NEW YORK (AP) — If you were to choose a word that rose above most in 2020, which word would it be?
Ding, ding, ding: Merriam-Webster on Monday announced “pandemic” as its 2020 word of the year.
“That probably isn't a big shock,” Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster, told The Associated Press.
The word took on urgent specificity in March, when the coronavirus crisis was designated a pandemic, but it started to trend up on Merriam-Webster.com as early January and again in February when the first U.S. deaths and outbreaks on cruise ships occurred.
On March 11, when the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, lookups on the site for pandemic spiked hugely. Site interest for the word has remained significantly high through the year, Sokolowski said.
By huge, Sokolowski means searches for pandemic on March 11 were 115,806% higher than lookups experienced on the same date last year.
Here are 11 other popular words in 2020:
In case you thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse, Merriam-Webster just officially recognized “irregardless” as a word.😱
Donald Trump was impeached for a second time Wednesday, just a week after he encouraged loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results and then a mob of supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. The House voted 232-197, with 10 Republicans joining Democrats to rebuke the president.
The FBI is warning of plans for 'armed protests' at all 50 state capitals and in Washington in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, stoking fears of more bloodshed after the siege at the U.S. Capitol.
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In this Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, photo taken through a camera lens the word "pandemic" in seen in a dictionary in Washington. Dictionary.com declared “pandemic” its 2020 word of the year. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)