The Radish’s 2022 Word of the Year: “The”

The Radish’s 2022 Word of the Year: “The”

Sarah Tachau

The Radish’s pick for its 2022 word of the year is simple, yet revolutionary: “the.” The most used word across all Radish media, the was featured 5,435,678 times, a 467% increase from 2021, and by far the most it has ever been featured in Radish history. This word does not have a formal definition; but frankly, people who don’t know what the means shouldn’t be reading the Radish.

The dates all the way back to the Mesozoic Era, with the Tyrannosaurus rex allegedly muttering a noise that resembled the sound of “the” after catching prey. In old English, the was pronounced “thē,” and it was frequently used in casual conversation. Since then, the has become foundational in nearly every spoken language, as well as a critical component in the names of some top tier publications.

No other word encapsulates the aura of 2022 as well as the. Fresh out of an unprecedented pandemic, many people were feeling a sense of distrust in the world around them; in turn, they found comfort in the concrete, traditional components of the English language. Henry Stevens, Linguistic Trends Specialist for The New York Times explained this phenomenon, “‘The’ would not be on your typical middle school spelling bee, and there’s a reason for that: society has universally accepted this word as common knowledge. Everything else is lies.” 

Merriam Webster’s word of the year was “gaslighting:” a confusing term that many readers think they understand (because Merriam Webster readers are very intelligent) but are actually terribly mistaken and crazy for thinking they understand such a complex word. The Radish knows what’s best for its readers and promotes trustworthy words like the

Though predicting the 2023 word of the year is slightly impossible, the Radish has its bets on “a.” In the meantime, 2022 will forever be known as the year of the.