‘Lockdown’ named word of the year by Collins Dictionary

'Lockdown' named word of the year by Collins Dictionary

New Delhi (NVI): Lockdown, the noun that has come to define so many lives across the world in 2020, has been named word of the year by Collins Dictionary.

Lockdown is defined by Collins as “the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces”, and its usage has boomed over the last year.

The 4.5 billion-word Collins Corpus, which contains written material from websites, books and newspapers, as well as spoken material from radio, television and conversations, registered a 6,000 per cent increase in its usage.

In 2019, there were 4,000 recorded instances of lockdown being used. In 2020, this had soared to more than a quarter of a million.

Meanwhile, several other words related to the Covid-19 pandemic, including ‘coronavirus’, have made it to the dictionary’s list of top ten words of the year.

The word ‘coronavirus’ has seen a 35,000-fold increase in use year-on-year in usage. Other words related to the pandemic on the list include ‘social distancing,’ ‘self-isolate’ and ‘furlough’ and ‘key worker(s).’

“Language is a reflection of the world around us and 2020 has been dominated by the global pandemic,” Collins language content consultant Helen Newstead said in a blog post.

She added, “We have chosen lockdown as our word of the year because it encapsulates the shared experience of billions of people who have had to restrict their daily lives in order to contain the virus. Lockdown has affected the way we work, study, shop, and socialise. With many countries entering a second lockdown, it is not a word of the year to celebrate but it is, perhaps, one that sums up the year for most of the world.”

In addition to this, the abbreviation BLM, for Black Lives Matter, also made the shortlist. Defined by Collins as “a movement that campaigns against racially motivated violence and oppression”, it registered a 581 per cent increase in usage.

Previous words of the year for Collins include climate strike in 2019, single-use in 2018, fake news in 2017, and Brexit in 2016.

This year the top 10 included the word Megxit, defined as “the withdrawal of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from royal duties, announced in January 2020”. Collins said the informal noun, modelled on Brexit, showed “just how firmly established that word now is in our lexicon”.

-CHK