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And The Word Of The Year is …

It comes as no surprise that Collins Dictionary has named “lockdown” as its Word of the Year 2020. Restrictions to control the spread of Covid-19 have meant that it has acquired everyday usage. The dictionary said it added the term because it “encapsulates the shared experience of billions of people who have had to restrict their daily lives in order to contain the virus”. Collins’ lexicographers registered over a quarter of a million usages of “lockdown” during 2020, against only 4,000 the previous year. According to the dictionary, lockdown is defined as “the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces”. Collins’ annual 10-strong list of additions is dominated by words and phrases relating to the pandemic, including “furlough”, “key worker”, “self-isolate” and “social distancing”, as well as “Coronavirus”. “Key worker” has seen a 60-fold increase in usage reflecting the recognition of the importance of essential frontline workers. Social and political upheavals such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the withdrawal of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from royal duties also influence the list. Following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in the US, the abbreviation “BLM” features after registering a huge increase in usage. “Megxit”, which is modelled on the word “Brexit” (Collins’ Word of the Year 2016), makes the list following Harry and Meghan’s move to the US. Other words that now feature in the dictionary include “TikToker” describing someone who shares content on the TikTok social media platform, and “mukbang” from South Korea which describes a host who broadcasts videos of themselves eating a large quantity of food. All the words can be found on CollinsDictionary.com

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