Events New Stuff Words, Words, Words’s 2021 Word Of The Year Is …

Do you remember last year’s WOTY?

I know some if you guys aren’t into my obsession with words, but I don’t think I’ve missed a WOTY post since I started. That being said, is one of my favorite dictionary sites. Oooo… I wonder if I could get a sponsorship?! Probably not when the next post will most likely contain 42 f-bombs, a couple c-words, and something obscene and objectable! Sigh. You can be smart and still be a weirdo or pervert. Visit their site next time you look something up, or after you read this!

2021 was a year defined by the many ongoing impacts of the pandemic and the polarization of 2020—and the various ways we continue to grapple with them.

The vastness of such a year could never be fully summarized with a single word. But there is one word that’s intertwined with so many of the things we’ve experienced in 2021: allyship, our 2021 Word of the Year.

allyship (noun): the status or role of a person who advocates and actively works for the inclusion of a marginalized or politicized group in all areas of society, not as a member of that group but in solidarity with its struggle and point of view and under its leadership.

As our Word of the Year for 2021, allyship carries a special distinction this year: It marks the first time we’ve chosen a word that’s new to our dictionary as our Word of the Year. Our addition of the word allyship to our dictionary in 2021—not to mention our decision to elevate it as our top word for the year—captures important ways the word continues to evolve in our language and reflects its increased prominence in our discourse. Allyship acts as a powerful prism through which to view the defining events and experiences of 2021—and, crucially, how the public processed them.

It also serves as a compelling throughline for much of our lexicographical, editorial, and educational work across and Eeeeeee3 the noun ally, “a person who advocates for or supports a marginalized or politicized group but is not a member of the group,” and –ship, a noun-forming suffix here denoting “status, condition.” This specific sense of the word ally is, notably, one we also updated this year.

Developing out of the word’s general meaning of “supporter,” the application of ally in contexts of social justice is first evidenced as early as the 1940s in an article by Albert W. Hamilton on “allies on the front of racial justice” for Black people. The article, notably, features the term white allies, which has proliferated ever since. Another now-common term, straight allies—non-LGBTQ+ supporters of the LGBTQ+ community—dates back to at least the 1970s.

📚 Did you know? While the word allyship dates back to the mid-1800s, the word ally itself is much older in the English language. It’s first recorded around 1250–1300, ultimately coming into French from the Latin alligāre, “to bind together, combine, unite,” which is in turn based on ligāre, “to bind.” This Latin verb is the source of many other English words, including alloy, league, ligament, obligation, religion, and rely.

While newly added to our dictionary this year, allyship is, of course, not a new word in the English language. It’s first attested around 1850 in a broader sense of “the relationship or status of persons, groups, or nations associating and cooperating with one another for a common cause.” Its primary meaning today—when a person who is not a member of a marginalized group works for its inclusion in society—spread in the 1990s.

But use of the word allyship skyrocketed in the past 15 years. In fact, since 2011, frequency of the word, according to our data analyses from various corpora (big, searchable collections of texts), has surged an average of over 700%, including a steep rise in 2020 that continued into 2021. The word ally itself landed within the top 850 of the many thousands of search terms that led people to this year. What’s more, the top related search for allyship in 2021 is definitional in nature: what is allyship, which underscores the timeliness and relevance of our adding allyship this year.

