The Oxford Dictionary has expanded the usual word of the year to include furlough, moonshot, superspreader, lockdown and Covid.
Covid linked terms dominated those added to the Oxford Dictionary this year. The Oxford Dictionary has expanded the usual word of the year to include furlough, moonshot, superspreader, lockdown and Covid. These words have been expanded due to an “unprecedented” 2020.
Oxford Dictionary names 2020 winners
Black Lives Matter, cancel culture and bushfire are among the other terms from the last year which have been chosen. Winners from previous years include vape, selfie and post-truth.
Usage of the word pandemic increased by 57,000 per cent last year and lexicographers found the use of the word coronavirus was also one of the most frequently used nouns.
Titled Words of an Unprecedented Year said: “Of course, Covid-19 and all its related vocabulary provided a clear focus for our language monitoring this year but there were many other areas of activity which saw enormous language change and were equally demanding of our attention, such as political and economic volatility, social activism, the environment and the rapid uptake of new technologies and behaviours to support remote working and living. We also cast our net wide to capture how English around the world expressed its own view, sometimes sharing the collective expressions for the phenomena endured globally this year, and at other times using regionally specific words and usages. All of which goes to illustrate that 2020 is a year which cannot be neatly accommodated in one single ‘word of the year’.”
Other terms which have seen a massive increase in use this year include unmute and Zoombombing, a variant on photobombing which was first recorded as a word in 2008, which refers to gate-crashing online calls on Zoom.