Every year the Le Petit Larousse dictionary releases a new edition with “new” words added to reflect up-to-date usage of the French language. Many of these words describe current and new trends, and are already being widely used in French-speaking society before they are formalised in the dictionary.
Although “déconfinement” isn’t among the 150 new words added this year, the 2021 edition does include “hipstérisation”, meaning the transformation of a place upon the arrival of "hipsters".
“Influencer” has also made an appearance, as has “zèbre” meaning “a gifted person… who goes beyond the normal expectations of someone described as gifted, high potential or a precocious child”.
“Fugalisme” entails “living below your means and saving money in order to stop working before the legal retirement age, at around 35 years old, with the objective of removing yourself from consumerist society". This sits well alongside “lagom”, a Swedish lifestyle philosophy prioritising simplicity, the natural world, and moderation.
Danish “hygge” (a mood of cosiness, comfort, wellness, and contentment) has also been added.
“Coronavirus” has been present in the dictionary for some time, although this year its definition has been updated to acknowledge that a new strain discovered at the end of 2019 “is responsible for a large-scale epidemic".
The word “antivax”, describing a popular movement opposed to certain vaccines or vaccinations, is another new addition for 2021.
New political French words
Many new political words have also been included in the 2021 edition.
“Dégagisme” describes the state of either not voting or revolting as a means of rejecting and rebelling against the powerful, without wanting to take their place. Meanwhile “gréviculture” describes an “almost systematic tendency to go on strike… as a preamble to any dialogue or negotiation".
An “illibéral” is someone opposed to liberal principles such as the separation of power, independence of justice, the rule of law and individual liberty.
New word “Infox” is a play on words combining the French word for news, “infos”, and the word “faux” or false, to refer to fake news.
Megan Rapinoe and Greta Thunberg
In total the 2021 edition of Le Petit Larousse includes more than 63,500 words and 28,000 names.
Each year, alongside new words, current notable figures are also added to the dictionary. This year these include climate change protester Greta Thunberg, American footballer Megan Rapinoe, and Italian writer Elena Ferrante.
The 2021 edition of Le Petit Larousse will be available in bookshops from June 3.
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