Oxford English Dictionary (OED) could not choose just one word for 2020, and we totally understand why – 2020 has been one heck of a year!
Instead, the OED released a report titled Words of an Unprecedented Year. It said this reflected the new collective vocabulary relating to the coronavirus, and how quickly it became a core part of the language.
“It quickly became apparent that 2020 is not a year that could neatly be accommodated in one single ‘word of the year,'” the OED said.
And so, what the OED did was to assign certain words to different months. So in January, the term ‘bushfire’ dominated because of the fires in Australia.
And then from March onwards, words relating to COVID-19 took precedence such as lockdown, and quarantine.
In June, the Black Lives Matter protests sparked words such as “cancel culture”. By August that changed to “mail in” as the US elections loomed.
“Moonshot,” the name the UK government gave to its mass coronavirus testing program, appears in September, while “net zero” and “superspreader” are highlighted in October.
The OED named “climate emergency” as word of the year in 2019, and “toxic” in 2018.