From people becoming a proper noun to woke’s use as an insult, we pick our key words of the year

The year 2019 might still have some surprises in store for us – Donald Trump is yet to ask the Queen if she has any dirt on Joe Biden – but we know the general shape of it: global chaos, lies and Love Island. We also know many of its words. We are approaching the moment when the great dictionaries pick those that sum up our times, following on from last year’s “toxic” (Oxford English Dictionary), “justice” (Merriam Webster) “single use” (Collins) and “me too” (Macquarie). The words might not have been coined in 2019, but will have acquired new meaning, risen to prominence, or somehow distil our preoccupations. In advance of the lexicographers’ big reveal, here are my top 10 candidates.

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