“Climate hysteria” is the word of the year 2019


Dhe “unword of the year” usually gives a little insight into the issues that are currently on the mind of society. After the issues of migration and refugee policy had been the focus of the “unword of the year” in recent years, terms for the climate debate such as “ecodictorship” were among the favorites in 2019. The term “climate hysteria” was able to prevail.

Johanna Christner

“The term pathologizes the increasing involvement as a kind of collective psychosis,” says Nina Janich, spokeswoman for the jury on Tuesday morning in Darmstadt. Against the background of scientific findings on climate change, the word is also misleading and irresponsibly supports tendencies that are hostile to science, said the linguist. The term “climate hysteria” was sent in nine times.

But the climate debate was not the only focus of the submissions for 2019. The term “Umvolkung” expressed by the AfD chairman Tino Chrupalla and the term “ethics wall” were also included in the submitted proposals. The latter was used in a commentary by the newspaper “Die Welt” and, according to the submitter of the non-word, discredits “any serious discussion of fundamental ethical questions as a refusal to progress.”

Submissions go back

According to the organizers, 671 entries with 397 suggestions had been submitted by the turn of the year. In 2018, the choice fell on the expression “anti-deportation industry” expressed by Alexander Dobrindt (CSU).

The language-critical campaign “Unwort of the Year” is intended to draw attention to inappropriate language use in public and to raise awareness among the population. The wrong word has been chosen since 1991. The number of entries decreased again this year. In 2018 there were more than 900 suggestions.



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