Oxford Word of the Year: “Climate Emergency”… Seriously?

Guest counting by David Middleton

Oxford names ‘climate emergency’ its 2019 ‘Word of the Year’

Thursday, November 21, 2019
Amid historic flooding in Venice, Italy, and catastrophic bushfires decimating Australia’s koala population, Oxford has named its 2019 Word of the Year “climate emergency.”


Oxford said its selected words or phrases “reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year,” and this year, heightened awareness of climate science and its implications have generated tremendous debate.


Previous Words of the Year include “toxic,” “youthquake,” “post-truth,” and “vape,” and in 2015, “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji.


“Climate emergency” is two words and a fake phrase… But at least they are two real words… “Youthquake” really? Furthermore, how could an actual climate emergency “reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year”? Existential threats aren’t limited time engagements.

Adapted from The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!

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December 3, 2019 10:05 am

Geez…climate is something monitored and reviewed over longer time periods, like 30 years. If they really want to insist this is some type of emergency, shouldn’t it be Weather Emergency? They can’t even get the right two words together to explain what they think they are explaining.

Bryan A
Reply to  Earthling2
December 3, 2019 12:12 pm


Charled Higley
Reply to  Bryan A
December 3, 2019 4:27 pm


Bryan A
Reply to  Charled Higley
December 3, 2019 9:01 pm

It doesn’t have to be, it only has to stimulate the proper sentiment
But it is a compounded and meaningful potential word

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  Bryan A
December 3, 2019 11:33 pm

Bryan, like Oxtard? That’s my word of the year.

Bryan A
Reply to  Earthling2
December 3, 2019 12:12 pm


Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  Bryan A
December 3, 2019 12:28 pm



Says it all.

Reply to  Earthling2
December 3, 2019 1:21 pm

How about something that is emphatically descriptive, such as “dumber than a box of rocks”?

I just came back from my daily walk. The sun is shining, sky mostly clear and very blue, and the temperature is about 44F in the shade. Pleasant day and I’m a happy camper. And really very typical for winters in my kingdom. We don’t generally get the bad stuff until January.


The old professor
Reply to  Earthling2
December 3, 2019 3:57 pm

Climate well exceeds 30-year spans. Real climate change takes long slow centuries.
However, those words, “Climate Emergency” emerged this year as the latest version of “Global Warming” next became “Climate Change,” now the wording escalates.
Y’see I could believe that measuring to 30 years ago the weather has warmed. I could even believe that the climate is changing. Changing is the normal state. However, there is no climate emergency. Particularly no emergency regarding the air’s plant food. If anything, more carbon dioxide would make for a greener planet with more food grown. The belief (a religious strength conviction) that CO2 is a significant greenhouse gas and can single-handedly control the climate is in doubt.
Of course there is a way out of the non-emergency. In fact, it would be CO2 free. Gen 4 Nuclear.
The big benefit is that having safe cost-effective power generated is a good idea in case nothing changes or even if the climate cools.
A over-simplified plan: To get around permit problems, co-locate Gen 4 plants at currently approved nuclear sites. Certain types of Gen 4 use lower generation waste as fuel. There should be at least one of these at each nuke plant. One step in the right direction.

December 3, 2019 10:13 am

Venice always floods, and the bush fires have nothing to do with “climate” 😐 This scam is to much.

Another Ian
Reply to  Sunny
December 3, 2019 5:36 pm

See what “Big Word” gets up to?

Re Venice flooding – their climate emergency has been going a long time (/s)

From Eric Newby’s chapter “An Evening in Venice” in “On the Shores of the Mediterranean”

It involves the sirocco wind and low barometric pressure as the main drivers, not necessarily needing a high tide. Known as the “l’acqua alta”.

Records start in the thirteenth century – e.g

“the water rose to the height of a man in the streets” 23rd September 1240.

With more examples. 1967 it was 5 feet above average sea level.

1867 – 1914 there were 7 exceptionally high ones

1917 – 1967 more than 40

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Another Ian
December 3, 2019 11:48 pm

Tell me, did they ever fix those rotten Elm piles that support the whole ediface of Venice? Never hear of its problems these days, it must have been good ‘ol Brit James Bond, he must have saved the day back in Golden Eye days, if that was the movie!!!! 😉

Gerry, England
Reply to  Alan the Brit
December 4, 2019 5:53 am

Casino Royale as well was it not? The impending new Bond film sounds like it will be Woke 007 – licensed to whinge and take offence.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Gerry, England
December 4, 2019 4:48 pm

The phrase “Bond girls” was banned from while actors were on stage. Yeah, it’s full on woketard. Been destroyed, like Charlies Angels.

