The 2021 Word Of The Year is…
extending back beyond memory, record, or knowledge.
Immemorial “extending back beyond memory or knowledge” ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin adjective immemoriālis, equivalent to the Latin negative or privative prefix im-, a variant of –in, and (liber) memoriālis “record (book).” Immemorial entered English in the early 17th century.
Practical foresters contend and can demonstrate that from time immemorial fire has been the salvation and preservation of our California sugar and white pine forests.
Perhaps the most esoteric of the European minority nations is the nation of Wales, Cymru in Welsh, which lives in the flank of England cherishing its own immemorial culture, squabbling and demanding more independence from the United Kingdom.
a fussy or needlessly fault-finding person.
Fussbudget “one who is fussy or needlessly faultfinding” is a transparent compound of the nouns fuss “bustle, commotion” and budget “itemized list of funds or expenses.” The word entered English in the early 20th century; it became associated with the character Lucy Van Pelt in the comic strip Peanuts in the 1960s.
He was a fussbudget. His interest in ideas didn’t match his interest in small, and often silly, facts. Much of the time he saw neither the forest nor the trees but only a bit of the undergrowth.
“Friends,” the ever-popular television comedy, has already directed the action away from Chandler, the fussbudget, and Ross, the whiny paleontologist, to Joey of the big biceps and unambiguous urges.
the principle of living a balanced, moderately paced, low-fuss life.
The uncommon English noun lagom “the principle of living a balanced, moderate life” comes from Swedish lagom, a fossil noun form in the dative plural used as an adverb meaning “just right, just the thing,” literally “according to custom or common sense.” Lagom comes from an unattested Old Norse plural neuter noun lagu “what is laid down,” which in Old Icelandic becomes lǫg “law, laws.” The Old Norse neuter plural noun lagu was taken into late Old English as a feminine singular noun lagu by the year 1000, becoming lawe in Middle English, and law in English. Lagom entered English in the mid-1930s.
In the bigger picture, the balance of lagom goes way beyond emotional wellbeing and interior design to become all about belonging and shared responsibility—not just fitting in, but being part of a greater entity.
Many of the rituals, recipes and decoration ideas that filled out last year’s mountain of hygge books would fall outside the lagom threshold. To Swedes, they’d seem fussy, a bit much.