The Collins Dictionary has selected “lockdown” as their Word of the Year after usage of the word grew dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 Dictionary, which is published by Glasgow-based HarperCollins, said in a web statement.
Collins defines “lockdown” as the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces.
BREAKING NEWS The Collins Word of the Year is… lockdown. Find out more about #CollinsWOTY 2020 and see the full shortlist here: https://t.co/4ZAEE47p9H#wordoftheyear #CollinsDictionary #lockdown pic.twitter.com/3OLL7RfSwS— Collins Dictionary (@CollinsDict) November 10, 2020
Collins registered over a quarter of a million usages of the word “lockdown” this year, versus only 9,000 the previous year.
Other top 10 words of the year related to the pandemic include “coronavirus,” “social distancing,” self-isolate,” “furlough,” which means a temporary lay-off of employees, and “key worker,” used to describe an employee in a profession vital to society.
The BLM abbreviation for the Black Lives Matter movement, which campaigns against racially motivated violence and oppression, is also in the short list.
Other events that were covered in the society and culture pages also figured in the short list including “Megxit,” which refers to the withdrawal of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from royal duties.
“TikToker,” which refers to a person who regularly shares or appears in TikTok videos, is also included.
To top it all off, there is also the loanword “mukbang” from South Korea, which simply means a webcast in which the host eats a large quantity of food for the entertainment of viewers.
“This might be a strange concept — but at least it’s one no lockdown or social distancing can get in the way of,” author David Shariatmadari said on the Collins blog.