Merriam-Webster, today announced “pandemic” as its 2020 word of the year.
Speaking to Associated Press, Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s Editor said the choice ”isn’t a big shock,” acknowledging further that this period in the future would probably be known by the word.
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Although the global health crisis started earlier the previous year, 2019, it was on March of 2020 that word became notoriously specific when the World Health Organisation designated the coronavirus a pandemic and search interest on the word has remained high ever since.
According to Sokolowski, searches for pandemic on Merriam-Webster from March were 115,806% higher than searches experienced on the same period last year. And they started adding related terms as searches increased over the months.
The word pandemic dates back as far as the 1600s after the plague of the middle age. It was applied more specifically to describe universal disease outbreak in medical text written at that time.