2020 Word Of The Year

It’s that time. What is Oxford English Dictionary’s official word of 2020?



2020 is such a hot mess, it broke the dictionary. ‘Given the phenomenal breadth of language change and development during 2020, Oxford Languages concluded that this is a year which cannot be neatly accommodated in one single word.’

Other than the many words for the virus itself, is there any word you’re tired of hearing in 2020? For me, that one word is bolded in OED’s 2020 Language report. It’s a word that now makes me flinch when I hear it, a word I may never use simply again. ‘Words of an unprecedented year.’ Ugh.

For 2020, OED has assigned their words of the year to the month in which they were used most.


2020 Words of the Month
The Oxford English Dictionary



Other word trends that OED has highlighted for 2020:

By March, ‘coronavirus’ was one of the most commonly used nouns in English as a whole.

2020 has brought some statistically significant new noun word pairings. In 2019, for instance, the word ‘essential’ was most commonly paired with ‘oils.’ In 2020, ‘essential’ finds itself most commonly paired with ‘worker.’

In 2019, the word ‘remote’ was most commonly paired with: village, island, control, location, and monitoring. In 2020, ‘remote’ finds itself most commonly linked to: learning, working, workforce, instruction and monitoring.

And then, of course, there is ‘zoom.’ In 2019, the Oxford Dictionary found that ‘zoom’ was most commonly juxtaposed with: 10x, optical, 5x, click, and lens. In 2020, the most common collocates of ‘zoom’ are: via, meetings, conferencing, optical, and Skype.



Photos by Charles Deluvio


Art, Meet 2020


Lucky Numbers

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton