'Lockdown' named as 2020s word of the year

Collins Dictionary announced today that ‘lockdown’ has been selected as its word of the year for 2020 after a sharp increase in its usage amid the coronavirus pandemic.

'Lockdown' named as word of the year in 2020 by Collins Dictionary.
'Lockdown' named as word of the year in 2020 by Collins Dictionary.

The dictionary said it added the term because it ‘encapsulates the shared experience of billions of people who have had to restrict their daily lives in order to contain the virus’.

Collins’ lexicographers registered over a quarter of a million usages of ‘lockdown’ during 2020, against only 4,000 in 2019.

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According to the dictionary, lockdown is defined as ‘the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces’.

The spike began as Governments around the world responded to the coronavirurs pandemic earlier this year. With local and national lockdowns becoming the norm.

Collins’ produce a list of ten additional words every year and this year it’s dominated by phrases related to the pandemic. Include ‘furlough’, ‘key worker’, ‘self-isolate’ and ‘social distancing’. ‘Coronavirus’ itself features on the list.

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

“Lockdown has affected the way we work, study, shop and socialize.

“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.”

Last year’s word of the year was ‘climate strike’ marking a year in which 17-year-old Greta Thunberg led a global environmental movement.