According to Merriam-Webster, the Word of the Year is…Pandemic. I am sure you have all heard that. And not a surprise, really. The funny thing to me about this is up until we actually had a global virus situation, we all used the word “epidemic” to apply to anything that was running rampant. Then, we find ourselves with an actual, real live epidemic, and we all call it a pandemic. I feel like “epidemic” kind of got short-shrifted and lost its opportunity for the spotlight but what can you do.
Anyway, this got me thinking: what are some of the prior Words of the Year? So of course I had to look them up.
They is the Word of the Year for 2019. This is to recognize persons whose gender is nonbinary. So that’s pretty cool.
Justice was for 2018. According to the fine folks at M-W, justice was at the center of many of America’s debates, including racial justice, social justice, economic justice and criminal justice. Just reading that makes me realize that the pot was indeed boiling and leading up to the events of 2020.
Feminism was the word for 2017. I honestly do not recall what spurred that one on – 2017 just seems soooo long ago.
I am having fun here so why not finish off this past decade. 2016 was Surrealism. That one is just self-explanatory so I shall move on. -Ism was for 2015. Unfortunately, they did not detail which “isms” people were looking up. Culture was 2014 and Science was 2013. In 2012, for the first time ever, two words were declared Word of the Year: Socialism and Capitalism. Apparently, lots of political words were looked up during that presidential election year! 2011 brought pragmatic. Anybody recall what happened in 2011 that brought that on? And last but not least, 2010’s Word of the Year was Austerity. I can’t help but to think that that one was in response to 2008’s word which was Bailout!
I find myself wondering what the Word of the Year for 2021 will be. Will it be something positive like They or Justice, or will it be something concerning like Austerity or Bailout. If there is one thing we have learned in 2020, it is anybody’s guess!