What do you call it when you watch a bunch of episodes of your favorite show back-to-back? If you call is “binge-watching,” then you’re a part of a trend in the English language. Use of the term “binge-watch” is on the rise, and that’s led Collins, a UK dictionary, to name it the Word of the Year.
The term is growing ever more popular thanks to a rise in streaming services like Netflix, but it’s actually waited in the wings for a long time before earning the spotlight, according to Collins. “Binge-watching” has been a thing since at least the 1990s, though it wasn’t used nearly as often as it now is. The phrase gained traction in our brave new world of on-demand content, and it saw a particular spike in usage this year, which is how it earned the honor of being named Word of the Year.
Collins tracked the usage of words in all kinds of content – including newspapers, books, and websites – to determine their 2015 winner. Their methods also uncovered some strong runners-up, including transgender, which took second place after an exponential rise in usage this year. Like “binge-watch,” of course, “transgender” is not a new word – but we’re using it twice as often as we did last year.
Other finalists for the word of the year include “dadbod” (a somewhat out-of-shape male body, generally a positive term) and “manspreading” (taking up too much room on public transit by spreading one’s legs).