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'Unprecedented' chosen by Dictionary.com users as Word of the Year

By
Don Jacobson
The iconic New Years Eve ball is seen on the rooftop of One Times Square in New York City on October 21. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The iconic New Years Eve ball is seen on the rooftop of One Times Square in New York City on October 21. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 16 (UPI) -- "Unprecedented" has been chosen by users of Dictionary.com as the People's Choice Word of the Year for 2020.

The word received the most votes from users as one that best describes the circumstances and feelings of 2020.

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"What's particularly fascinating about 'unprecedented' from a language perspective is the life cycle the word has had this year," John Kelly, senior research editor at Dictionary.com, said in a statement.

"The pandemic, the protests, the presidential election, the extreme climate episodes -- 2020 sent us searching for a word that could do justice to the scale and pace of all this upheaval."

RELATED 'Pandemic' is Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year

Merriam-Webster last month chose "pandemic" as 2020's Word of the Year, as did Dictionary.com. Wednesday's result came after the site put the question to users.

"Unprecedented" has been the subject of a high number of searches on Dictionary.com and saw frequent use in emails, advertisements and headlines, the site said.

Kelly said the word has been a bit overused and "now the joke is that 'unprecedented' needs to be sent into retirement."

RELATED Merriam-Webster announces 'they' as 2019 Word of the Year

"But in 2020, 'unprecedented' is the word that just won't go away," the site said.

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The first runner-up for the People's Choice Word of the Year was "pandemic," followed by "lockdown," "chaos/chaotic" and "quarantine."

Editors said all the candidate words reflect the "prominence of public health measures in 2020."

RELATED Dictionary.com's 2019 Word of the Year: 'Existential'

"Quarantine" was Dictionary.com's Word of the Month for March, not long after the coronavirus arrived in the United States.

Other words that received an honorable mention for the People's Choice Word of the Year were "isolation," "corona," "tumultuous," "pandemonium" and "upheaval."

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