Word of the year (HLD 242)

19 Nov 2020

There are a lot of companies who annually release a word that has been significant in some way or other that year.

This year, of source, it’s understandable that the pandemic plays a major part in words that are labelled THE word of the year.

In Australia, apparently, (according to the Australian National Dictionary Centre, whose main purpose in life must be running the Academy Awards of words each year), our word of the year is “Iso”. Because we like to abbreviate things so isolation is too big and Iso is the IN thing. Literally.

Apparently ‘Iso’ won only after stiff competition from the words “bubble” and “Covidnormal”.

Collins Dictionary, however, has deemed “Lockdown” to be the word of the year.

Other big dictionary companies have not announced their winner yet, so there will be a tense wait for “unprecedented” and “panic buying” to see if they get a prize.

It’s an interesting challenge, though, to see if you can come up with a single word (or phrase, because let’s face it these dictionary people aren’t being totally above-board about the ‘one word’ rules…) that sums up your 2020. I’ve struggled but can’t choose between ‘write’, ‘hand washing’, ‘zoom’, or ‘physical distancing’. Maybe ‘dusty passport’ should be on the list too.

I remember reading a while back about people who choose their word at the BEGINNING of the year, as a way for them to set their priorities for the coming year.

This is an interesting concept, given we are more familiar with New Years Resolutions – where we try to work out which of our numerous bad habits or imperfections we will try to sort out during the coming year. But choosing a single word instead was described by someone, probably famous for some reason or another, as encapsulating her aspirations for the year ahead.

So as a bit of forward planning for the end of the year and the beginning of a totally different year that may or may not be very different, I’m starting to think of words I could adopt as my pre-emptive word of the year for 2021.

Fortunately there are websites that give you ideas on the sort of words that might work — some of these ideas include: Action, Mindfulness, Balance, Confidence, Write, Listen, Rebuilding, Momentum, Change, Learn, Breathe, Appreciate, Risk, Reduce, Connect, Enjoy, No, Courage, Silence, Be, Simplify, Strength, Dare, Focus, Discover, Optimism, Release, and Reflection.

What’s your preference? A PRE word to give you direction and focus your aspirations? Or a POST word that describes what you had to deal with during the year, while your directions and aspirations just happened without a one word focus?

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