Labour leader Ed Miliband is credited with coining the phrase
But today academics at Oxford University Press will name it as the global Word of the Year for expressing a very different meaning.
It’s official definition is: “The section of society regarded as particularly affected by inflation, wage freezes, and cuts in public spending during a time of economic difficulty, consisting principally of those people on low or middle incomes.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband is credited with coining the phrase when he said his aim in politics was to stand up for the “squeezed middle”.
Language experts in both the UK and the US have been impressed with how quickly the expression has taken hold and become commonplace. Oxford Dictionaries spokeswoman Susie Dent said: “The speed with which ‘squeezed middle’ has taken root, and the likelihood of its endurance, made it a good candidate for Word of the Year.”
Other contenders were Arab Spring (political uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East), hacktivism (gaining unauthorised access to computer files), Occupy (an international movement protesting against perceived economic injustice), phone hacking (the action or practice of gaining access to data stored in another person’s phone), and sodcasting (playing music through the loudspeaker of a mobile phone while in a public place).
Ms Dent added: “It is not a jolly set. If there was no obvious winner, there was a very clear prevailing mood.
“Financial hardship and protest on an almost unprecedented scale have scored our language deeply, and frivolous word-play was hard to find.” However, the panel did consider bunga bunga, to describe former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s infamous parties, and fracking, the forcing open of fissures in rocks with liquid at high pressure to extract oil or gas.
Wednesday November 23,2011 – By Nathan Rao