Words related to vaccines have spiked in frequency in 2021 due to Covid, with double-vaxxed, unvaxxed, anti-vaxxer, vax cards and vax sites all seeing a surge in use. Senior Editor OED Fiona McPherson says vax was an obvious choice as it has made ‘the most striking impact’. “It goes back at least to the 1980s, but according to our corpus it was rarely used until this year,” she said. “When you add to that its versatility in forming other words – vaxxie, vax-a-thon, vaxinista – it became clear that vax was the standout in the crowd.” Vax and vaxx are both accepted spellings but the form with one x is more common. Apologies to jab, shot and “Fauci ouchie.” Oxford Languages’s 2021 Word of the Year is “vax.” All of these words ultimately come from the Latin word vacca, which means cow. According to the OED, this is due to English physician and scientist Edward Jenner’s pioneering work on vaccination against smallpox using cowpox – a mild infection that occurs in cows – in the late 1790s and early 1800s. Previously the word Vaxxed has been used as the title of a Film Series.