Words of the year – 2020

Not “word” of the year this year, but “words.” This list was posted in the 2020-12-25/28 issue of Time. My favorite was Blursday which pretty much sums up 2020 for me and I first heard it on CBS Sunday Morning on the 2020-12-27 episode, just before I picked up the paper copy of Time..

Antiracist, adjective: Relating to people or actions working against systemic racism and the historical oppression of marginalized groups.

BIPOC, initialism: A term for Black, Indigenous and other people of color intended to highlight, in particular, the identities and experiences of Black and Native American communities in the U.S.

Blursday, noun: The fuzzy merging of time since the pandemic shut down so much of the world down, often making it difficult to determine what day of the week it is.

Bubble, noun: Also known as a pod; a small group of individuals who follow the same rules and standards for behavior—and can thus spend time together—during the pandemic, popularized by the isolation zone the NBA created at Disney World to protect basketball players.

Covidiot, noun: A pejorative term for someone who ignores health and safety guidelines intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Defund, verb: To withdraw financial support, as in calls to defund the police, a movement promoting a public-safety model that shifts resources from law enforcement to community-led social programs and initiatives.

Doomscroll, verb: To addictively thumb through the deluge of bad news shared on social media in 2020, often undertaken at bedtime.

Entanglement, noun: A reference to an extramarital affair, popularized when Jada Pinkett Smith discussed an instance of marital infidelity on an episode of her Red Table Talk show with her husband Will Smith.

Karen, noun: A colloquial term for a white woman weaponizing her privilege, often at the expense or well-being of a BIPOC individual. When used as a meme, it’s often paired with images of a short, angled and heavily highlighted hairstyle that’s been dubbed the “Can I speak to the manager” haircut.

On mute, idiom: Used when a fellow video-call participant is speaking without their microphone on, as in “you’re on mute,” a refrain popularized this year on Zoom calls across the world.

Quarantini, noun: The day or nighttime cocktail many have used to unwind, amid remote work and COVID-19 lockdowns.

Simp, noun, verb (simping): A colloquial term popularized on TikTok, for a man who is overly accommodating or devoted to someone (usually a woman); or a very devoted fan.

Social distancing, noun: A set of measures implemented to prevent the spread of a contagious disease, the usage of which increased by 400% this year, as authorities encouraged people to keep a safe space from people who are not in their household or “bubble” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Superspreader, noun, adjective: A person or event responsible for transmitting an infectious disease to a large number of people.

Zoombombing, noun, verbthe unplanned and unwanted intrusion of someone, usually an Internet troll, into a video conference that they were not invited to.