2020 word of the year announced
The term has quickly wormed its way into conversations around the world due to public health measures against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe.
"Our lexicographers chose 'lockdown' as Word of the Year because it is a unifying experience for billions of people across the world, who have had, collectively, to play their part in combating the spread of COVID-19," Collins wrote after announcing the award.
"It's not a shock to remember that lockdown was originally a piece of prison vocabulary: it's when inmates are confined to their cells because of some disturbance on the wing," it added.
"2020 is year that the meaning of the word shifted irrevocably: in most people's minds, lockdown is now a public health measure — its use having increased exponentially since 2019."
The dictionary asid it registered over a quarter of a million usages of the word "lockdown", which is an increase of more than 6,000 per cent.
Since the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China, virtually every major country has followed suit and enacted some form of lockdown.
This makes 2020 a year unlike any other in modern history due to unprecedented social restrictions limiting human interaction.
According to the dictionary, the choice of the word was easy.
"It's no surprise that quite a few of the words on Collins Word of the Year 2020 shortlist have one big thing in common: the pandemic," the dictionary wrote.
"Something that changed everyone's lives so profoundly — leaving no country or continent untouched — was bound to have a significant impact on our language."
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