Oxford Dictionaries has chosen its word (or phrase) of the year for 2011, from a list of lexical contenders synonymous with 2011. The competition was fierce. ‘Arab Spring’, in honour of the turmoil rife across the Middle East, came close, as did ‘sodcasting’, the practise of playing music loudly from your mobile phone in a public place. Signifying a rally against capitalism, ‘occupy’ threatened to sneak up on the outside with a grubby beard and thermos. But in the end there was only one winner, and unsurprisingly it had a financial twist. It was hard to read a paragraph of journalism commentary this year without the ‘squeezed middle’ rearing its ugly, er, middle. And if you’re still unsure what it means, it refers to the portion of working Brits struggling to survive on stagnant wages and rising prices. Let’s hope Oxford Dictionaries’ 2012 word of the year has a more positive vibe. ‘Prosperous middle’, perhaps? Don’t hold your breath.
Feeling the pinch