December 3, 2019 10:33 am

Maybe it’ll be “doomer” next year.

Reply to  Scissor
December 3, 2019 11:28 am

Maybe “OK, doomer”.

David Stone
Reply to  Matheus
December 5, 2019 6:54 pm

Damned witty Matheus, deserves a wider audience.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Scissor
December 3, 2019 12:56 pm

OR they could just be honest and call it ‘fraud’.

December 3, 2019 10:36 am

I’ve got a much more applicable word(s) for Oxford to describe the current climate milieu: “Collective Insanity.”

Reply to  JWSC
December 3, 2019 1:47 pm

I’ll settle for “insane collectivists”.

michael hart
December 3, 2019 10:37 am

Well, Northampton says Oxford is full of it.

“After being advised by bishops and magnates that Northampton was a threat to Oxford, Henry III dissolved the university in 1265, and signed a Royal Decree that banned the establishment of a university in Northampton.”

Northamptonians have been pissing-off the consensus for hundreds of years, and proud of it.

Mark Broderick
December 3, 2019 10:49 am

“Oxford said its selected words or phrases “reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year” !

“Ethos is a Greek word meaning “character” that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology.”

“In psychology, a mood is an emotional state.”

“Definition of the state of being preoccupied; enthrallment”

So, Oxford believes that some “character” in an “enthralled”, “emotional state”, represents the people of the world ?

D’OH !

David Stone
Reply to  Mark Broderick
December 5, 2019 7:04 pm

I think you’re onto something – your last paragraph pretty much describes Greta Thunberg.

Joel Snider
December 3, 2019 10:52 am

Their word of the year certainly couldn’t be ‘credibility’.

December 3, 2019 10:58 am

[sociopolitical] climate emergency

December 3, 2019 11:04 am

well, at least if that was for last year they wont dare repeat “climate emergency” or anything else that has the word” climate” in it at the end of next year for fear of looking silly so we can now consider this year as a point of inflection.
Its sort of negative but a positive step forwards.

David Chappell
Reply to  jono1066
December 3, 2019 7:36 pm

Or, perhaps, a tipping point?

Charles.U. Farley
December 3, 2019 11:04 am

Im sure I heard the head of UN shrieking that the planet is at the tipping point….
How was this tipping point measured?
I may be wrong but Im pretty certain no one has ever observed the climate of any planet hitting its tipping point in regard to co2 concentrations or runaway temperatures.
Wheres the science?
Unless its just the old chestnut of “because we say so”???

December 3, 2019 11:13 am

I propose “Existential Emergency” as another. Being an Existentialist, my training knows that “existential” simply means that it exists.

No big deal, but declaring that climate change is an “Existential Emergency” is just more pettifoggery to pull more $500 woolen suits over the eyes of the easily confused masses.

Christopher Paino
December 3, 2019 11:22 am

A phrase being named “Word of the Year” at an institution such as Oxford…

Reply to  Christopher Paino
December 3, 2019 4:29 pm

And clearly the word should have been “How dare you”

Greg Woods
December 3, 2019 11:22 am

I am more inclined for ‘Existential Threat’, and Nancy Pelosi likes it, also….

Major Meteor
December 3, 2019 11:23 am

If I was to pick a word or phrase of the year it would be “Deep State”. Trouble is, there are those in denial that the entity exists.

December 3, 2019 11:29 am

It’s a thing these publishers do at the behest of their publicity agencies.

A few years ago, the Macquarie Dictionary people changed their definition of the word “misogyny” from –
‘”hatred of women”
“entrenched prejudice against women”.

See what they did there?
They unilaterally widened the scope of possible ‘misogyny’ offenders from describing a small coterie of psycho whack-jobs, to now encompassing every organization or individual who can’t demonstrate that they take female gender into account in every move or utterance they make.

Of course this announcement got lots of publicity for Macquarie, so – mission accomplished.
(plus rave reviews from all the “progressive” journos and commentators)

Paul Penrose
December 3, 2019 11:30 am

The shrieking over the “global climate” may have finally peaked. I hope.

Hokey Schtick
December 3, 2019 11:48 am

Letter of the year: Q

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  Hokey Schtick
December 4, 2019 3:02 am

In china 2020 is the year of the rat. In germany it’s the mole. Be afraid.

