THE CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY has chosen 'quarantine' as its official word of the year.
The word has blasted its way into the vocabulary of almost everyone on Earth this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Editors of the dictionary said that 'quarantine' was the third most looked-up word overall in 2020, just losing out to 'hello', as well as 'dictionary', peculiarly.
It also edged out the likes of 'pandemic' and 'lockdown', which were also high up on the list.
'Quarantine' has effectively taken on a new meaning over the last 12 months or so, with the term 'self-isolation' being blended into it ever since such action become standard procedure for anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms.
The official definition has now been updated to: "A general period of time in which people are not allowed to leave their homes or travel freely, so that they do not spread a disease".
During the third week of March this year, there was a massive surge in the number of searches for the word 'quarantine' as restrictions began being imposed in countries worldwide in response to the Covid-19 crisis, and people sought to make sense of the new normal around them.
"The words that people search for reveal not just what is happening in the world, but what matters most to them in relation to those events," said Cambridge Dictionary publishing manager Wendalyn Nichols.
"Neither coronavirus nor Covid-19 appeared among the words that Cambridge Dictionary users searched for most this year.
"We believe this indicates that people have been fairly confident about what the virus is.
"Instead, users have been searching for words related to the social and economic impacts of the pandemic, as evidenced not just by 'quarantine' but by the two runners-up on the shortlist for Word of the Year: 'lockdown' and 'pandemic' itself," she added.