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Nominations for Words of the Year 2020

December 17th, 2020 Comments Off on Nominations for Words of the Year 2020

Nominations for Words of the Year 2020 follow below.
The final selection will be held at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday, December 17th in a virtual livestream vote.


American Dialect Society Words of the Year (2020)

NOMINATIONS to be voted on in the Word of the Year virtual event, Dec. 17, 2020 

POLITICAL WORD OF THE YEAR

  • abolish/defund: verbs used (at times hyperbolically) to call for drastic restructuring or reforming of law enforcement in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police
  • dissent collar: jabot collar worn by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when issuing dissenting opinions, and worn by others in her honor after her death  
  • freedumb: reckless or thoughtless invocation of “freedom,” for instance in refusing to wear a mask 
  • petromasculinity: form of masculinity on display during pro-Trump highway rallies 
  • red mirage/blue shift: appearance from early returns in the 2020 presidential election that voting was skewing toward Republicans before more Democratic-leaning votes were counted

 DIGITAL WORD OF THE YEAR

  • #BlackInTheIvory: hashtag used to amplify the voices of Black scholars and their experiences of systemic racism within academia
  • doomscrolling: obsessively scanning social media and websites for bad news
  • fancam: video clip made by a fan of a musical act, especially a K-Pop band, which can be used to derail an online conversation or as a form of subversive political protest; also a verb
  • sus: clipping of “suspicious” often used in the game Among Us to label a player suspected of being an impostor 
  • TikToked: to be made the target of a campaign mobilizing TikTok users, as for political purposes 

ZOOM-RELATED WORD OF THE YEAR (special category)

  • oysgezoomt: fatigued or bored by Zoom (formed in Yiddish) 
  • you’re muted: weary refrain on Zoom to remind someone to unmute when speaking
  • Zoombombing: disruptive intrusion on a Zoom session by online trolls
  • Zoom fatigue: exhaustion experienced by being over-exposed to Zoom
  • zumping: [Zoom + dumping] breaking up with someone via Zoom

 CORONAVIRUS-RELATED WORD OF THE YEAR (special category)

  • contact tracing: the process of identifying who may have come into contact with a person carrying an infectious disease like coronavirus
  • coronials: the coronavirus generation, for the predicted baby boom in the wake of the pandemic 
  • COVID-19, Covid: the disease caused by infection from novel coronavirus
  • flattening the curve: the effort to slow the spread of coronavirus by taking community isolation measures 
  • moronavirus: disparaging term for foolish behavior or ideas related to the coronavirus pandemic

SLANG/INFORMAL WORD OF THE YEAR 

  • covidiot: a person who foolishly ignores COVID-19 protocols
  • girls, gays, and theys: inclusive form of address encompassing female-identifying, LGBTQ, and nonbinary identities
  • poggers: term used to denote excitement, derived from a Twitch emote showing someone with a surprised expression
  • the rona: playful term for “coronavirus” (also: Rona, Miss Rona, Aunt Rona)
  • WAP: acronym for “wet-ass pussy,” from the song of that title by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion

EUPHEMISM OF THE YEAR

  • essential (workers, labor, businesses): used for people, often underpaid, who are actually treated as expendable because they are required to work and thus risk infection from coronavirus
  • everything is cake: expression of extreme distrust, based on memes in which objects turn out to be hyper-realistic cakes  
  • freedom seeds: nickname for ammunition used by the National Rifle Association
  • humaning: marketing term for a consumer-oriented approach
  • Toobin, v.: to expose oneself on Zoom in the manner of Jeffrey Toobin

EMOJI OF THE YEAR

  • 👉👈 (two fingers touching): used to indicate shyness, hesitation, or pleading
  • 🥺 (face with pleading eyes): used for timid begging or beseeching, or to react to cute things 
  • 👁👄👁 (eye mouth eye): “It is what it is,” also used to express amazement, shock, disgust, or confusion.
  • ✍️ (writing hand): used for bullet-pointed lists of how to fix things
  • 😷 (face with medical mask): indicating mask-wearing during the pandemic

MOST CREATIVE (combining forms)

  • corona-: as in coronasomnia, coronababies, coronacut, coronacation, coronabros
  • fatigue: as in Covid fatigue, lockdown fatigue, pandemic fatigue, Zoom fatigue 
  • mask-: as in maskne (acne caused by mask-wearing), maskhole, mask break
  • quaran-: as in quarantini, quaranteam, quaranbeard, quarantigue
  • Zoom-: as in Zoombombing, Zoom mom, Zoom party, Zoom school 

MOST USEFUL

  • Before Times: the time before the beginning of the pandemic
  • Blursday: humorous indication of difficulty in determining what day of the week it is
  • bubble/pod: terms for the group with which one remains in quarantine
  • PPE: abbreviation for personal protective equipment
  • superspreader: a patient or event responsible for spreading infection to many people 

 MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED

  • antiracism: the practice of actively working to prevent or combat racism
  • BIPOC: acronym for Black, Indigenous and People of Color
  • contactless: requiring no physical contact, to avoid transmitting disease 
  • curbside: adjacent to a curb, as for pickup of goods without entering a store or restaurant
  • gigafire: a wildfire that burns at least a million acres of land
  • Zoomer: term for Generation Z, previously a play on boomer but now highlighting their use of Zoom for remote learning and other activities 

 WORD OF THE YEAR

  • antiracism: the practice of actively working to prevent or combat racism
  • Before Times: the time before the beginning of the pandemic
  • BIPOC: acronym for Black, Indigenous and People of Color
  • Blursday: humorous indication of difficulty in determining what day of the week it is
  • covidiot: a person who foolishly ignores COVID-19 protocols
  • doomscrolling: obsessively scanning social media and websites for bad news
  • pandemic: epidemic over a wide area affecting a large proportion of the population
  • social distancing: keeping away from others as much as possible to prevent the spread of coronavirus 
  • 2020: used to sum up chaotic and despondent feelings inspired by the year’s events  
  • Zoom- (combining form): as in Zoombombing, Zoom mom, Zoom party, Zoom school

 

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