I was born and raised in New Jersey and if there’s one thing I know, we know how to argue. But often it’s good-natured. Like whether Central Jersey really exists or should it be called Taylor ham instead of the correct answer, pork roll.

But not all New Jersey disputes are good-natured. Some of them are downright ugly. And ironically Merriam-Webster just picked a word of the year for 2021 that has proven the point.

Vaccine.

That is their pick for word of the year.

The reasons are obvious but the irony is thick. We all know how some words have totally different meanings. Such as compact. It can mean a small car. It can mean small and densely packed. It can mean an agreement between two parties. It can mean a makeup item.

In New Jersey and much of the country that’s the way it is with Merriam-Webster’s word of the year.

To most in New Jersey it means this…

Vaccine: A preparation administered to stimulate the body’s immune system against an infectious disease. As regards COVID-19, while not perfect our best chance to move past the pandemic.

To some in New Jersey it means this…

Vaccine: As regards COVID-19 a preparation administered to the body that is completely untested, unapproved, and given only to sheep who don’t understand that they’re just trying to control you and can’t grasp that all the world is one big conspiracy theory to be fearful of.

The word has certainly caused a ridiculous amount of division within our state and nation. A recent poll showed many New Jerseyans were not inviting relatives to Thanksgiving gatherings who had not been vaccinated. It’s a word that has caused lawsuits, bitter arguments and bad feelings.

Lookups of the word vaccine increased more than 600% over 2020.

Meanwhile here are other words Merriam Webster considered…

Insurrection

Infrastructure

Perseverance

Nomad

Cicada

Meta

Guardian

Woke

Cisgender

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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