Jargonbuster: It’s time for Alpha males and Alpha females

The World Today Published 1 August 2021 Updated 12 April 2022 1 minute READ

Young people today are not only getting younger, it is also getting harder to know what to call them. 

Apparently, Generation Alpha is the latest buzz phrase to come out of the great sausage-factory of marketing labels to divide up cohorts of consumers.

‘Alpha’ would seem to have been chosen with even less creativity than is given to the naming of tropical storms. Once we had got to Generation Z – ‘reaching adulthood in the second decade of the 21st century’ in the dry words of the Oxford dictionary – we had reached the end of the alphabet, so some bright spark went back to the beginning, only with Greek letters. This example was later followed by epidemiologists who wanted to name coronavirus variants, but who didn’t want to use the names of the countries where the variant was first identified to avoid stoking xenophobia. Which means young people now sound like mutant viruses. 

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