Word of the Year Expanded for ‘Unprecedented’ 2020

This year saw so many seismic events that Oxford Dictionaries expanded its word of the year to encompass several “Words of an Unprecedented Year.”

They include bushfires, Covid-19, WFH, lockdown, circuit-breaker, support bubbles, keyworkers, furlough, and Black Lives Matter. Use of the word pandemic has increased by over 57,000% this year.

The president of Oxford Dictionaries, said: “I’ve never witnessed a year in language like the one we’ve just had. The Oxford team was identifying hundreds of significant new words and usages as the year unfolded, dozens of which would have been a slam dunk for Word of the Year at any other time.”

Oxford University Press said it used “evidence-based data” to explore this year’s language developments, adding, “We saw new words emerge, and historical words resurface with new significance, as the English language developed rapidly to keep pace with the political upheaval and societal tensions that defined the year.”

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