Sarah Ogilvie in Prospect:
We can pinpoint the moment the meaning of woke changed: July 2020. Phrases such as “stay woke,” “be woke,” “woke people,” “woke culture,” “woke af (as fuck)” (as in “the best thing about having a lesbian grandma is that she is woke af”) were now replaced by the markedly negative “woke agenda,” “woke mob,” “woke ideology,” “woke brigade,” “woke police.” New negative derivatives such as wokeness, wokeism, wokester and wokery began to circulate. As the meaning of woke changed, the word became far more heavily used. From January 2020 to January 2021, it became four times more popular on the internet and in newspapers.
So who exactly took control of woke in July 2020, and how did they turn it into a four-letter word? Digging into big data tells us.