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, dictionary.com 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.dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com 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 Dictionary.com 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 Dictionary.com all year.
Allyship across Dictionary.com The word allyship also brings together much of the lexicographical and educational work we did across Dictionary.com 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 Dictionary.com, 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💋
Christmas brings out the best and worst in many people the world over — thus, lighting a fire in the bellies of storytellers who wish to strike warm fuzzies or tantalising terror in reader’s hearts. You won’t find the warm fuzzy feeling here; that’s not what we do! Don’t forget the milk and cookies, you’re going to need some extreme comforting while reading this collection of frightful festive horror shenanigans!*
After releasing several best-selling anthology series, I wanted to do something new. Having worked with a tremendous number of authors over the years, I decided to gather some of my favourites together and do an unthemed book. [Best of Indie Horror, and The Best Of Indie Horror Christmas Edition] are the result of that idea. Inside the covers, you will find an array of styles covering a wealth of sub genres. I present you with, the best of indie horror. ~ Kevin J. Kennedy
I don’t have this blog just to #SupportIndieHorror, I LOVE reading indie horror, and that’s how this blog was born. Almost a decade later and things have only gotten better! And I’m far from alone – we’ve watched authors grow, get famous, watched their books turn into movies, it’s crazy! I love being able to turn to The Dark Defender and say “OMG, I’m friends with them!” We’ve watched this genre grow, too! It’s never been easier for us Extreme Horror fans to find someone new to check out. Keven put together a kick ass collection of indie authors for this book of crazy Christmas shenanigans! Some names you’ll surely recognize, and a few you’ll be reading for the first time here. Check out this line up…
The book begins the way all holidays should – with traditions! TRADITION by Steve Stred in this case. Jacob, a man obsessed with Christmas. His quest for this year’s family tree begins with a heavenly spa, but things go south (see what I did there 😂) quickly when Jacob makes his first cut into o tannenbaum.
From there, see what Lex H. Jones has in store on the TOP FLOOR: SEASONAL FURNISHINGS AND CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS. One of the men on the night shift janitorial crew, Thomas, finds a weird door while cleaning the department store he works in. He follows the path up the stairs and finds a whole floor of outdated Christmas supplies, and displays! As he looks around, he can’t believe how different it is from the way things are today. Then he starts to get dizzy… Doesn’t it seem odd to him that the doorway was blocked off and hidden behind a mural? He didn’t even think that maybe there’s a reason it was so well hidden. Now look at him. SMDH.
When we make our way back downstairs, RJ Roles pits scam artist against scam artist in PENNIES FOR SANTA. The generosity of strangers is bypassing Todd and his bell-ringer bucket this year. Seems that Santa’s little elves are working on something of their very own this season. As for Santa, well, read on …
CLITORIS KRAMPUS is one of my standouts among these cheerful holiday tales. Zoltán Komor brings us a love story where Mrs. Claus still adores her husband after all this time, and goes to great lengths to prove it. And that’s only the beginning, honey!
Veronica Smith fills us in on the true story of those creepy little trolls that follow Santa around in LET THE DAMN ELVES DIE ALREADY. It’s about little Candace, who saw her first elf at age six. Ten years later she sees the elves again, but this time it’s on HER terms.
Another stand out story from this collection is THE MALL SANTA by Eric Butler. After a failed job, a missing sister, and an eighteen month hiatus, a group of ‘friends’ reunite for one more score – they are going to rob Santa! Santa might have other plans though…
Patrick Reuman tells us a bedtime story about Santa’s origins in SANTA CLAWS. His real name, how he knows if you’ve been naughty or nice, and what happens to the naughty boys and girls after their parents lay them down for a long winter’s nap and Santa Claws comes to town.
I love the nod to The Devil’s Rejects in A LAST CHANCE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE by Matthew V. Brockmeyer. There’s a lot going on in this one, and is a little bleak. It’s a great story, but I kind of want to take a shower and shake it off, lol. There is a little light at the end of the tunnel – but not for everyone! Maybe that’s part of the miracle…
BLOOD, BULLETS, AND BAUBLES aren’t the only things in this festive short by David Owain Hughes. It also comes with hired assassins, zombie elves, and Klaws – you’ll find out exactly WHO he is when you read it.
