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Merriam-Webster's top word of 2020 not a shocker: pandemic

If you were to choose a word that rose above most in 2020, which word would it be? Ding, ding, ding: Merriam-Webster announced “pandemic” as its 2020 word of the year.

11/30/2020 8:26:00 AM

If you were to choose a word that rose above most in 2020, which word would it be? Ding, ding, ding: Merriam-Webster announced “pandemic” as its 2020 word of the year.

NEW YORK (AP) — If you were to choose a word that rose above most in 2020, which word would it be? Ding, ding, ding: Merriam-Webster on Monday announced “pandemic” as its 2020 word of the...

By LEANNE ITALIENovember 30, 2020 GMTIn this Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, photo the word pandemic is displayed in a dictionary in Washington. Merriam-Webster on Monday announced “pandemic” as its 2020 word of the year. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)In this Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, photo the word pandemic is displayed in a dictionary in Washington. Merriam-Webster on Monday announced “pandemic” as its 2020 word of the year. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

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NEW YORK (AP) — If you were to choose a word that rose above most in 2020, which word would it be?Ding, ding, ding: Merriam-Webster on Monday announced“pandemic”as its 2020 word of the year.“That probably isn’t a big shock,” Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster, told The Associated Press.

“Often the big news story has a technical word that’s associated with it and in this case, the word pandemic is not just technical but has become general. It’s probably the word by which we’ll refer to this period in the future,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT headtopics.com

The word took on urgent specificity in March, when the coronavirus crisis was designated a pandemic, but it started to trend up on Merriam-Webster.com as early January and again in February when the first U.S. deaths and outbreaks on cruise ships occurred.

On March 11, when the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, lookups on the site forpandemicspiked hugely. Site interest for the word has remained significantly high through the year, Sokolowski said.By huge, Sokolowski means searches for pandemic on March 11 were 115,806% higher than lookups experienced on the same date last year.

Pandemic, with roots in Latin and Greek, is a combination of “pan,” for all, and “demos,” for people or population. The latter is the same root of “democracy,” Sokolowski noted. The word pandemic dates to the mid-1600s, used broadly for “universal” and more specifically to disease in a medical text in the 1660s, he said.

That was after the plagues of the Middle Ages, Sokolowski said.He attributes the lookup traffic for pandemic not entirely to searchers who didn’t know what it meant but also to those on the hunt for more detail, or for inspiration or comfort.“We see that the word love is looked up around Valentine’s Day and the word cornucopia is looked up at Thanksgiving,” Sokolowski said. “We see a word like surreal spiking when a moment of national tragedy or shock occurs. It’s the idea of dictionaries being the beginning of putting your thoughts in order.” headtopics.com

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Merriam-Webster acted quickly in March to add and update entries on its site for words related to the pandemic. While “coronavirus” had been in the dictionary for decades, “COVID-19” was coined in February. Thirty-four days later, Merriam-Webster had it up online, along with a couple dozen other entries that were revised to reflect the health emergency.

ADVERTISEMENT“That’s the shortest period of time we’ve ever seen a word go from coinage to entry,” Sokolowski said. “The word had this urgency.”Coronavirus was among runners up for word of the year as it jumped into the mainstream. Quarantine, asymptomatic, mamba, kraken, defund, antebellum, irregardless, icon, schadenfreude and malarkey were also runners up based on lookup spikes around specific events.

Particularly interesting to word nerds like Sokolowski, a lexicographer, is quarantine. With Italian roots, it was used during the Black Death of the 1300s for the period of time a new ship coming into port would have to wait outside a city to prevent disease. The “quar” in quarantine derives from 40, for the 40 days required.

Spikes for mamba occurred after the January death of Kobe Bryant, whose nickname was the Black Mamba. A mass of lookups occurred for kraken in July after Seattle’s new National Hockey League franchise chose the mythical sea monster as its name, urged along by fans. headtopics.com

Country group Lady Antebellum’s name change to Lady A drove dictionary interest in June, while malarkey got a boost from President-elect Joe Biden, who’s fond of using the word. Icon was front and center in headlines after the deaths of U.S. Rep. John Lewis and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

The Merriam-Webster site has about 40 million unique monthly users and about 100 million monthly page views. Read more: The Associated Press »

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I honestly thought it was Trump CHEATERS!!! And coming in hot in second is “unprecedented” Propaganda Biggly.🤗🤗🤗🤗 Sad, but true. The memory of this pandemic will live in our language for a while. superspreader It's important to note the definition. The problem is people confuse pandemic with epidemic. Some still do not know this is a global issue. If they personally do not know someone sick or have died from Covid in their neck of woods, they refuse to change their behavior.

Narrative And got the definition wrong. No Covid is the word... ChrisCuomo Would have bet $ on “pivot”.... 😕 Corruption I vote for “shit show”. Yes it’s two words, but a better description. Grifters Personally I’d have gone with “unprecedented”. Really tired of hearing that one. I think Pandemonium is a close 2nd

Naw, I would have to go with trump. Thanks... Thought it would've been Lose. Coming soon, from the minds that brought you Sharknado and Birdemic: PANDA PANDEMIC PANDEMONIUM Failure would be much more accurate. Failure in response to COVID19 Failure in supporting small businesses Failure to care for Am. families who lost their jobs. Failure to hold Gov't accountable Failure to remove a corrupt Pres. Failure to unite as Americans against hate

Líes The associated press is a Nazi run organization sources tell me just using my first amendment rights If you put people believe this crap they want you to live in fear that's all No, 'bull' The associated press is a news organization that should be tried for treason also RA_PaulHughes Nausea comes to mind

