Article originally published on https://www.dictionary.com/e/2020-describe-one-word/
Well, what a year it has been. From a global pandemic, protests and riots in parts of the United States, terrorist attacks, national and local elections, online learning and remote work, describing 2020 in just a word or two seems like a daunting task.
With terms such as quarantine, social distancing, and Zoom parties, it seems like our everyday lexicon will forever be changed by the words and phrases that have permeated our conversations this year.
But which words really describe this past year? We asked our fans to put their wordsmithing to the test. Here are the words they chose to best sum up 2020!
@S_twt said that unprecedented is one way to describe this wacky year.
There’s no question the word unprecedented has been in heavy rotation—it’s been used so much our own social media audience even told us it’s one word they never, ever want to hear again. But life-altering and catastrophic events—from the pandemic to the wildfires in California—have never been seen before, or at least not to this level.
@Thesuperflynerd suggested entanglement as the word that best sums up 2020. This word saw sudden popularity in late June 2020 when actress Jada Pinkett Smith used the term to describe her relationship with R&B singer August Alsina while still being married to Will Smith.
First recorded in the 1630s, it means “something that entangles, snares, and involves complications.” Perhaps Facebook needs to add this as an option for relationship status; it’s the new “complicated.”
This slang word is a combination of hell and -acious, and it came to us from @Le_Crenn on Twitter.
Hellacious can mean “astonishing,” which sounds pretty positive. Then again, it can also mean “difficult.” Sounds appropriate for 2020, doesn’t it?