Year." It describes plastic items that are made to be used one time before being thrown away. 

Single-use "encompasses a global movement to kick our addiction to disposable products. From plastic bags, bottles and straws to washable nappies, we have become more conscious of how our habits and behaviours can impact the environment," Collins says. The word has seen a four-fold increase since 2013.

In their announcement, Collins shares that "single" first appeared in the 14th century, primarily used to describe an unmarried person, deriving from the Old French "sengle," meaning alone or unadorned. This itself come from the more forgiving Latin "singulus"; one, individual or separate. It began to appear as a combining form in the late 14th century, forming part of many words such as single-handed and, later on, single-use.