Collins Dictionary has named their top 10 words for 2020 and as per usual we have a mix of the good, the bad, the unsurprising and the ugly on our hands.
The word of the year top spot went to ‘lockdown’, which skyrocketed in 2020 with the dictionary reporting 250,000 usages of the word this year compared with just 4,000 last year.
One word named in the top 10, however, is sure to raise some eyebrows and hurt some feelings with the controversial term ‘Megxit’ being listed in the top 10 in what can only be described as a direct swipe at former senior royal Meghan Markle.
‘Megxit’ was the term coined in January of this year when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shocked the world by announcing they would be stepping down from their roles as senior members of the royal family.
Of course, the term rolls off the tongue nicely but is a divisive one given that it was Harry, rather than Meghan, who was stepping away from his family, legacy and lifelong role within the institution, but it seems to place the blame for the departure solely at his new wife’s feet.
This, of course, came after months of intense press scrutiny that escalated into Meghan taking legal action against the Mail on Sunday for publishing a private letter to her father without her permission.
She also openly discussed the ‘unfair’ treatment’ she received at the hands of the British press who among other title had nicknamed her ‘Duchess Difficult’ and ‘Me-gain’, reportedly off the back of staff using the insults.
The inclusion of the word is sure to pour salt onto an already exposed wound, after a tricky few months of snubs and snides about the duo, who are now living in a luxury mansion in California.
Just this week, The Times reported that the now LA-based Prince Harry requested to have a wreath laid on his behalf at the Cenotaph Remembrance Sunday ceremony, which his father Prince Charles and brother Prince William attended without him this year, only to be denied.
He and Meghan were subsequently photographed laying their own wreath in solitude at the Los Angeles National Cemetery.
Coronavirus dominates 2020 Words
Apart from the risky royal term, other words that were named by the dictionary largely centred around the major upheavals of 2020.
BLM got a look in, after the murder of unarmed Black American George Floyd by local police kicked off a global movement opposing racially motivated violence and oppression particularly at the hands of law enforcement.
Other terms in the top 10 were social distancing, key worker, self-isolate and coronavirus.
Perhaps the only light-hearted terms to make the list this year were TikToker thanks to the explosion of the popular app, and Mukbang, which is described by the dictionary as ‘a video or webcast in which the host eats a large quantity of food for the entertainment of viewers’. Mukbang became popular in South Korea in 2010, and has since become a worldwide phenomenon.
The list differs drastically to previous years, where words varied from social media trends to climate change references.
Collins’ words of the year from 2013, when the dictionary began to join the tradition, to this year can be seen below.
2017: Fake news
2019: Climate strike
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