Collins Dictionary picks 'lockdown' as Word of the Year 2020 as COVID cases surge across globe

Collins said it saw an increase of 6,000 percent in the usage of the word ‘lockdown’ from last year. However, the increased use of the word was not a cause for celebration but concern, it added

FP Trending November 10, 2020 17:43:00 IST
Collins Dictionary picks 'lockdown' as Word of the Year 2020 as COVID cases surge across globe

Representational image. PTI

The year 2020 saw the novel coronavirus driving the world towards a flurry of changes. Governments across the globe had to enforce stringent lockdowns in order to stop the pandemic from spreading. Now, the increased use of the word ‘lockdown’ has led Collins Dictionary to choose it as its Word of the Year.

Collins defines lockdown as: “the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces” in British English.

According to The Guardian report, Collins saw an increase of 6,000 percent in the usage of the word ‘lockdown’ from last year. This is inclusive of the word search frequency seen regarding the 4.5 billion words contained in the prestigious dictionary. While in 2019, people used the word in documented spaces only 4,000 times, this year the numbers went over a quarter of a million.

Helen Newstead, a language content consultant at Collins, was quoted by BBC as saying, “Language is a reflection of the world around us and 2020 has been dominated by the global pandemic”.

She went on to say how lockdown has affected “the way we work, study, shop, and socialise”.

However, she states how the increased use of the word was not a cause for celebration but concern. "With many countries entering a second lockdown, it is not a word of the year to celebrate but it is, perhaps, one that sums up the year for most of the world.”

The report added that Collins had zeroed upon "climate strike" as the Word of the Year last year, in which 17-year-old Greta Thunberg was seen leading a global environmental movement.

The other words that saw massive usage in 2020 as recorded by Collins were furlough, key worker, self-isolate, social distancing and coronavirus. All these are effects or ways to fight the viral outbreak thus indicating the huge impact the pandemic has had on us, as pointed out by India Today.

But speaking of popular non-virus words used in 2020, BLM (referring to the Black Lives Matter movement), saw a huge surge. Collins said there was a 581 percent increase in its usage.

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