December 3, 2019 11:50 am

Jeez this Koala nonsense has become a thing has it? In my State they have to relocate them or even cull them because of overpopulation and over grazing of tree foliage. If they are “decimated” its within a defined regional area where most wildlife will have been through the decimator. Bushfires do that.

Reply to  yarpos
December 3, 2019 12:14 pm

What also ‘decimated’ the koalas in some areas was the chlamydia STD many of them contracted.

I haven’t bothered googling it, but I bet someone, somewhere, somehow managed to blame this STD outbreak on (you guessed it) – GLOBAL WARMING!

Wallaby Geoff
Reply to  yarpos
December 3, 2019 2:10 pm

Koalas are burnt by hot angry fires. They become hot and angry when hazard reduction hasn’t been carried out.
When the Aborigines burned they burned often, so the fires were mild and the koalas survived. Who’s responsible? Those that failed to regularly burn. Read in to this the policy of the Greens. Bad forest management is again the culprit.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  yarpos
December 3, 2019 7:59 pm

What about the funnel webs spiders, king brown snakes etc that are burnt as well? No one cares about them.

Will someone think of the killers critters in the forest?

Craig from Oz
Reply to  yarpos
December 3, 2019 10:03 pm

Sodding Koalas.

Cute, if you like that sort of thing, but fun fact, Koalas have the worse ratio of skull to brain size out of any mammal.

They are not that smart because gum leaves are not exactly known as being filled to brim with goodness. Remember the saying, a creature only needs to be smarter than the thing they eat, and gum leaves are pretty stupid. Also, not only are Koalas small of brain, but the gum leaves ferment into alcohol while being digested. So the reason they look so relaxed most of the time is they are pleasantly off their dial.

Like all ‘good’ drunks they can also have periods of being very angry. Koalas can be viciously little pricks. Do NOT attempt to engage with one in the wild no matter how cute they look. They will go ya and those tree hugging claws are strong and sharp.

The other point that many people fail to understand is that thousands of years of forced evolution has made the Australian bush something that WANTS to be burnt. Pre-1788 Australians practiced ‘fire stick’ farming and had been doing so for so long they completely changed the landscape. Basically you set fire to the local area as it removes all the undergrowth all the small prey animals like to hide in to make them easier to catch.

Do this for long enough and any plant that doesn’t like being burnt regularly packs up and leaves. (Pun!) What is left is the plants that are capable of withstanding fire conditions without actually dying until you get some plants that only release their seeds AFTER a major fire.

The Australian bush burns because it WANTS TO, and the only way to stop this is to remove the bush by land clearing or burning it under your terms and conditions small bits at a time. Dead organic doesn’t rot away. It just remains there slowly getting drier in the summer heat and slowly increasing in numbers. Either you clear it, or one day, one year, it is going to burn and it is going to burn until it wants to stop.

Then, with all the build up of fuel now gone, you will get no significant bushfires in that area for a generation because the organic remains need that long to build up again.

Climate Emergency has nothing to do with it.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
December 4, 2019 4:26 am

100% spot on!!

and i add the so called green farming leaving stubble to supposedly assisit the soils might work in eu or other spots where it stays damp enough to rot
in Aus its just dry crap to burn in areas we used to burnoff for weed control after grazing the stubble
and those spots didnt burn later in fires
and root material was still in the soil but not above

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Craig from Oz
December 4, 2019 7:41 am

In short it’s called a fire ecology.

December 3, 2019 11:50 am

Date seems to coincide with the ramp-up of “reporting” that was planned to apex in September. Odd coincidence.

David S
December 3, 2019 12:14 pm

This is what happens when you have science illiterate editors that are paid of by the banksters.

Bruce Cobb
December 3, 2019 12:20 pm

How about “Climate Schlimate”?

Ron Long
December 3, 2019 12:22 pm

So, Global Warming didn’t work, it sounded too much like yahoo, summer is here! Then Climate Change stalled out, it sounded too much like maybe we can go to the beach early this year? So, Climate Emergency, spiced with an angry how dare you! is the word of the year. When not enough people panic, as befits an emergency, what next? My money is on Climate Diarrhia! Go around shouting that and let me know how it works out. Thanks.

john cooknell
December 3, 2019 12:36 pm

An example of why I think we are wating our time. My local council declared a “climate emergency”, then quite surprisingly and paradoxically decided to build for themselves lots of housing on the River flood plain.

Before construction was finished we had a flood, as had happened many times before, ruined everything especially market value! the council blamed “unprecedented” climate change.

You could not make it up!

December 3, 2019 12:40 pm

Word of the Year: “Climate Buffoonery”

Nicholas McGinley
December 3, 2019 12:45 pm

Hey Mom!

