Youth Word of the Year 2023 is a plebiscite, each edition of which enjoys great interest. This time will be no different, because even before the results were announced, there was a lot of controversy.
The PWN publishing house organizing the plebiscite for the youth word of the year decided to withdraw one term, which was initially accepted and made it to the final twenty. The phrase “kys” comes from the English word “kill yourself”.
“Kys” loses its chance for Youth Word of the Year 2023
It may be surprising that this word was even allowed into the next phase of the game. Although it may actually be used by some in a less aggressive context and not everyone needs to know its origins, linguists could have expected it to cause controversy.
In the published statement on this matter, the organizers assured that they did not take into account the negative connotation of “kys”. They emphasized that all entries were analyzed in detail by jury members with the support of the teenagers’ advisory team from the Youth Language and Culture Observatory of the Jagiellonian University.
They added that they looked at the words, using the definitions provided by the competition participants, in the context of their current use in teenagers’ slang. They were convinced that kys means a non-literal, sometimes joking expression such as “go away, get over yourself” or “shut up”, ending the discussion.
Although they noted that this is a popular statement in video games and on YouTube. they did not anticipate that it could be used, among others, by toxic players. For writing “kys” in some games or chats of individual applications, you may even be excluded from the game, i.e. banned.
Did Internet users save PWN from a bigger mistake?
The organizers had to be made aware of it by Internet users. “After the first day of the second stage of the competition, however, there were applications sent to the Publishing House by e-mail and comments on social media informing about the clearly negative literal (‘kill yourself’) reception of this word by some,” we read in the announcement.
“Even though the definitions submitted in the first stage of the competition do not indicate the common use of the word KYS in this sense, the competition organizer decided to remove the above entry from the final twenty,” it was further explained.