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Collins Dictionary declares ‘lockdown’ as Word of the Year 2020

Collins lockdown

Lockdown, the noun that has come to define so many lives across the world in 2020, has been named word of the year by Collins Dictionary.

According to the statement given by the dictionary, “Lockdown, the containment measure implemented by governments around the world to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, has been named the Collins Word of the Year 2020.”

It further stated, “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.”

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“Collins registered over a quarter of a million usages of ‘lockdown’ during 2020, against only 4,000 the previous year,” it added. 

“It’s 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,” the site wrote in a blog. “Something that changed everyone’s lives so profoundly – leaving no country or continent untouched – was bound to have a significant impact on our language.”

Collins records a 6,000% increase in usage of lockdown word since 2019, with TikToker and Megxit ranking among mostly coronavirus-related terms.

“And our list shows us that it’s not just about the disease or its symptoms,” it continued. “The word ‘coronavirus’ is there, of course, with an extraordinary 35,000-fold increase in use year-on-year. But the social impacts – the changes to our behavior and way of life – loom even larger.”

The shortlisted words include:

  • Furlough
  • Key worker
  • Self-isolate
  • Social distancing
  • Coronavirus
  • BLM: an abbreviation of Black Lives Matter
  • Megxit: Modelled on the word ‘Brexit’, this word was used for the withdrawal of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from royal duties
  • TikToker: someone who shares content on the social media platform TikTok
  • Mukbang: Someone who broadcasts videos of themselves eating large quantities of good; the term originated in South Korea

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