The 2020 prize for Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year went to an obvious choice, ‘pandemic’.
The term had the most online dictionary lookups of any word, Merriam-Webster said on its website.
The dictionary publisher said,
“Sometimes a single word defines an era, and it’s fitting that in this exceptional and exceptionally difficult year, a single word came immediately to the fore.”
Dictionary lookups skyrocketed on March 11 when the World Health Organization officially labeled COVID-19 a pandemic.
The word “saw the single largest spike in dictionary traffic in 2020, showing an increase of 115,806% over lookups on that day in 2019,” said the company, founded in 1831.
Last year’s winner was “they” as used to describe someone who does not identify as male nor female. That follows winners “justice” in 2018, “feminism” in 2017, and “surreal” in 2016.