Cambridge Dictionary names ‘quarantine’ word of the year 2020

Photo: Jyotirmoy Gupta/Maktoob

Cambridge Dictionary has revealed its word of 2020 as “quarantine”.

According to the dictionary, “quarantine”
was the third most searched word of the pandemic-stricken year, after the words “hello” and “dictionary”, that recur almost every year.

The word was searched for the most in between March 18 and 24, 2020 when coronavirus contained restrictions began to be imposed across globe.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, meaning to the word quarantine is: “A general period of time in which people are not allowed to leave their homes or travel freely so that they do not catch or spread a disease.”

Dictionary editors edged out other finalist words “pandemic” and “lockdown”, which were also among the most looked-up between January and the end of October this year.

“The words that people search for reveal not just what is happening in the world, but what matters most to them in relation to those events,” Wendalyn Nichols, Cambridge Dictionary publishing manager said.

“Neither coronavirus nor Covid-19 appeared among the words that Cambridge Dictionary users searched for most this year. We believe this indicates that people have been fairly confident about what the virus is,” he added.

Other words include “HyFlex” and “Social distancing.”

“HyFlex” is short for hybrid flexible and denotes a type of teaching in which some students are physically present in class and others join the same class at the same time from a distance, using the internet.

“Social distancing” is the the practice of keeping away from others to stop the spread of disease.