The Merriam-Webster American English Dictionary, better known as the Webster Dictionary, chose the word pandemic as the word of the year 2020.
“Sometimes one word defines an era, and it makes sense that in this exceptional – and exceptionally difficult – year, one word immediately came to the fore when we analyzed the data that determines what our Word of the year will be. Based on a statistical analysis of words that are often searched in our online dictionary… Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2020 is pandemic,” the dictionary’s website says.
It is noted that the first sharp increase in search queries for this word occurred on February 3, while more often, it was searched for on January 20, when the first case of COVID-19 infection was recorded in the United States.
On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of THE new COVID-19 coronavirus infection a pandemic. According to the latest WHO data, more than 61 million infection cases have already been detected in the world, and more than 1.4 million people have died.
Last year, the dictionary named the word they as the word of the year. As explained by the dictionary’s special editor Peter Sokolovski, this is because English lacks a gender-neutral singular pronoun corresponding to the words “all,” “someone,” “anyone.” Also, they are used in relation to one person whose gender is not binary.