Reed Coray
December 3, 2019 12:57 pm

I’ll start worrying when the morphing of AGW reaches its final state: “Climate Death.”

Rod Evans
December 3, 2019 1:10 pm

I guess “Mass Hysteria ” wasn’t available on their list then…

December 3, 2019 1:35 pm

Oxford, where you get two words for the price of one!

Another Ian
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
December 3, 2019 7:52 pm

Oxford, where you used to get a magnifying glass to get one word

December 3, 2019 1:36 pm

One can hope “climate emergency” gets “plutoed” (WoTY 2006) before it becomes a “dumpster fire” (WoTY 2016).

Robert W Turner
December 3, 2019 1:44 pm

I’m not so sure humans are intelligent enough as a species to survive a real existential threat.

Chris Hanley
December 3, 2019 1:46 pm

If comedy survives there will be lots of material for future comics but I feel a bit uncomfortable being part of a generation that becomes the subject of much hilarity and ridicule.

Andrew Dickens
December 3, 2019 2:06 pm

“Climate Emergency” – it will return to haunt them.

Coeur de Lion
December 3, 2019 2:30 pm

I’m worried that we are running out of words to express this emergency and it will start to fizzle out. We must try to generate some more. Viz. er, thuddenbluddenapocopiclypse?

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
December 3, 2019 5:06 pm

Try “epoxyclypse”. Once you use it, you’re stuck with it.

Mark Broderick
December 3, 2019 3:40 pm

“Gutfeld on ‘existential’ being word of the year”


“Word of the Year: “Climate Emergency”…”

“Isn’t that two words ?”

John Endicott
Reply to  Mark Broderick
December 4, 2019 8:36 am

“Isn’t that two words ?”

Math isn’t the lefts strong suit.

December 3, 2019 3:42 pm

“Oxford names ‘climate emergency’ its 2019 ‘Word of the Year”

Or maybe the phrase of the year?

December 3, 2019 4:15 pm

I’ve got your word of the year right here:

Climate Clusterf#*?!

December 3, 2019 4:21 pm

The climate emergency in Thailand right now is that it is 19C in a place where we need sweaters when it falls below 30C

December 3, 2019 5:08 pm

Someone please let me know when the Climate Doomsters finally give up and put the lights out in their auditorium?

When you have to keep relabeling and/or rebranding your product because it just is NOT being bought, then you fail to recognize that don’t nobody want it and it’s going to end up on the trash heap where it belongs.

December 3, 2019 5:17 pm

Climate Righteousness

Climate Entitlement

Climate Indoctrination

Climate Psychosis

Climate Zombie


… a few more of my own proposals for words of the year for the coming years, when nothing catastrophic happens ……………………… AGAIN.

Samuel Prentice
December 3, 2019 5:51 pm

It’s such a devastating “Word of the Year” that they’re already seeking new descriptions to make our normal climate seem more dire. I wonder if any of these people realize how pathetic they sound and how ridiculous they’ve become?

December 3, 2019 6:03 pm

Coming up next in 2020 is UN Tax.

December 3, 2019 6:08 pm

So, is 2019 going to be declared the warmest ever? Just wondering if Oxford will make “Warmest ever!” Word of the year in 2020 if this year does get declared so.

Anybody have a guess on what the anomaly will be? My guess is .031C +/- 2.6.C

We’re all doomed…




Patrick MJD
December 3, 2019 7:23 pm

There are pictures that show the flood in Venice in 1966 was worse than this year.

David Chappell
December 3, 2019 7:47 pm

One on the shortlist for adoption that has already been seen in print: Global Environment Change. It opens up the blame range considerably.

Patrick MJD
December 3, 2019 7:54 pm

Who uses the Oxford dictionary these days?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
December 4, 2019 12:08 pm

Dictionary! What’s that? Everybody uses spell check, silly.

December 4, 2019 7:36 am

Oxford almost got the right phrase. Amended:
“Climate-Fraud Emergency”


David Cage
December 5, 2019 10:52 am

I would challenge the Oxford union to debate ” This house believes that climate science peer review standards dismally fail Poundland suppliers Quality Assurance controls.” As even a engineering grunt I would happily stand for the motion against any of the best they can offer.

That is unless they can show be lab certification for the instruments and locations being adequate for 0.1 degree accuracy measurements and that must include at least ten of the used stations having at least fifty measurements taken around them to show that one measurement is enough to produce the average value for the hundred miles or so between measuring stations to 0.1 degrees.

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