NEW YORK – The 2020 prize for Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year went to an obvious choice: pandemic.
The term had the most online dictionary lookups of any word, Merriam-Webster said on its website, after a year in which at least 1.4 million people globally have died from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The dictionary publisher said:
is defined as "an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic
area (such as multiple countries or continents) and typically affects a
significant proportion of the population," according to
The word’s Greek roots are "pan", meaning all or every and "demos", meaning people, Merriam-Webster said.
Dictionary lookups skyrocketed on 11 March when the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially labelled Covid-19 a pandemic.
The word "saw the single largest spike in dictionary traffic in 2020, showing an increase of 115 806% over lookups on that day in 2019" said the company, founded in 1831.
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