Oxford English Dictionary couldn’t pick just one ‘word of the year’ for 2020


Oxford English Dictionary couldn’t pick just one ‘word of the year’ for 2020
The Oxford English Dictionary couldn't pick just one “word of the year” for 2020. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) – The Oxford English Dictionary had a hard time picking its traditional “word of the year” for 2020.

In 2019, “climate emergency” was the OED word of the year, and in 2018 it was “toxic.”

But the OED said that with everything that’s happened this year, instead of just one word, it selected the most important words for certain months.

It was “bushfire” in January, when Australia suffered its worst fire season on record. It was “acquittal” in February, when President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial ended.

Starting in March, terms related to the coronavirus pandemic dominated, like “COVID-19,” “lockdown,” “social distancing” and “reopening.”

In June, use of the phrase “Black Lives Matter” exploded.

For August, “mail-in” and “Belarusian” were both flagged, referring to the U.S. election and the controversial re-election of the Belarusian president.

In September, it was “moonshot,” the name the U.K. gave its coronavirus testing program, and in October, “net zero” and “superspreader” are highlighted.

“Net zero” refers to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge that the country will be carbon neutral by 2060, and “superspreader” spiked in use after a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the White House.

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