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2021 Word of the Year in Dutch: ‘Jab regret’

"Jab regret" [prikspijt] has been named Word of the Year 2021 by the famous Dutch dictionary Van Dale. The word received 82.2 percent of the 49 000 votes cast on the Van Dale website.

Published: December 22, 2021, 10:31 am

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    “That is an overwhelming majority,” agreed editor-in-chief Ton den Boon with reference to the poll on Twitter. “That was done by people who do not want to be vaccinated. It reflects the polarization that is present in society around vaccination and boosting it,” said Den Boon in an interview with the NOS Radio 1 Journaal.

    Was the vote fair? “We have found that there were no ‘bots’ involved – those programmed responses that automatically cast a vote. We checked that. But as we have seen on Twitter – and everyone could see that for themselves – there were frequent calls to vote for this word.”

    As a result, the number of votes cast was relatively high. Last year 12 000 people voted, in 2019 it was 17 500. In 2018, when “blokkeerfriezen” was the winner, about 49 000 votes were also cast.  Frisians in the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen had successfully blocked the A7 highway to stop leftists from staging “anti-racist” protests against Zwarte Piet in Friesland causing massive disruptions.

    For Den Boon the vote is a valid one even though he feels “sorry” that it has won as the Word of the Year. “It is the word chosen by the people. But you may wonder how broad that demographic is and to what extent this word reflects the idea of ​​what the word of the year should be. At the same time, it reflects the polarization in society and therefore it might be an interesting word.”

    Jab regret is the “regret a person feels for having been vaccinated against a particular infectious disease”. Defending the choice, the editor-in-chief added without real conviction: “It’s an interesting word, you’ve also seen it in the opposite sense lately: that you regret not getting the injection.”

    The words “housing protest”, the protest against the crisis on the housing market, came a long way off in second place with 3.7 percent of the vote. The word “wappiesound” came in third, with 3.6 percent. This refers to an opinion about a social issue, which does not support the mainstream narrative, often used by the vaccinated for remarks by so-called conspiracy theorists.

    “Wappie” is a pejorative term that originated in the Dutch language in the nineties of the twentieth century. During the Corona pandemic, the terms “Corona wappie” and “Covid wappie” were used as disqualifying terms for those who questioned the government’s Covid policies.

    In Belgium, the Dutch word ”knaldrang” was chosen as Word of the Year 2021 with 37.2 percent of the votes from Dutch speakers in Flanders. That means the “strong desire to let go” or a burning need to “break out”.

    People could submit words that they thought stood a chance to win. Van Dale compiled a top 15 from all entries. Not only were there words that had to do with the Corona pandemic, but other current affairs were also shortlisted.

    The list of nominated words were:

    Booster shot: repeated injection of a vaccine
    Delta variant: highly contagious variant of the Coronavirus in 2021
    Breakthrough infection: virus infection that occurs in the fully vaccinated
    Influencer: someone who gives investment advice on social media
    Sensitivity reader: editor that scans text for politically incorrect statements
    Cave syndrome: fear complex of after prolonged isolation from social life
    Intimacy vacuum: the lack of connection and intimacy
    Meme share: share of small company bought en masse to manipulate price
    Pandemocracy: democracy (permanently) changed by a pandemic
    Jab polarization: when jab proponents verbally attack opponents
    Jab regret: regret someone feels for having been vaccinated
    QR society: society in which only certain people have access to places
    Vaccine proponent: someone who jumps the line to get vaccinated
    Wappiesound: a fringe opinion about a social, political, etc. issues
    Housing protest: protest against housing crisis which excluded first-time buyers

    [Source: Van Dale]

    The winning word of 2020 was the “one-and-a-half meter society”. The term received 29.8 percent of the vote. In total, more than 12 000 votes were cast for the twenty words that Van Dale had nominated.

    The organizers have now decided to stick to fifteen words from now on for the sake of clarity and “not because we didn’t have enough words”.

    “Boomer” became word of the year in 2019, “app accident” in 2017, “bullying vlogger” in 2016 and “cheating software” in 2015 .

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