Hello, word lovers! What a whirlwind of a year we’ve had, and, as it’s nearing a close and end-of-year holidays are approaching, we’re all just looking for ways to be joyful in an overall dark time. This is why we read right? Words are our solace, and our favorite hiding place is between the pages of a book. However, while words may be one of our largest sources of comfort during uncertain times, there’s one word in particular that we’re sick and tired of hearing, both literally and figuratively. “Pandemic” is Merriam-Webster’s and Dictionary.com’s word of the year.
According to CNN, “Merriam-Webster, the dictionary publisher, said people looked up “pandemic” with “remarkable frequency” throughout the year — particularly on March 11, when the World Health Organization officially declared Covid-19 a pandemic. On that day, searches for “pandemic” spiked 115,806% compared to the same day in 2019.”
“Pandemic” beat out its top competitor words- ‘coronavirus,’ quarantine,’ and ‘asymptomatic’ – to cinch the title “word of the year,” and the term “Covid-19” was added to the dictionary within just one month of its first use. Other top terms include “social distancing,” “herd immunity,” and “flatten the curve.” Dictionary.com describes this as “Specialized lingo, spanning topics from epidemiology to social behavior, formed a shared — and ever-expanding — glossary for daily life.”
Although “pandemic” isn’t a particularly cheerful word to celebrate as our word of the year, its still interesting to note, as lovers of words (logophiles), that the terms added yearly to our dictionary are chosen for how often they are used and have become engrained in our daily life.
2020 has been one for the books! The dictionary, to be exact.