Dictionary.com declares “Pandemic” as “Word Of The Year”
14 December 2020: Virtually, there were no ‘war of words or weapons’ other than stiff fight against the deadly coronavirus since the first lock down on 22nd March 2020. With over 60 million confirmed cases, the COVID-19 “pandemic” has claimed over one million lives across the globe and is still rising to new peaks. The pandemic has wreaked social and economic disruption on a historic scale and scope, globally impacting every sector of society-not to mention its emotional and psychological toll. All other events for most of 2020, from the protests for racial justice to a heated presidential election, were dominated by the pandemic.
On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the first caused by a coronavirus. “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom observed while making the announcement.
It is but natural that Dictionary.com has declared “Pandemic” as “Word Of The Year.” Ever since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), searches for the word skyrocketed 13,575 percent on the website compared to last year, as reported by Dictionary.com. A pandemic is defined as “a disease prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world.” As for the origin of a word – with pandemic ultimately coming from the Greek pân, “all,” and dêmos, “people”- to prove so literal. Without a doubt, the pandemic affected all of us, all over the world, in nearly all aspects of our lives.
When COVID-19 had then only taken 4,291 lives around the world, searches for pandemic skyrocketed 13,575% on Dictionary.com compared to 2019. Pandemic joined a cluster of other terms that users searched in massive numbers, whether to learn an unfamiliar word used during a government briefing or to process the swirl of media headlines: asymptomatic, CDC, coronavirus, furlough, nonessential, quarantine, and sanitizer, to spotlight a few. Of all these many queries, search volume for pandemic sustained the highest levels on site over the course of 2020, averaging a 1000% increase, month over month, relative to previous years. Because of its ubiquity as the defining context of 2020, it remained in the top 10% of all lookups for much of the year since.