Oxford Dictionaries is delighted to announce the inaugural Hindi Word of the Year

>>The Hindi Word of the Year for 2017 is AADHAAR


The foundation on which all the weight of an object or idea is hinged (traditional)

12-digit unique identification number issued by the government to all Indians (modern)

27th January 2018 (Jaipur Literary Festival, India) – Today, Oxford Dictionaries announces ‘Aadhaar’ as its Hindi Word of the Year for 2017.

The Hindi Word of the Year is a word or expression that has attracted a great deal of attention and reflects the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the past year.

‘Aadhaar’ is a word long established in the Hindi language.  However, it gained a new sense in 2010 as the shorthand name for the Aadhaar Card i.e. Unique Identification Numbers (UIN) introduced by the then government of Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.  This new sense of the word has been at the centre of the national conversation in 2017 as moves to mandate expansion of the programme to bank accounts and phone numbers have resulted in significant debates around the merits and risks of the programme.  2017 has been the year of several high-profile court cases and reports of data leaks which have influenced public opinion.  Regardless of individual views on ‘Aadhaar’, 2017 has certainly been the year where the word has become a focus of conversations across the country.  This is why it has been chosen as Oxford Dictionaries Hindi Word of the Year.

The Word of the Year was formally announced on Saturday 27th January at the Jaipur Literature Festival where it was subject of a panel discussion with Ashok Vajpeyi, Hindi poet, literary and cultural critic, Saurabh Dwivedi, Editor at TheLallentop and former Associate Editor of India Today, Pankaj Dubey, writer, producer and director, Vinod Dua, Hindi journalist and Padma Shri award-holder, Anu Singh Choudhary, writer, translator and filmmaker, and Chitra Mudgal, one of the leading literary figures of modern Hindi literature.

The Hindi Word of the Year was chosen by the Oxford Dictionaries team in India with the help of an advisory panel of language experts:

  • Kritika Agrawal, lawyer, polyglot and Indian language expert
  • Saurabh Dwivedi, journalist, Editor-in-Chief of thelallantop.com and former Associate Editor at AajTak
  • Mallika Ghosh, Senior Editorial Manager at Oxford University Press, India
  • Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher and co-founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival and Mountain Echoes, the Bhutan Literature Festival.
  • Dr Poonam Nigham Sahay, Associate Professor at Ranchi University

On being a member of the selection panel, Namita Gokhale says, “It has been exciting and stimulating to search the words that describe and exemplify the spirit of 2017.”

Oxford University Press India Managing Director, Sivaramakrishnan V, says: “We are delighted to announce the very first Oxford Dictionaries Hindi Word of the Year (HWOTY). We received an excellent response, both in terms of numbers and variety of words, to our invitation to suggest a word that had resonance with the masses in 2017. I take this opportunity to thank the distinguished external panel, for picking a very worthy entry, and everyone else from the public who made a recommendation on our invitation.”

He added “In 2016, Oxford University Press launched a Hindi dictionary website in response to a large and growing number of Hindi language users. We are confident that HWOTY will further help in raising awareness and interest in the Hindi language.”

Hindi Word of the Year shortlist

The Hindi Word of the Year and the accompanying shortlist has been selected as they reflect the social, cultural, political and economic trends and events that have been part of 2017. The list includes newly coined words as well as older words that have taken on new meaning or have particular resonance in 2017.  The shortlisted words are:

Notebandi 1. Excluding notes of specific value classes from circulation

Swachh     1. Clean living and pure surroundings

  1. Transparent and corruption free arrangement

Vikaas      1. Taking action to move towards a better stage

  1. A better quality of life with happiness

Yoga         1. Balanced coordination of body, mind, and emotions

Bahubali   1. A person capable of doing any work through strength of courage and physical strength

  1. A politically influential person
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