It’s official: ‘Knuffelcontact’ is the Word of the Year


The cutest word in Flanders has won the Word of the Year competition, while the kids chose an Arabic greeting and teenagers a concept popularised on TikTok

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As expected, knuffelcontact has been named Word of the Year by the Van Dale Dutch-language experts, following a public vote. The word literally translates to “cuddle contact” or “hug buddy” and refers to the one close contact outside of one’s household as required by coronavirus regulations.

Most of the nominated words this year had to do with the coronavirus, but knuffelcontact left them all in the dust with 53.3% of the vote. In second place was covidioot (a play on the words Covid and idioot, or idiot), trailing behind with 8.7%. In third place was hoestschaamte (feeling sheepish about coughing) at 7.3%.

The contest, which has a separate edition in the Netherlands, also includes a Junior Word of the Year, in co-operation with kids’ media network Ketnet. Of the five nominees this year, ewa drerrie came out on top. Technically two words, it’s a greeting in Moroccan Arabic basically translated as “hey there” and is desperately popular among pre-teens in Flanders.

As for teenagers, they have a Word of the Year, too, an initiative launched by VRT’s channel for young people on Instagram. They voted “simp” the Word of the Year, a word popularised by the TikTok video app. When a guy does something to get a girl’s attention, and it fails disastrously, he is welcomed to the “Simp Nation”.

Nearly 25,000 people voted for the World of the Year, with nearly 20,000 voting via Ketnet for Junior Word of the Year, and a whopping 35,400 cast their vote on Instagram for Teenager Word of the Year.

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