'Lockdown' is named the word of the year

What was the buzzword of 2020? You’re living in one right now! ‘Lockdown’ is named the word of the year

  • Collins Dictionary has named ‘lockdown’ as its Word of the Year 2020 
  • Lexicographers registered more than 250,000 usages of ‘lockdown’ this year 
  • BLM, short for Black Lives Matter, and Megxit also feature  

If some of us were asked to pick a word to describe this year, it might not be printable.

But Collins Dictionary has shown restraint in naming its Word of the Year 2020 – choosing ‘lockdown’.

Lexicographers have registered more than 250,000 usages of ‘lockdown’ this year, up from 4,000 the year before.

Collins Dictionary has shown restraint in naming its Word of the Year 2020 – choosing ‘lockdown’

Collins defines lockdown as ‘the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces’. Other words on the ten-strong list include furlough, key worker, self-isolate, social distancing and coronavirus itself.

BLM, short for Black Lives Matter, and Megxit – the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departure from royal life – also feature. 

Helen Newstead, language content consultant at Collins, said: ‘Language is a reflection of the world around us and 2020 has been dominated by the global pandemic.

‘We have chosen ‘lockdown’ as our word of the year because it encapsulates the shared experience of billions of people who have had to restrict their daily lives in order to contain the virus.

‘Lockdown has affected the way we work, study, shop, and socialise.

‘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 word ‘TikToker’, used to describe somebody active on the social media app TikTok, is becoming the dream profession for millions of children.

The word ‘TikToker’, used to describe somebody active on the social media app TikTok, is becoming the dream profession for millions of children

Another possible job is creating ‘mukbang’ videos, a South Korean loanword used to describe the craze of somebody sharing footage of them eating astonishing amounts of food online.

Last year’s word of the year was ‘climate strike’, used to describe the global demonstrations led by Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg, then 16 years old.

Other words from the halcyon days of 2019 include ‘non-binary’, ‘deepfake’ and ‘influencer’. And 2018 saw the word ‘single-use’ top the list, which is mainly used to describe goods which have a devastating impact on the environment.

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