Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com name "pandemic" the Word of the Year

by Jordyn Pair · Nov 30th, 2020 4:01 pm
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Last Updated Dec 2nd, 2020 at 2:16 am

Both Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com declared that "pandemic" was their Word of the Year, saying it was among their top searches.

Merriam-Webster said there was a spike for searches of the word "pandemic" of 115,806% compared to the same day in 2019 on March 11, the day the World Health Organization officially declared the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic.

Other top searches included "asymptomatic," "quarantine," and "coronavirus."

Dictionary.com said the word "pandemic" is the "defining context of 2020." It also noted typical medical terms that are now in the public lexicon, such as "social distancing," "flatten the curve," and "herd immunity."

"Specialized lingo, spanning topics from epidemiology to social behavior, formed a shared — and ever-expanding — glossary for daily life," the online dictionary said in its announcement.

The dictionaries' choices follow the Oxford English Dictionary's list of words, which it published in lieu of choosing just one Word of the Year.

➡️ Read more: Oxford English Dictionary passes on single "Word of the Year," selects many for 2020


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