‘Lockdown’ declared word of the year

“Lockdown” has been declared the word of the year by Collins Dictionary.

Pedestrians walk with umbrellas past stores in Wuhan on April 30. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

It may come as a surprise to very few given the spread of the coronavirus pandemic which has prompted many countries across the globe to impose restrictions on travel and the movement of their citizens.

Collins agreed, sharing that the term “encapsulates the shared experience of billions of people”.

Useage of the word, which the dictionary defines as “the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces”, increased from 4,000 to 250,000 this year, according to lexicographers who kept track.

The list’s top 10 was COVID-dominated with “furlough”, “self-isolate”, “social distancing” and “coronavirus” also making the cut.

Previous words that came out on top include “climate strike” (2019), “single-use” (2018), “fake news” (2017) and “Brexit” (2016).