“Jomo” stands for the “joy of missing out” and is used when one decides to pass up on a party invitation without any fear of missing the event. It is thought to be the first time an acronym has been included on the Collins list, which has been issued since 2012 and celebrates terms that have enjoyed a significant rise in usage.The term joins “throw shade”, a verb which describes when someone publicly shows contempt, and “mic drop”, the act of pretending to drop a microphone after speaking.The latter, which experts said was being used around 14 times more than last year, has been made particularly popular on Twitter and Facebook with celebrities, politicians and members of the Royal family, including Prince Harry and Barack Obama, miming the gesture in viral videos and GIFs. Other popular terms identified by Collins include “dude food”, junk food considered particularly appealing to men, “sharenting”, the habitual use of social media to share images or news about children, and “uberisation”, a business model where services are offered directly to a customer, for example via a mobile phone. “Most of this year’s words are used by or related to the generation born towards the end of the last century… their contribution to the constant evolution of the English language should not be overlooked,” she said.She told the Telegraph: “I think because so [many] of our communications are by social media, there is a lot more sharing and words come to light a lot quicker than they used to.”When asked about why it might be that acronyms and shorter words are increasingly being used, she said: “On social media you are restricted to how much you can write in a small space and as so much of our communications take place over Whatsapp messages, Facebook, we get all these new words.” “Trumpism”, the policies advocated by US presidential candidate Donald Trump, has also made the listCredit: Chip Somodevilla Most of this year’s words are used by or related to the generation born towards the end of the last centuryHelen Newstead It is a world where the most intimate feelings and desires can be portrayed with a single emoticon.And it seems the fleeting nature of social media and texting is having an impact on the English language as the words we most frequently use are getting shorter.Helen Newstead, the head of language content at Collins, said its 2016 “words of the year” list has been strongly influenced by the younger generation and not only includes current words like “Brexit” but also short phrases from social media and a four-letter acronym; “Jomo”. The list also carries on last year’s theme and reflects that many now strive to live sensible lives, which focus on well-being. The use of “hygge”, the concept of creating a cosy and convivial atmosphere, has almost doubled since last year, experts said.The final words are “snowflake generation”, which points towards young adults being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations, and “Trumpism”, the policies advocated by US presidential candidate Donald Trump.Ms Newstead put the changing nature of language down to social media where space is often restricted and messages are sent in haste.An analysis of the previous “words of the year” lists by The Telegraph shows the average length of a one-word term has decreased from 9.3 letters per word to 7.3 in the last four years. The Collins list is put together by a panel of lexicographers and experts, who look at terms that are becoming increasingly used. There are around 4.5 billion words in the Collins Corpus, but between 10 and 12 are picked for the final list.Ms Newstead said words that end up on the final cut are often ones that encapsulate a social trend.This year, the experts decided the word of the year was “Brexit” after it saw an unprecedented upsurge of more than 3,400 per cent.Ms Newstead said the word was “arguably politics’s most important contribution to the English language in over 40 years, since the Watergate scandal gave commentators and comedians the suffix -gate to make any incident or scandal infinitely more compelling”.Previous winning words have included binge-watch, photobomb and geek. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
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