Allyship at work, school, and home Topics people searched in conjunction with allyship in 2021 also reveal how the word brings together themes that defined many of our work, school, and home lives over this year—including new and newly prominent vocabulary that we used to talk about them. One of these searches was workplace. Indeed, as the country continued to reckon with racism in 2021, many businesses and organizations began efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI for short. These efforts extended into the classroom, where critical race theory (CRT), both as a term and topic, became a defining flashpoint in 2021. Work and school were also defined by COVID-19 vaccines—as well as antivax opposition to them and the disease’s Delta, Omicron, and other named variants.We added the word allyship this year to document its specific sense that has become more prevalent in recent years. But the word continues to evolve: In 2021, allyship was increasingly discussed in relation to historically marginalized groups, especially Black and LGBTQ+ communities. There was also noticeable discussion of engaging in allyship for other specific groups: for parents balancing work and childcare during school shutdowns, especially mothers taking on the bulk of caregiving. For healthcare workers, teachers, flight attendants, and retail and service industry workers. For all of the people disproportionately burdened by a pandemic that has claimed over 5 million lives—and counting, even as many of us try to get back to some kind of normal. Shows of support and advocacy for these groups in 2021 point to ways in which the term allyship is giving name to ever more nuanced ideas of social justice and is increasingly being extended to contexts of support outside of racial, gender, and sexual identity, such as disability and economic status.

Allyship in news and culture The word allyship also brings together many of the defining new stories of 2021: anti-Asian racism; the Chauvin and Rittenhouse trials; Britney Spears’s conservatorship; Simone Biles’s twisties and the mental health of athletes; the Great Resignation; the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and its impacts, including on the country’s women and girls as well as all who served and died in the war; media coverage of violent crimes and the phenomenon known as “missing white woman syndrome” (um, WTH is this missing white woman syndrome phenomenon?!); and that collective, pervasive feeling of burnout, all amid an unrelenting climate emergency. These events were notable not only in their own right, of course, but also because of the ways we largely reacted to and discussed them through the lens of who gets a voice, who deserves empathy, and who and what is valued. This was a lens of allyship.

According to corpus data, the word that, far and away, most commonly precedes allyship is performative. The three next most frequent collocations are true, white, and real. Despite the best intentions of societal efforts to foster allyship, use of the term allyship is frequently concerned about how such efforts often fall short and what it means to be an authentic ally.

📝 What’s performative allyship? In the context of allyship, the word performative is often used in contrast with what’s considered real or true allyship. Describing people’s actions as performative suggests that they are simply “playing the part” of being an ally instead of actually supporting the people they claim to—often by centering themselves in the situation.In this sense, allyship is often considered a status that must be continuously earned—not one that’s simply declared by oneself and worn like a merit badge. In other words, allyship can be understood as an ongoing journey, not a final destination. Not unlike a dictionary: always updating, never a finished product.On the other side of the spectrum, the use of words like allyship is sometimes criticized as “woke for the sake of being woke”—often as a way of dismissing the very idea that inequality exists among different groups.On the other side of this lens, on the other side of allyship, is the division that came to a disturbing and deadly head in the event that opened 2021: the attack on the US Capitol on January 6. It was a defining moment not only for politics this year, but also for the history of our democracy. The attack sent searches for insurrection, coup, sedition, and related words to some of the highest-trending levels on all year.

Allyship across The word allyship also brings together much of the lexicographical and educational work we did across in 2021.This year, we continued updating our dictionary to better document and describe the changing language of identity and justice in society. Significant areas we addressed were: Accessibility language: Examples include new entries for screen reader, alt text, and various distinct types of captioning. DEI topics and terms: Examples include entries for DEI, JEDI, CRT, UBI, and minoritize. Disability language: Examples include extensive notes at special, disability, and disabled discussing person-first vs. identity-first language for disabilities, and the preference of straightforward disabled or with a disability over older terms (handicapped) and overly euphemistic language (special, challenged). Homelessness: Examples include new entries for unhoused and unsheltered and replacing most descriptions of people as homeless with these new terms or with experiencing homelessness. Identity language: Examples include new entries for AAPI and BIPOC, revising entries to capitalize Indigenous when referring to people, and replacing the noun slave with enslaved person. Mental Health: Examples include new entries for content warning and trigger warning. Minoritized religions: Examples include revisions to Voodoo and related entries. Nonnative speakers: Examples include translanguaging, which is increasingly preferred to code-switching.Altogether, these updates touched hundreds of entries. Our lexicographers also updated our thesaurus to include scores of nonbinary pronouns, such as xe and zie.

