The choice is in: Pandemic is WotY

“Pandemic” has been chosen by both Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com as their Word of the Year. It seems to cover all bases, really. “Bubble” is still our house’s Word of the Year. That and “Unemployment”. But I digress. “Comfort in the knowing…” Lol. The curse of the educated.

Similarly, at Merriam-Webster.com, searches for pandemic on March 11 were 115,806 per cent higher than spikes experienced on the same date last year, Sokolowski said.

Pandemic, with roots in Latin and Greek, is a combination of “pan,” for all, and “demos,” for people or population, he said. The latter is the same root of “democracy,” Sokolowski said. The word pandemic dates to the mid-1600s, used broadly for “universal” and more specifically to disease in a medical text in the 1660s, he said.

That was after the plagues of the Middle Ages, Sokolowski said.

He attributes the lookup traffic for pandemic not entirely to searchers who didn’t know what it meant but also to those on the hunt for more detail, or for inspiration or comfort in the knowing.

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