09:25 GMT28 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US-published Merriam-Webster dictionary picked "pandemic" as its word of the year on Monday, based on the number of lookups on its website.

    According to the announcement, "pandemic" is among words that have been looked up in extremely high numbers in the online dictionary.

    The word was coined from the Greek roots "pan," meaning "all," and "demos," meaning "people." It began trending in January, when the United States recorded its first positive case of coronavirus, and was searched 1,621 percent more than a year before in February. The day the World Health Organisation declared the new disease a pandemic, on March 11, searches spiked 115,806 percent.

    The shortlist of most prominent 2020 words also includes "coronavirus," "quarantine" and "asymptomatic". The dictionary said it was striking that "pandemic" stayed near the top of its lookup chart for the past ten months, while searches for other related terms, such as coronavirus, had waned.

    In turn, earlier in October, Collins English Dictionary named "lockdown" as the world of the year.

    The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly started to spread throughout the world in January 2020. At present, over 62 million people have tested positive and almost 1.5 million have died since the beginning of the pandemic. Countries have reimposed restrictive measures and lockdowns as they are facing the second wave of the dangerous infection.

    Tags:
    coronavirus, pandemic, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, words
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