Read more about many of these changes, along with ongoing COVID, tech, pop culture, and other updates to our dictionary, in our spring and summer announcements.

Supporting these updates was an array of editorial content providing in-depth context on these often confusing—and challenging—areas of language change.This content—amounting to over 60 articles—spanned defining identity terms and DEI topics (e.g., CODA, cultural competence) to providing more inclusive coverage of important occasions across diverse peoples and cultures (e.g., BIPOC Mental Health Month, International Transgender Day of Remembrance, Onam, Installation of Guru Granth Sahib) and extensive explainers on some of the most pressing topics of language and identity today. Some highlights of the latter include: The Language Of Ageism: Understanding How We Talk About Older People, The Evolving Language Around The Autism Spectrum: What You Need To Know, How To Talk About Mental Health: Do’s, Don’ts, And Words To Know, Understanding The Caribbean: The Countries, People, And Words That Come From The Region, Understanding Native American Heritage: The Tribes, Languages, And Culture, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Columbus Day, And The Language Of Indigenous Identities, How To Use Gender-Neutral Language To Promote Inclusivity, Allyship in education.

This year at, we’ve been committed more than ever before to becoming an education ally. From building out the features of Grammar Coach™ and the Dictionary Academy™ to bringing the learning-management system Skillo into our company, we continue to expand our offerings as a dictionary and thesaurus into more robust educational products to meet the real needs of teachers and learners in a variety of learning environments.Allyship into the future.

Finally, allyship has the power to bring us all together. In trying and divided times, the word allyship sounds a much-needed note of hope, optimism, and possibility for the future—hopefully a future in which the word is not just given lip service, but lived out.

Here’s to hoping we can all get allied around that.

That’s it for this one, guys! That copy and paste just wears me out! 😂🤣 I will see you shortly, many surprises ahead…

P, L, & N💋


Events Horror New Stuff

For All Your Extreme Needs…

Godless Horror has arrived!


American Horror Story New Stuff TV

#AHS10 – Season Title Announced

#ExtremeQuarantining Art Horror New Stuff

Horror Artist Becky Doyon Has Great #Coronageddon Wear!


I love a random Horror Art search on Google, but I ran into Becky’s work on LinkdIn. Weird, right? Not as weird as it used to be… I’ve been connecting with a bunch of horror authors and others in the Horror community there. People are becoming more accepting, or horror is more acceptable – IDK, but it’s about time!

Anyway… online, online, online, and I see her ‘Wear A Mask’ piece! OMG, it’s awesome! Check out all four Covid inspired ones. (I posted them a little larger down at the bottom.)

I went to her site to see everything, and she has a store, yay!! These are on shirts 😁🤘 NOTE TO ARTIST: You know what you NEED to be selling Bec – FACEMASKS! I would SO wear a ‘face’ facemask!!

They come on different shirts, tote bags, iPhone covers, and hangable prints for home or work. Oh, dog tags, too! Neat! This isn’t a sales pitch I swear to Dog, I’m just excited. If there was a textbook horror nerd, it would be me! If she sold stickers…


You can check out more of of Becky Doyon‘s work on her website, and here’s her Instagram. If you’d like to commission something she’s on LinkdIn. Ok, that was fun for a minute. But, you know what all the sites are for… (not JUST stalking anymore!) Connect via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

book discussions Horror New Stuff

Aron Beauregard’s ‘Scary Bastard’ Got a Facelift!

I love this picture thingy, and don’t care what it’s intended use is!

– Some New Content As Well –

When I picked up TRY THE NEW CANDY and saw the added bonus of the illustrations I knew I’d found something special. Now I look forward to the illustrations almost as much as new stories – almost. Both covers are cool, but who doesn’t love an unattached head?! The slick ass new cover is just in time for this Halloween slasher, too! It may not stick around, so you should make sure you own both… It’s money in the bank – one will be a collectors item.

