“Quarantine” is the Cambridge Dictionary Word of the Year 2020

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Cambridge Dictionary announced quarantine as Word of the Year 2020, after data shows it was one of the most searched words in the Cambridge Dictionary this year.

Quarantine was the only word to rank in the top five for search peaks and overall views (over 183,000 at the start of November), with the largest search spike (28,455) seen the week of March 18-24, when many countries around the world went into lockdown due to COVID-19.

Cambridge Dictionary editors have also been tracking how people use quarantine, and discovered a new emerging meaning: a general period during which people are not allowed to leave their homes or travel freely, so as not to catch or spread disease. Research shows that the word is used as a synonym for confinement, especially in the United States, to refer to a situation where people stay at home to avoid catching the disease.

This new sense of quarantine has now been added to the Cambridge Dictionary, and marks a change from the existing meanings that relate to containing a person or animal suspected of being contagious: a specific period of time during which a person or animal with or likely to be affected must stay or be kept away from others in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

Wendalyn Nichols, Cambridge Dictionary Editor, said: “The words people search reveal not only what is going on in the world, but what matters most to them about those events.

‘Or coronavirus or COVID-19[female[feminine was among the most searched words by users of the Cambridge dictionary this year. We think this indicates that people are quite confident about the nature of the virus. Instead, users searched for words related to the social and economic impacts of the pandemic, as evidenced by not only quarantine But by the two shortlisted finalists for Word of the Year: confinement, and pandemic himself. ‘

The Cambridge Dictionary’s most viewed blog post this year was Quarantine, wearers and face masks: the language of the coronavirus, which had nearly 80,000 views in the first six weeks after its publication on February 26, and now ranks ninth most viewed About words post for almost ten years that the blog has been online. The post covers a range of related terms, such as infectious, contagious, carriers, super spreaders, and symptoms, as well as phrases such as get a virus, a peak in cases, contain the spread, and develop a vaccine.

Cambridge Dictionary Publishers regularly monitor a wide range of sources for new words and meanings that are added to the online dictionary each month. On the “New Words” blog, potential new additions are posted every week so that readers can vote on whether they think these words should be added. In a recent poll, 33% of respondents said quaranteam-combination quarantine and team, sense a group of people entering quarantine together– should be added to the dictionary. Other suggestions include the portmanteau words quaranteen, coronary, and lockstalgia.


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