The dictionary defines lockdown as “the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces”.
The dictionary defines lockdown as “the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces”.

‘Lockdown’ is Collins Dictionary’s word of the year

In the 1970s, it is believed that the prison systems of some US states gave it a meaning close to its current one -- restricting inmates to their cells, especially in the wake of or to prevent violence.
By HT Correspondent | London
PUBLISHED ON NOV 11, 2020 12:20 AM IST

In its original hyphenated avatar, the word meant a piece of wood used to nail pieces of a raft together.

In the 1970s, it is believed that the prison systems of some US states gave it a meaning close to its current one -- restricting inmates to their cells, especially in the wake of or to prevent violence.

On Sunday, it was named the word of the year 2020 by Collins English Dictionary.

The word? Lockdown.

The word, which, in its current context means measures implemented by governments around the world to restrict movement of people to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease, Covid-19, was chosen for its “unifying experience for billions” and for being one that “sums up the year” for most people.

The dictionary defines lockdown as “the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces”.

“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 said.

“Lockdown has affected the way we work, study, shop, and socialise. With many countries entering a second lockdown, it is not a word of the year to celebrate but it is, perhaps, one that sums up the year for most of the world,” she said. The dictionary said it registered over a quarter of a million usages of the word during 2020, against only 4,000 the previous year.

Several other words related to the pandemic are included in Collins’s list of the top 10 words of the year: “furlough” -- the practice of temporarily laying off employees -- and “self-isolate”. The word “coronavirus” features in the list too, with an extraordinary 35,000-fold increase in use year-on-year. But social impacts – the changes to behaviour and the human way of life – dominate the list for the year. “The restrictions placed on how we move about and interact with one another arguably had the most impact,” Collins notes.

Interestingly, the dictionary points out that 2020 was not all about the pandemic. “Megxit”, or Prince Harry and actor Meghan Meghan’s decision to stand down as members of the UK royal family, was among the top words of the year. Anti-racism movement Black Lives Matter was one of the other key words, as was “mukbang” , the Korean word that refers to a video or webcast in which the host noisily eats a large quantity of food for the entertainment of viewers.

There’s no explaining tastes.

(With inputs from PTI)

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
app
Close
A Johns Hopkins University tracker on Wednesday showed that 405,400 people have died from the disease in the US, more than the 405,399 total US combat and non-combat deaths in WWII.(AFP)
A Johns Hopkins University tracker on Wednesday showed that 405,400 people have died from the disease in the US, more than the 405,399 total US combat and non-combat deaths in WWII.(AFP)

US Covid-19 deaths top its World War II fatalities

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 05:42 AM IST
“We need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter. We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus,” US President Joe Biden said at his inauguration.
Close
Fauci said Biden will issue a directive on Thursday that shows US intention to join the COVAX effort to deploy vaccines to people in need in rich and poor countries.(Bloomberg)
Fauci said Biden will issue a directive on Thursday that shows US intention to join the COVAX effort to deploy vaccines to people in need in rich and poor countries.(Bloomberg)

Joe Biden’s US to bolster coronavirus fight

UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 05:34 AM IST
“I am honoured to announce that the United States will remain a member” of the WHO, Biden’s top adviser on the pandemic, Dr Anthony Fauci told a virtual meeting of the world body.
Close
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wears a protective mask(Bloomberg File Photo)
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wears a protective mask(Bloomberg File Photo)

Anthony Fauci says coronavirus infections might be plateauing

Reuters, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 05:26 AM IST
At a White House news briefing, Fauci also said the coronavirus vaccine can be modified to take account of new mutations of the virus.
Close
Syringes and a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine.(Reuters File Photo )
Syringes and a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine.(Reuters File Photo )

Pfizer cuts Covid-19 vaccine deliveries by as much as half to some EU countries

Reuters, Bucharest/prague/sofia
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 05:22 AM IST
With governments across the region still reeling from the surprise cuts, officials say the reductions are undermining their efforts to inoculate their citizens against Covid-19
Close
The new president has vowed to take far more aggressive measures to contain the virus than his predecessor, starting with stringent adherence to public health guidance.(Bloomberg)
The new president has vowed to take far more aggressive measures to contain the virus than his predecessor, starting with stringent adherence to public health guidance.(Bloomberg)

US President Joe Biden signs burst of virus orders, vows 'Help is on the way'

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 04:22 AM IST
At the same time, he tried to manage expectations in his second day in office, saying despite the best intentions “we're going to face setbacks.”
Close
Trump's Turnberry club in Scotland took in less than $10 million, down more than 60%. Revenue at the family's golf club in Aberdeen dropped by roughly the same proportion.(REUTERS)
Trump's Turnberry club in Scotland took in less than $10 million, down more than 60%. Revenue at the family's golf club in Aberdeen dropped by roughly the same proportion.(REUTERS)

