Besides quarantine, the words with the most votes were cycling and 14 days. Source: Freepik
Besides quarantine, the words with the most votes were cycling and 14 days. Source: Freepik

Word of the Year 2020 Is Quarantine

Which word marked 2020 the most?

This time, the answer to this question is the same almost all over the world. The creators of English dictionaries have chosen words that are somehow related to the coronavirus.

Collins chose the word lockdown, and Merriam-Webster chose pandemic.

Meanwhile at Oxford they concluded that the unusual year could not be described in just one word. In a special report a whole bunch of them were selected, in addition to those already mentioned, there were bushfire, impeachment and social distancing.

Source: Pexels
Source: Pexels

In these days we also chose the Slovenian Word of the Year, which was announced for the fifth time in a row at ZRC SAZU. Among the finalists, selected by the expert commission, one theme, expressed in many words, prevailed – the virus:

  • 14 days
  • vaccine
  • quarantine
  • cycling
  • bubble
  • non-year
  • positive
  • ventilator
  • easing
  • schoolsick
  • zoom

The eleventh finalist was the word vaccine, which was chosen as the word of the year by the newspaper Delo.

A record 5000 people voted. The winning word was quarantine with about 1050 votes.

Source: Freepik
Source: Freepik

»Ideally, the word should be as fresh as possible, illustrate an important social change, or the frequency of its use has increased significantly,« said the initiator of the activity, Asst. Dr. Simona Klemenčič.

The new word (neologism) of the year was wuhobran, and the gesture of the year – chosen in cooperation with the Association of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Societies Slovenia – was coronavirus.

Among the record 70 poems received, which had to contain all the finalists for the word of the year, they chose a poem by an anonymous author, Our War.

Since ZRC SAZU has been choosing a word of the year, the words have been climate (2019), bee (2018), European champions (2017) and refugee (2016).

They have already received the first suggestion for the word of 2021 – someone proposed the vial, the word for the vaccine bottle.

Points to Consider

  1. Which non-coronavirus related word stuck in your mind the most?
  2. What are the words of the year usually associated with?
  3. Have you ever been quarantined?


The original version of this article was published on January 12th.

English translation courtesy of JL FlannerTotal Slovenia News, an English language website with news from and about Slovenia.


Hanžič je novinarka, ki jo ob spremljanju vsakodnevnega dogajanja najbolj veselijo druženje s prijatelji, potovanja in sprehodi v naravo.

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Ljubljana Slovenia

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