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Cambridge has announced perseverance as the word of the year 2021, based on data from searches of the free online Cambridge Dictionary. Perseverance, which is defined by Cambridge Dictionary as ‘continued effort to do or achieve something, even when this is difficult or takes a long time’, has been looked up more than 243,000 times during 2021, by people across the globe.
Cambridge Dictionary is the world’s top website for learners of English, and is completely free of charge. Its rich dictionary, thesaurus, and grammar resources are all informed by Cambridge’s expert research in language and education. The Cambridge Dictionary is a fantastic resource for students getting ready to take an English language exam, as it gives them a solid reference point to use as part of their daily practice and preparation. Perseverance is a particularly appropriate word for English language learners around the globe. When people learn English it’s so much more than just memorising words and phrases. It takes a lot of motivation and constant practice.
The unique content on the Cambridge Dictionary website can help people develop their English language skills. For example, a new Cambridge Thesaurus article on perseverance goes beyond listing synonyms to explain the nuanced differences in meaning between perseverance, determination, persistence, doggedness, single-mindedness, tenacity, resolve, will, and the US term stick-to-it-iveness.
The Cambridge team have also created a new list of words about being determined for English learners on Cambridge Dictionary +Plus, an area of the website where people can create, download, and share their own word lists. Research shows that many people learn new vocabulary more effectively when they have a record of it, so they can go back to study and test themselves. This word list includes vocabulary related to perseverance, so English language learners can easily find out more about the word of the year while simultaneously expanding their vocabulary.
According to Wendalyn Nichols, Publishing Manager for the Cambridge Dictionary, perseverance didn’t appear noticeably in searches before 2021, and the number of searches increased between 19 and 25 February 2021 after NASA’s Perseverance Rover made its final descent to Mars on 18 February. ‘Perseverance is not a common word for students of English to have in their vocabulary, but it made sense that the number of searches increased at this time,’ Nichols commented. ‘Just as it takes perseverance to land a rover on Mars, it takes perseverance to face the challenges and disruption to our lives from Covid-19, climate disasters, political instability and conflict’.
Find out more about the Cambridge Dictionary Word of the Year 2021 at cambridge.org/woty