Collins Dictionary chose the word 2020 “lockdown”, which embodies the “common experience of billions of people”.
“Lockdown is defined as “the imposition of severe restrictions on travel, social interaction and access to public spaces.
In the context of the pandemic, lexicographers have recorded a sharp rise in the frequency of use of the word – 250,000 cases against 4,000 in 2019.
“Kicking” and heavy syllables of this word indicate a state that has become the most frightening in the past year, the dictionary authors write. They compare the state of lockdown with national stagnation, when almost everything that is normal public life is suspended. Experts also remind that “lockdown” comes from the prison lexicon: this was the name of the situation when prisoners were forbidden to leave their cells because of some extraordinary events.
Besides “lockdown”, the top 10 words of the year included “furlough”, “key worker”, “self-isolation”, “social distancing” and “coronavirus”.
Of the non-pandemic words, the top ten included “Megxit” (a word that resembles Brexit, which refers to Prince Harry and his wife Megan leaving the royal family), “BLM” (the name of the anti-racist movement Black Lives Matter), “TikToker” (a user of the TikTok platform) and “mukbang” (a broadcast in which a video blogger joins forces to communicate with an audience).
In 2019 Collins recognized the word of the year as “climate strike”, in 2017 – “fake news”.