You’ve read it, right? If I heard a ‘no’ out there somewhere, it’s the perfect time to fix that faux pas. Scary Bastard expands on one of the SSs in Try The New Candy. The book just celebrated it’s first birthday, and it grew two whole chapters for it’s b-day! Now the slick ass cover is on ‘The Author’s Preferred Edition‘ 😉 What better time than a brisk October night to read a blood drenched tale that takes place on Halloween, and is packed with more craziness than a normal person could handle?! NEVER! There’ll never be a better time than now! So… stop trying to pretend you’re normal, and GO GET SCARY BASTARD!

What do a child killer, a hopeful special effects artist, a duo of budding teen psychopaths, a student screwing teacher and a mutated maniac with his lower jaw missing have in common? They’re all out this Halloween. How will their paths cross? Who’s killing who? Can anyone survive the bloodbath or are they all destined to drown in a pool of warm red? This slasher nightmare gives you a seat beside the killer but don’t get too comfortable, there’s a Scary Bastard on the loose… (This book includes 9 horrifying illustrations to guide you through the terror!) 


Buy SCARY BASTARD on Amazon, rate it on Goodreads, then check out the author’s page to see what else you’ve missed! Don’t miss my first read – Try The New CandyAmazon & Goodreads. You can stalk, ahem, connect with Aron on social media – Instagram, Facebook, and @AronHorror on Twitter.


I always tell you guys not to pass up the author’s notes, and here is no exception. You never know what you might learn, or miss. BTW, Aron’s dog has got the coolest name EVER!

What else are you reading this Halloween? Is Trick or Treating canceled where you live due to #Coronageddon? Talk to me – in the comments, or email . Until next time… Stay safe, not scared!

Peace, Love & Necrophilia 💋




  hours  minutes  seconds


👻 Samhain / Halloween 🎃

Horror New Stuff TV

It’s Medication Time!

I’m about to start my binge on the latest show in the ‘Murphyverse’ – RATCHED. It sounded (at first) like it was to be the origin story of Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest… (OMG, how cool is this gonna be!).

Louise Fletcher and Sarah Paulson as Nurse Ratched

Well, as much as I try to avoid anyone elses reviews before I read/watch/consume anything, a few opinions have gotten past my blinders. That doesn’t mean I’m making any judgements, but I think I’m going to go be more prepared for AHS: Pandemic Placeholder. That’s still awesome in my book! Besides, I’m going to miss this year’s American Horror Story post/discussion, so this will help.

I know Ryan Murphy CAN do the story I want, because I thought FEUD was great! It didn’t have the signature AHS feel, even though you knew it was Ryan Murphy’s show. ( I feel the need to keep repeating – That IS a good thing!)

But it is looking like it is not going to be the tragic story behind Ken Kesey’s (or even Miloš Forman’s) Nurse Ratched that I’m about binge. The article that slipped past my radar says that if you changed the name of the title character, you could just re-name this as American Horror Story: Asylum – But Not That One.

So, maybe I will be getting my AHS:2020 after all…

So, I’m still excited! The trailer looks fun & fucked up, as do the characters. Is anyone else going to be watching tonight? I’m curious to hear what other rego people like me are thinking right now, and after the first episode. IDC about all the other reviews, but what’s our horror community saying? Please, let’s discuss!!

I’ll keep you posted. Until then… stay safe, not scared!

P, L & N 💋


#coronageddon Free Horror Movies New Stuff

Want to watch a horror movie with me?

I just heard about a indie horror movie – THE ISOLATION HORRORS, on the Everything Horror podcast. Here’s the IMDb and Official Teaser Trailer –

What it’s about-

After finding a bloody face mask in the street during an epidemic outbreak, a concerned neighbour calls his home-isolating friends to check on them. Meanwhile the friends are experiencing their own horrors in their homes during lockdown.

“THE ISOLATION HORRORS” is a short film anthology intended for online release, created by London-based filmmakers during home-isolation.

The five short films are made under the rules:

  • Shoot in your place of isolation;
  • Shoot on your phone;
  • Make horror films.

