Oxford Dictionaries launches global public vote to find most disliked English word

Oxford Dictionaries launches global public vote to find most disliked English wordMoist has emerged as an early contender for the least popular word in the English language, as Oxford Dictionaries launches a global search to find the least favourite English word.

Kicking off what it hopes will be the largest global survey into peoples language gripes, the dictionary publisher is inviting English speakers around the world to answer a range of language-related questions under the #OneWordMap initiative, starting with the quest to find the least popular English word.

Oxford Dictionaries is hoping that tens of thousands of people will contribute, enabling it to put together a list of the least popular words by country, age, and gender, and revealing similarities and differences around the world.

There are a few likely suspects were expecting to see. Moist seems to be a word that people instinctively draw for, and its already proven to be a popular response in some internal polls weve done, said Oxford University Presss Daniel Braddock.

More than 8,000 people have already submitted words to the poll, with differences beginning to emerge between countries. In the UK, moist tops the list, followed by no, hate, like and cant. Moist is also top of the list in the US and Australia.

In the Netherlands, by contrast, war and love both make appearances in the list of the top five least popular words, while in Spain, hello is a surprising No 1. Just one submission, so far, has been made in Gibraltar: yellow. In New Zealand, the first response was phlegm.

Were really not sure what words people will choose, said Braddock, but our expectation is that they will be fuelled by a multitude of reasons. Cancer, for example, has affected most people in the world, so I wouldnt be surprised if we see that make an appearance. And theres a huge amount of commentary in the political field at the moment, so theres a chance we might see some submissions related to politics.

Braddock said this was the first time Oxford Dictionaries had attempted to trace the worlds most disliked English words. This isnt something weve ever done before but were really pleased to finally have it in place. Were constantly trying to find ways of getting people interested in words and language, and were hoping that this will contribute to peoples enthusiasm for the subject, he said. Its hard to say how much response well get, but were hoping for somewhere in the region of 30,000. Im just hoping people find it interesting enough to share it, which will help contribute to the numbers.
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