No surprises here — pandemic is Merriam-Webster’s top word of 2020

No surprises here — pandemic is Merriam-Webster’s top word of 2020
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  • Merriam-Webster has announced its word of the year and not so surprisingly, it’s ‘pandemic.’
  • With the coronavirus pandemic having infected over 63 million people worldwide, the COVID-19 virus has been the only thing on people’s minds this year.
  • Earlier this month, the Oxford dictionary had announced that no one word could sum up 2020. Instead, it had gone on to release “words of the unprecedented year.”
As 2020 comes to an end, Merriam-Webster has announced its word of the year, and not so surprisingly, it’s “pandemic”.

With the coronavirus pandemic having infected over 63 million people across the world, and confining people at home globally, the COVID-19 virus has been the only thing on people’s minds this year.

And truly, Merriam-Webster said that pandemic is the single word that encapsulates the year that has been 2020. “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 as we examined the data that determines what our Word of the Year will be,” said Merriam-Webster while announcing the word of the year.

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The dictionary also has data backing it up. As alarms about the virus scared more and more people, by early March, the search for the word pandemic was up by 4000% than in 2019.

“On March 11th, the World Health Organization officially declared “that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” and this is the day that pandemic saw the single largest spike in dictionary traffic in 2020, showing an increase of 115,806% over lookups on that day in 2019,” wrote Merriam-Webster.

Earlier this month, the Oxford dictionary had announced that no one word could sum up 2020. Instead, it had gone on to release “words of the unprecedented year,” which included the likes of the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, Juneteenth, social distancing, lockdown, flatten the curve, and even the infamous social media words like cancel culture and Karen.

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