Donald Trump returns to a business empire ravaged by pandemic

AP
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 04:19 AM IST
Trump's 2020 financial disclosure released as he left office this week was just the latest bad news for his financial empire after banks, real estate brokerages and golf organizations announced they were cutting ties with his company following the storming of the Capitol this month by his political supporters.
Close
Biden, who indicated during the campaign that he favored extending New START, is not proposing any alterations, the U.S. official said.(Bloomberg)
Biden, who indicated during the campaign that he favored extending New START, is not proposing any alterations, the U.S. official said.(Bloomberg)

US Prez Joe Biden proposing 5-year extension of nuke treaty: Report

AP, Washington
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 11:55 PM IST
Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan planned to convey the extension proposal to Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, on Thursday afternoon, said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a matter not yet publicly announced by the administration.
Close
The ECDC also urged members to monitor changes in transmission rates or infection severity to identify and assess the circulation and impact of variants, and also to prepare laboratories for increased testing.(AFP)
The ECDC also urged members to monitor changes in transmission rates or infection severity to identify and assess the circulation and impact of variants, and also to prepare laboratories for increased testing.(AFP)

EU agency urges preparation of stronger measures over coronavirus variants

AFP
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 11:36 PM IST
The European Centre Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a new report that countries in the EU and European Economic Area "should expect increased numbers of Covid-19 cases due to the gradual spread and possible dominance of the variants with increased transmissibility."
Close
The fire broke out in the afternoon on the second floor of the two-storey building.(REUTERS)
The fire broke out in the afternoon on the second floor of the two-storey building.(REUTERS)

At least 15 killed, 11 injured in nursing home fire in Ukraine

Reuters, Kyiv
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 11:01 PM IST
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged the interior minister to open and take charge of an inquiry into the incident.
Close
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends her weekly news conference at the Capitol in Washington, DC on January 15, 2021. (REUTERS)
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends her weekly news conference at the Capitol in Washington, DC on January 15, 2021. (REUTERS)

Senate to get Donald Trump's impeachment trial soon: Nancy Pelosi

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 10:59 PM IST
The House impeachment managers -- the prosecutors who will present the case against Trump -- are in contact with the Senate about the timing, Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday.
Close
The poll for the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung was carried out online in December, after Biden’s election victory had become clear, according to Ray. YouGov surveyed roughly 1,000 respondents from each of the 12 countries, with results weighted for variables such as respondents’ ages, gender, education and religion.(AP)
The poll for the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung was carried out online in December, after Biden’s election victory had become clear, according to Ray. YouGov surveyed roughly 1,000 respondents from each of the 12 countries, with results weighted for variables such as respondents’ ages, gender, education and religion.(AP)

World has faith in Joe Biden, but not in the US: Survey

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 10:39 PM IST
Even in countries Trump courted heavily while in office –- such as India and Brazil -– Biden was seen as a welcome change. Only in Russia did more respondents disapprove of the change of guard in Washington.
Close
Canada’s campaign hit another roadblock last week, when Pfizer Inc. said it would temporarily reduce deliveries outside the US as it renovates a factory in Belgium to boost capacity. (Representative Image)(Bloomberg)
Canada’s campaign hit another roadblock last week, when Pfizer Inc. said it would temporarily reduce deliveries outside the US as it renovates a factory in Belgium to boost capacity. (Representative Image)(Bloomberg)

Canada's vaccination drive hindered despite securing enough shots for population

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 09:40 PM IST
Canada has administered about 684,000 doses, enough to give first shots to about 1.8% of the population, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker, though some people have already gotten two.
Close
A cyclist rides across an empty Oxford Street in London as Britain heads into a national lockdown on January 5. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on January 4 ordered England into a new national lockdown to contain a surge in Covid-19 cases that was threatening the British healthcare system before a vaccine programme reached a critical mass. (Justin Tallis / AFP)
A cyclist rides across an empty Oxford Street in London as Britain heads into a national lockdown on January 5. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on January 4 ordered England into a new national lockdown to contain a surge in Covid-19 cases that was threatening the British healthcare system before a vaccine programme reached a critical mass. (Justin Tallis / AFP)

One in five British adults went further into debt due to pandemic

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 09:08 PM IST
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey have highlighted those concerns in recent weeks and begun talking about measures that could bridge the inequality gap.
Close
The Boeing 737-500 jet crashed on January 9, minutes after taking off from Jakarta, the capital.(AP)
The Boeing 737-500 jet crashed on January 9, minutes after taking off from Jakarta, the capital.(AP)

Indonesia ends search for crashed plane's victims, debris

PTI, Jakarta
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 08:32 PM IST
Transportation minister Budi Karya Sumadi said retrieval operations have ended after nearly two weeks, but that a limited search for the missing memory unit from the cockpit voice recorder will continue.
Close
Kerry praised Europe’s policies on tackling climate and blasted Trump’s stance as “reckless” and embarrassing.(AP)
Kerry praised Europe’s policies on tackling climate and blasted Trump’s stance as “reckless” and embarrassing.(AP)

US climate envoy Kerry says Glasgow last chance for action

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 08:20 PM IST
In his first speech since becoming US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry said failure is “simply not an option” at COP26, which is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP