The phrases that defined 2022 |


With the war in Ukraine and increasingly strident threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin, the specter of nuclear war looms over the world for the first time in decades. “We haven’t faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis” in 1962, US President Joe Biden warned in October. Experts warned of the most dangerous situation in memory, with fears not limited to Russia: North Korea’s nuclear noise has reached new heights, with the world preparing for a first nuclear test since 2017.

london bridge

At 6:30 p.m. on September 8, Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth had died, ending the longest reign of a monarch in British history and sending shockwaves around the world. For 10 days, Britons paid tribute to the only monarch they had ever known, following a series of carefully choreographed ceremonies. The event programme, known as ‘London Bridge’, detailed every aspect of protocol, right down to BBC presenters in black ties. In this case, he died in Scotland, which means that special provisions came into force: Operation Unicorn.

SEE ALSO: Royal news: Meghan and Harry reality show on the cards?

Loss and damage

World leaders and negotiators descended on the Egyptian Red Sea port city of Sharm el-Sheikh for the latest United Nations summit (COP27) on the fight against climate change. After a contentious summit widely seen as poorly organised, agreement was reached on a “loss and damage” fund to help vulnerable countries deal with the devastating impacts of climate change. Behind the institutional-sounding name lies destruction for millions of people in the developing world. The COP summit was hailed as historic, but many expressed anger at the lack of ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

woman Life. freedom

The chant shouted by protesters in Iran after the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a young woman arrested by Tehran’s moral police. Protesters have burned posters of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and women have appeared in public without headscarves, in scenes unimaginable before the uprising. The demonstrations have lasted three months and seem to pose an existential challenge to the 43-year regime of the clerical regime.

blue tick

The little blue tick (it’s actually white on a blue background), which certifies users Twitter, became a symbol of the chaos that engulfed the social media platform in the wake of its $44 billion takeover by Elon Musk. The mercurial Tesla boss announced that anyone who wanted the coveted blue tick would have to pay $8, only to scrap the plan hours later. A month after the takeover, Twitter’s future remains up in the air, with thousands of staff fired, advertisers leaving and its “free speech” platform very uncertain.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk ready to implant Neuralink in his children

Roe v. Wade

In a historic ruling, the conservative-dominated US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision that granted a woman the right to an abortion. The Supreme Court ruled that individual states could restrict or ban the procedure, a decision taken by several right-wing states. Protests erupted instantly in Washington and elsewhere, showing how divisive the issue remains in America. Overturning “Roe v. Wade” became a critical battle in the US midterm elections, in which pro-abortion-rights candidates won several victories.

leave alone

One of the ‘words of the year’ in Britain and Australia, the phrase refers to doing the bare minimum at work, either as a protest against your employer or to improve your work-life balance . The trend, which has sparked debate about overwork, especially in the United States, appears to have first appeared in a TikTok post in July. “You’re not giving up on your job, but you’re giving up on the idea of ​​going further,” said the post, which went viral and garnered nearly half a million likes.

SEE ALSO: Silent abandonment: Here’s what the law says and how it could affect your job

wet lettuce

As Liz Truss neared the end of her chaotic and short-lived tenure as British Prime Minister, The Economist weekly reckoned her effective period in office had been “about the lifespan of a lettuce”. The tabloid daily star jumped at the idea, launching a live webcam of this vegetable – complete with popping eyes – alongside an image of the hapless Truss. His tenure as prime minister lasted just 44 days and featured a mini-budget that crashed markets and created extraordinary political upheaval. In the end, the lettuce won out.

Tomato soup

Environmental protesters who want to draw attention to the role of fossil fuel consumption in the climate crisis threw tomato soup at Vincent Van Gogh. sunflowers painting at London’s National Gallery in October, setting off a series of similar stunts. Since then, activists have drowned mashed potatoes in a Claude Monet painting and stuck to works by Andy Warhol, Francisco Goya and Johannes Vermeer. For some, activists are heroes who bravely draw attention to the climate emergency. For others, attacks are counterproductive and lose steam as they become routine.


Protests erupted in China, initially over Covid restrictions, but later expanded to wider political grievances, posing the biggest threat to Beijing’s authorities since 1989. The demonstrations were known in some quarters like the “A4” protests when protesters held up blank A4-sized sheets of paper. of white paper as a sign of solidarity and a nod to the lack of freedom of expression in China.

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