Slinging slang

Academy of the Hebrew Language picks ‘lunacy’ as its word of 2021

After thousands of online votes, word beats out 'vaccine,' 'mutation' and 'booster' for top spot

A girl is entertained by clowns as she waits in the control room after being injected with a dose of the Soberana-02 vaccine for COVID-19 in Havana, Cuba, August 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

The Academy of the Hebrew Language announced on Thursday that its word of the year for 2021 is tirlul, best translated into English as “lunacy.”

The announcement was timed to coincide with Hebrew Language Day, marked on Thursday.

More than 9,000 participants voted on nine finalists, and “lunacy” was the runaway winner with 32% of the vote, followed by hisun, vaccine, with 17%, tashnit, or mutation, with 12% and dahaf, or booster, with 10%.

The Academy suggested that in old-fashioned slang, the word tralala was used as a nickname for somebody who was easily distracted or misled. About four decades ago, the academy said, the adjective meturlal developed as slang for someone crazy, alongside the verb letarlel, to annoy, harass or irk.

In June, Israeli pop star Noa Kirel released a hit called “Trilili Tralala.”

The word tirlul, the academy claims, is not etymologically connected to the common internet slag “to troll,” referring to someone who seeks to instigate online arguments with inflammatory comments on social media.

The academy’s wish for 2022? “That no words linked to COVID will be among the finalists for word of the year.”

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