Word of the Day

climate strike

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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


a demonstration by students against lack of action against climate change

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun climate strike has come into use over the past few years, but has really taken off since August 2018, when Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg staged a lone protest outside her country’s parliament. Her example has since been followed by schoolchildren, students and others around the world, culminating in the biggest protests so far held on 20 September this year.


Climate strike was an entry submitted to the Open Dictionary by a user in the UK just last week, so it really is hot off the press. It is too new to be in any dictionaries that I am aware of, and of course it may fizzle out, like ‘Occupy’, which was all over the news a few years ago but never made it into Macmillan Dictionary. An indication of the speed and extent of climate strike‘s rise is that while there are just a couple of dozen citations for the expression in a large 2015 corpus, a Google search today brings up over 59 million hits. Successful submissions to the Open Dictionary are published weekly, which means that this crowdsourced resource reflects language change much more quickly than the main dictionary. Entries in Macmillan Dictionary are published after careful consideration, including an assessment of whether they have stuck around for a bit and are likely to still be around a few years from now. Having both these resources sitting alongside each other gives us the best of both worlds.


“Another intriguing and promising new strategy for the movement that will have its premiere in Paris is that of a global or people’s climate strike.”
(enTenTen15 corpus, article dated 09.12.2015)

On Friday 27 September, the second round of protests organised for the Global Climate Strike are due to take place across the world.”
(independent.co.uk, 27.09.2019)

Related words

boycott, demo, civil disobedience, march

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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