Eco-anxiety, fajana or denier are some of the 12 candidates for word of the year for the FundéuRAE | Culture

Some of the candidates for word of the year of the Urgent Spanish Foundation, promoted by the Efe Agency and the RAE.
Some of the candidates for word of the year of the Urgent Spanish Foundation, promoted by the Efe Agency and the RAE.

The pandemic has also transformed our vocabulary. Since in 2013 the Foundation for Urgent Spanish (FundéuRAE) selected the word of the year, they had gained terms or referred to the digital universe (selfie The emojis) or to the political or social news (refugee The populism). But since the arrival of the virus, everything has changed. In 2020 it was chosen lockdown and among the 12 selected for this year are shortage, vaccine The denier. Apart from the coronavirus, there are other issues, such as the environment, the eruption of the La Palma volcano or the arrival of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan. The winner will be known on December 29.

This is the ninth time that the FundéuRAE, a foundation promoted by the EFE Agency and the Royal Spanish Academy, has chosen its word of the year. The candidates are of interest from a linguistic point of view, either because of their training, their meaning or the doubts they have generated among the speakers.

The first word of the year for the Foundation was escrache, in 2013, which was followed selfie (2014), refugee (2015), populism (2016), aporophobia (2017), microplástico (2018), emojis (2019) and lockdown (2020).

These are the 12 selected for this year:


The pandemic changed the way of tourism. The phenomenon of cameras (adaptation of Anglicism camper van) has stood out this year as a safer way to travel, avoiding crowds. It is a word that is already collected in the Dictionary of Americanisms as a masculine nouna camper), although it is also possible to use it in feminine if it is interpreted that it is a van: a camper.

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Carbon neutrality, carbon neutrality or carbon neutrality is the situation in which the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted into the atmosphere and that which is removed by other means is the same, resulting in a zero carbon balance. It was one of the key themes of COP26, in which many countries stated that they will achieve it, at the earliest, in 2050.

The writing of this term has raised many doubts, but it is appropriate to do it in a single word: carbononeutralidad. The option is also suitable carbon neutrality, with shortening carbo which is used in other words derived from carbon.


The compositional element cripto- It appears in many terms that have stood out this year. The most important is, of course, cryptocurrency. There are already thousands of them that, together, have reached a value of three trillion dollars.


The shortage of certain products, especially semiconductors, has put this word in the forefront, as has shortage, which is also valid and is used mainly in Mexico.


Eco-anxiety it merges two realities that have been very present in recent months. On the one hand, concern about the climate crisis. On the other, mental health, one of the topics that has gained the most presence and visibility lately.


On September 19, a volcano erupted on the Canary Island of La Palma. Several weeks later, this event has brought terms to the general population that, until now, were only known in the Canary archipelago and other volcanic regions. It is the case of fajana, which has acquired a new use and has been used to define the land reclaimed from the sea created by materials released from the volcano.

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One of the events that has defined 2021 is the rise in the price of electricity. Therefore, the term megawatt has appeared in all the media for the last few months, as well as its symbol, MW (The MWh for megawatt hour).


It is used to describe a representation of reality carried out through virtual reality programs and has been one of the star concepts of the year in the technology sector. It is a valid adaptation of English metaverse formed by the element meta- and the termination -towards from universe.


It is a concept that appears in the Spanish dictionary since 2016 and that it began to be used to refer to those who denied historical facts, such as the Holocaust, or scientists, such as climate change. The beginning of the pandemic rekindled the use of this word to designate those who do not believe in the existence of the virus and, consequently, reject the usefulness of vaccines.


On August 15, 2021, the Taliban seized the city of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. During the following weeks, the term taliban He was the protagonist of international information throughout the world.

It is a noun that, in Pashto, the language of Afghanistan, is plural. However, we have incorporated it into our language as a singular noun, so it forms the plural by adding -is: taliban.


It is not a new term, but rarely has it resonated with such force as this year, in which vaccines have focused information around the world. From this word derive many other concepts and expressions that have taken over the media (vaccination, booster shot…), and even new words have been created from it, such as vacunadrome The vacuguagua.

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In November, the last known variant of the coronavirus emerged: the omicron. Before her, others arrived, also with names in Greek letters: alpha, beta, gamma, delta …

The term variant starred in one of the FundéuRAE recommendations in the middle of the year due to his habitual confusion with strain. They are two different concepts, then strain implies that there is a significant change in the behavior of the virus, something that has not happened so far in the pandemic.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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