Collins Dictionary declares ‘lockdown’ as 2020’s word of the year

Published November 16, 2020, 2:44 PM

by John Legaspi

Other words such as Megxit, TikToker, and, of course, coronavirus are included in its top list

This year, Collins Dictionary names “lockdown” as its word of 2020 after finding a 6,000 percent increase in its usage since 2019. 

Housing over 722,000 words, meanings, and phrases, Collins Dictionary defines lockdown as “the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces,” something everyone around the globe is familiar with thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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

Image from Collins Laguage Lovers Blog

The thing is, many of the shortlisted terms for Collins Words of the Year 2020 have, and we’re not surprised, one thing in common—the pandemic. Words such as social distancing, self-isolate, and coronavirus made it to this year’s roster. 

The list also reflects 2020’s social, political, and pop culture moments. An example of this is Megxit, a term derived from Brexit, which is about the withdrawal of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from their royal duties back in January. Black Lives Matter or BLM, an anti-racial social movement, made it to the list as well due to its social progression message even in the middle of a public health emergency.

Also in the list are two social media terms. First is mukbang, a video or webcast where the host eats a large quantity of food for the entertainment of viewers. The other is TikToker or people “whom TikToking is practically a way of life.”

Do you agree with this? Let us know what your top choice for word of the year is.

Check out more of Collins Words of the Year 2020 here.