It’s no surprise that the word “pandemic” has been chosen by Merriam Webster as the “word of the year.” This announcement was made on Monday.
That probably isn’t a big shock,” Peter Sokolowski, editor at Merriam Webster told the Associated Press. “Often the big news story has a technical word that’s associated with it and in this case, the word pandemic is not just technical but has become general. It’s probably the word by which we’ll refer to this period in the future,” he said.
Pandemic has roots in Latin and Greek. It is a combination of “pan” which means all and “demos” which means “people” or “population.” Sokolowski noted that “the word pandemic dates to the mid-1600s, used broadly for universal and more specifically to disease in a medical text in the 1600s.”
He said that although the word was looked up by searchers who didn’t know its meaning, it was also browsed by those who were searching for more details, inspiration or comfort in these difficult times. He also said that words spike during a national tragedy or a shocking incident. The pandemic has definitely been not only a national tragic event but also one that has adversely affected the entire world.
Although the word pandemic was used a lot in March, when the spread of coronavirus was deemed to be a “pandemic”, it started to trend in the US in early January and in February after outbreaks occurred on cruise ships.
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