You’ll find out that Matthew A. Clarke is about to bring us a fun yuletide yarn on the very first page of GOLDEN TICKET. The real ‘baubles’ show up one story late in the lineup! Telling your kids Christmas stories on Christmas Eve is a beautiful tradition, and it’s even more fun when you know you’re not supposed to be talking about this particular story. But, if you can’t talk about butt stuff on Christmas then what’s the point?
Kevin J. Kennedy wraps up this anthology by telling us a tale about a brother and sister that reunite to spend the holidays together for the first time since their parents died. Too bad they’re doing it in THE CHRISTMAS CABIN FROM HELL. Once they notice the three evil snowmen outside the only door, it’s probably already too late! I am really happy to tell you that this does not follow the typical horror movie formula, so Kev gets bonus points for that!
🎅 AUTHOR CONNECT / STALKING TIPS 🤶
Each of these author links lead to their Goodreads profile: Matthew V. Brockmeyer, Eric Butler, Matthew A. Clarke, David Owain Hughes, Lex H Jones, Kevin J. Kennedy, Zoltán Komor, Patrick Reuman, RJ Roles, Veronica Smith and Steve Stred
The Best of Indie Horror: Christmas Edition is available for FREE with Kindle Unlimited. Pick it up on Amazon now!
EDIT: That’s it for this one guys. It was scheduled to post days ago, but I screwed something up trying to schedule it, so… here we are. I have R&R many holiday horror anthologies over the years, I can’t get enough of ’em! Tell me what your favorite holiday collection is in the comments!
Steve Stred got me curious about other family holiday traditions… I want to hear about your family, and any weird things you might have to do every year. If you guys play along, I have a fun one to share with you!
P, L & N💋
HAVE YOU SEEN ME?
ORIGINAL POST Wed. 10:26 a.m. by Drew Stepek
Here’s the situation. Nik Robinson released a new title today called HAVE YOU SEEN ME? (obviously based on my favorite Gwar song). He’s in FB jail for being dopey. So, he can’t promote the title anywhere but Twitter, Vine, Ello, Parler, and MySpace. Nik has done so much promotion for everyone else that it goes without saying that you should help him out. Please. Please. Please. Pay it forward and help out our good friend. Oh. He can also post on YikYak, Friendfeed, and Google Plus. Nikolas P. Robinson
When his teenage daughter disappears, a former cop learns he will do anything to find her. In his search he will plummet to lows he’d never dreamt possible, braving trials that test the limits of his imagination and his intestinal fortitude.How far would you go to save the life of your only child?
#godless #godlesshorror #godlesshorrrors #horror #horrorbooks #horrorbookstagram #indiehorror #indiebooks #indiebookstagram #supportindie
‘If any live through the nightmare, they’ll wish they hadn’t!’
Hi, guys! I have no idea why, but I have been on my LinkedIn profile a lot more recently. Well, it has paid off, because I ran across this gem! THE SAWYER MASSACRE! I adore the Sawyers, I love every movie – especially the much hated Matthew McConaughey / Renée Zellweger classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation! So when this came up on my feed I giggled in delight 🤪
Bring the CHAINSAW back to TEXAS
The Sawyer Massacre is a feature length fan film and unofficial prequel to the iconic horror film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the film that inspired director, Steve Merlo to become a filmmaker! It’s also the first film to truly give him nightmares. It’s just simply the most realistic horror film ever made and there are moments where you actually forget that it’s just a film. It’s incredibly inspiring how subtle the filmmakers were able to display such strong messages and themes on the state of the social climate of that time period. In no way could that be duplicated but our script has small reflections of many similar themes happening today, paralleled with the social issues of the mid 60’s, which is when our film takes place.
It is our intent not to copy what the original did, but use it as influence in a stylistic way. Our film will have more blood and kills but will still be very subtle in it’s delivery.Steven Merlo/IndieGoGo
You can read all the details on LinkedIn & IndieGoGo, so go peep the deets – and maybe help get it fully funded! If you’re like me, and not able to help with donations, share the details and help spread the word!
Until next time – stay safe, stay healthy, and #SupportIndieHorror!!
P, L & N💋