The five filmmakers came up with their own concepts, goals, style and expression under these rules creating five very different horror short films, using few resources and limited technical gear available, inspired by the lockdown, and strung together by producer Nicolai Kornum.

So, like I said… want to watch a horror movie with me? Sorry we can’t NETFLIX & CHILL, but we can YOUTUBE AND BLOG! (I wish I would have set up the chat here, it would have been like the good ol’ days back at Zombie Fiend!)

I’m going to wait a little bit, then watch it here. Want to join me? It’s only about 25 minutes long, and looks pretty cool. We can text in the comments maybe? Idk how it will work out, but if you’d like to stare at a screen at the same time as me – meet me back here at say… 5:00ish (in about an hour and a half ). We might not even be able to communicate, but we’ll never know if we don’t try sometime! If I don’t see you then, then I’ll see you later. Until then, stay safe, and stay scary – not scared!

Peace, Love & Necrophilia 💋


book discussions Book Reviews Extreme Horror Horror New Stuff

TWO MINDS: 50 Shades Of Fucked Up – An Extreme Horror Novel by Matt Shaw & Sam West


My rating: 4 of 5 stars  ⋆⋆⋆⋆

These two authors are a match made in… well, Heaven for me!
I’ve been a fan of Matt’s for a very long time. When I stumbled across Sam’s work not very long after, the two people who introduced me to Matt said I’d enjoy Sam’s writing as well – (thank you Suzanne and Cathy!) – and they were right.
IMO, Sam West’s stories have been getting increasingly better this year, and this collaboration came at the perfect time for both of them.

“Two Minds” is told through the viewpoint of the two characters living the story.

The woman – convinced the man she is talking to is responsible for her sister’s disappearance – and the man… Who is he? Did he have anything to do with the sudden disappearance of Samantha’s sister or is he nothing more than an innocent bystander?

Only one thing is for sure… After this night, neither of them will be the same again.

I wish the ending were a little… ‘beefier’ (for lack of a better term, or perfect tongue in cheek?).  I just felt like I needed a bit more there, but that’s only one readers opinion.  I love how it was written. It’s a great style, and I bet we’ll see more authors experimenting with it. This story, (plus the little preview I had), has got me even more excited for The Devil’s Guests!! Have you been looking for something a bit more twisted than usual? The Devil’s Guests is gonna do things to you that no book has done before – trust!

A note to the authors… your introduction(s) made me laugh out loud at work. Thank you for helping convince my boss I’m a lunatic for sitting down to read “50 SHADES OF FUCKED UP” on my break, and giggling.

View more reviews

Buy TWO MINDS on Amazon

Check out the READ MORE section below for a look at THE DEVIL’S GUESTS


book discussions New Release New Stuff

Do I have any Anita Blake fans here?


Is anyone else feeling an Anita Blake /
Merry Gentry mash-up coming on?!?!

New Stuff Podcasts Shenanigans

Episode 1 of The Smitherd and Shaw Podcast ‘Are You Sure?’ is out now!

Its official! Episode 1 of the podcast is out now!

It’s the inaugural episode of the internet’s latest piece of attention seeking audio: Are You Sure? With Smitherd and Shaw! In this debut show they weigh up the pros and cons of the hot non-issues of the day: Zoos and Selfies. We find out that Matt doesn’t know what the word inaugural means, and hear about Luke getting offended at the London Book Fair. Plus: an all-too-brief visit from Officer Bronkowitz, Matt teeing off camera-based tourist troubles, and Luke inventing something that, as it turns out, already exists. There’s also the first instalments of soon-to-be regular features Transatlantic Swearing, It’ll Never Work, Power Rants with Kit Power and Book Or We Can’t Say Here Or We’ll Get In Trouble. Get on board now and you can say you were an AYSWSAS fan while it was still in the gutter. The bottom of the gutter, really. Download and subscribe here!

Visit The official ARE YOU SURE? with Smitherd and Shaw Facebook Page