KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 24 ― Collins Dictionary has declared “lockdown” as the word of the year due to its sharp rise in usage during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to a report by the BBC, the dictionary selected the word because it had become synonymous with the experience of billions of people around the world as governments took restrictive measures to curb the virus.

Lexicographers (people who work on dictionaries), registered more than 250,000 usages of the word “lockdown” in 2020, which is a massive increase from just 4,000 last year.

In case you are morbidly curious, the dictionary defined lockdown as “the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces”.

The BBC report goes on to say that the word came into common use as governments around the world implemented strict measures to stop the transmission of Covid-19.


Helen Newstead, a language content consultant at Collins said that lockdowns have affected the way we work, study, shop and socialise.

“With many countries entering a second lockdown, it is not a word of the year to celebrate, she noted, “But it is, perhaps, one that sums up the year for most of the world.”

It is worth mentioning that there were other pandemic-linked terms that made it to the dictionary’s top-10 list for the year. They include “furlough”, “key worker”, “self-isolate” and “social distancing” as well as “coronavirus”.


Last year’s Collins Dictionary word of the year was “climate strike” and it marked a year in which Greta Thunberg led a global environmental movement.

But what do you think? Does “lockdown” really deserve to be word of the year? What would your word of the year be? ― SoyaCincau