‘Lockdown’ is Collins Word of the Year 2020

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  • Collins Dictionary named ‘lockdown’ as its Word of the Year
  • Lockdown refers to the imposition of restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public places to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Six out of the ten shortlisted words are related to the COVID-19 pandemic

Collins Dictionary has chosen “lockdown” as the 2020 Word of the Year.

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Lockdown is the “imposition of the most stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces.”

“Our lexicographers chose ‘lockdown’ as Word of the Year because it is a unifying experience for billions of people across the world, who have had, collectively, to play their part in combating the spread of COVID-19,” Collins explained.

They added that they registered over a quarter of a million usages of the word “lockdown” for the year 2020, compared to just 4,000 usages in 2019.

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Shortlisted words include other terms related to the pandemic such as coronavirus, key worker, self-isolate, furlough and social distancing.

Data from World Health Organization shows that there are 51,848,261 cases of COVID-19 as of November 12, 579,253 of which are new, which explains the increased use of the shortlisted terms related to the global pandemic.

Others like TikToker and mukbang, meanwhile, are social media terms.

Also making it to the shortlist are issues like BLM or Black Lives Matter, a movement that campaigns against racially motivated violence and oppression and MEGxit,  which pertains to the withdrawal of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from royal duties.

“It is no surprise that quite a few of the words on Collins Word of the Year 2020 shortlist have one big thing in common: the pandemic. Something that changed everyone’s lives so profoundly — leaving no country or continent untouched,” David Shariatmadari said in a blog posted on Collins’ website.