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’Lockdown’ Named 2020 Word of the Year

A picture taken on November 8, 2020 shows the deserted Passage des Panoramas, as France is on a second lockdown aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

The Collins English Dictionary has named “lockdown” its Word of the Year for 2020.

The word, which the dictionary said surged in usage from 4,000 logged uses last year to more than a quarter million this year, refers to “the containment measure implemented by governments around the world to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Several other pandemic-related words were also in the running such as “social distancing” and “coronavirus,” but lockdown won out in the end.

Not all the contenders were pandemic-related, with “BLM” (Black Lives Matter) and “Megxit” also vying for word of the year.

Megxit refers to Britain's Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan Markle’s decision to step down as senior royals and spend more time abroad.

Lockdown, the dictionary said in a news release, “with its heavy, clunking syllables and heavier associations, is the condition we’ve most dreaded in 2020 – a state of national stasis, where almost everything that constitutes normal public life is suspended.”