Hoax and fraud are right up there ChrisCuomo Hoax was used plenty also!! Mask. Ventilator. Cuomo. Leadership. Trump. Election. Fraud. Steal. 'cheater' wins for me. JoeBiden Socialism Narcissist or hypocrisy..can't decide Concede I’m guessing they didn’t give serious consideration to “shitshow.” Hypocrisy It's spelled scamdemic

Queen of England attacked me as a Customer in 1997. If no mercy it happened when people attacked & switched. BUSHS 2001 💣💣 💣 CLINTON just ended 2000 Mute... You’re on mute, John, You’re on mute.... Pandemonium for all is probably better Sickening COVID kilos Would say trumpism Wow, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I did not expect that. 🤭🤭

Quarantine might be a close second. Two words: pandemic and fraud. ChrisCuomo most excited about the roots of quarantine. interesting that 40 days are now down to 2 weeks. Congratulations, pandemic! ChrisCuomo I enjoyed the Japanese trying to translate 'shitshow' on the news. Scandemic is the word! Narcissism

ChrisCuomo The word that follows is appropriate as well... ALL is well and good, but the next word (pandemonnium), is a better description for the way Americans felt about the way things were on every single day of this year with Donald Trump running America! I hope we never see another idiot like him again! Good riddance Mr. Trump!💩👎

Not Sycophant? ChrisCuomo I would have guessed HATE - not being mean but think about it. How many times Trump used it over the year. I expect someone will be whinging that it should have been trump. Its not fair. Fake news! I used “you’re fucking kidding me” more times than I used my name this year. reimagine

Shit Weasel. Friendemic. Also.. Fake, Unjust, Overwhelming, Underappreciated, Flopped, Jordan, Alibi, Team, Hero, Mach, Mock, German Engineering, Edit, Cut, Paste, Feelings, Growth, Unity, Separate, Divided, Debate, Killers, Excusiaries, Judgement, Experience, Rich, Little, Fame, Warhol, Muse Surprised it isn’t unprecedented.

ChrisCuomo I notice that “pandemic” is followed by “pandemonium”. 😔 Amid My word of the year is 'trump' or 'trumpery', which means 'lie' or 'trash'. From the 1970 World Book Dictionary. It should have been Treason. 😷⚖️ Let's go with 'panic' instead. ChrisCuomo Narrative Quarantine I would go with shit-show

Good, I was sick of “unprecedented” Unprecedented The disinformed Trumpsterfire Curiously enough “panic” is what’s left when removing the “dem”. You don’t say? Masks pan*de*mic imho Really? I thought for sure that it would be “Sh!t Show”. ChrisCuomo Honestly the only word that came to my mind is.... Covidiot is my favorite.

With PANDEMONIUM right below it! Ha! Wow😱 look how closely linked the words pandemic and pandemonium are. Pandemonium is a much scarier word than most people realize.🔥 Does genocide apply to the US or only non-is countries? gathara realDonaldTrump Deff should’ve been social distancing or quarantine Ballot

ChrisCuomo RAMPANT: RELATES TO PANDEMIC, POTUS & REPUBLICAN VOTER FRAUD Unwelcome, unpleasant, profusely widespread, unchecked, uncontrolled, unrestrained, epidemic, pervasive, out of control, violent-forceful, raging, intense, fanatical, rife, menacing wildness, no restraint, ungovernable Aka “panny”

Like we needed another reminder ChrisCuomo patience noun the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. How did sh**show not make it? derekahunter Like we didn’t know it would be back in January! Further 2020 shockers: “Water wet” “Epstein didn’t kill himself” “Boris betrayed us” and “Biden corrupt”

efficacy ChrisCuomo Vivid No.again reminding u that global diseases come&go every few decades yet 02/22/20 or Feb.22,2020 is a 'palindrome' which only occurs centuries at a time. I guess AP is lowering its employment standards2 every few ChrisCuomo Lol 😂 1st grade science Revolution Tyranny The Webster's word of 2020 is 'Orwellian'.

Unprecedented- I’m sick of hearing it. For me it will always be panda ChrisCuomo No doubt pandemonium and pander follow pandemic in the image ChrisCuomo Narcissist 👍🏻👍🏻👁👁 I thought it was 'Hoax'. ChrisCuomo Trump is fired? 3 words idc Exponential The word 'fact' would have been a good choice. Half the country doesn't know what it is.

ErikaAbrahamss2 Trump would be the name of the year. I got 31 days to make 'Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic' word of 2020- Why m I not surprised? Unprecedented voter-fraud ballot-harvesting glitch Not huge? Bullshit? Planedemic Lockdown,corona,covid-19,rigged ballot. I choose a question.. why the vaccine takes this long time to get..🤷🏻‍♂️

ChrisCuomo Anti- democratic. ChrisCuomo Should have been corrupt ChrisCuomo Duuuuh why wouldn't they🤷🏾‍♀️ What about “fraud” Great. Yay for us. Asshole is my word of the year I'm surprised aliens didn't attack or Yellowstone erupted. why not hydroxychloroquine? Unprecedented Neat. How would one use it in a sentence?

Lame, should have been 'unprecedented'. Why? Watch this video like and subscribe “Doomscrolling” and “grift” should be in contention. Merriam-Webster phoning the job in is the energy of 2020. Assholery should be the word of the year. Also receiving votes: clusterf*ck. Stolen. Should have been Grogu. not psychopath?

Desperation! 'new normal' but that's two words Should be “sheep” Cheater Too soon. Smh! Come on man. FAKE