The Informer: Covidiot, quarantinis and coronacoasters: what's your word of the year?

Covidiots, quarantinis and coronacoasters: what's your word of the year?

We've all added a few words to our vocabulary this year but it seems one might have the inside running as "word of the year".

Most of the words on the shortlist for Collins Word of the Year 2020 relate to the coronavirus pandemic. Having never previously used the word "coronavirus" in my lifetime, it comes as no surprise its use year-on-year has increased 35,000-fold. No gasp there, folks.

David Shariatmadari, who writes the dictionary's Word of the Year blog, hasn't given too much away but it's fair to say the word lockdown could well feature on the podium at the end of the year. His explanation of the word's use over time is fascinating. That it's morphed from its origins as a piece of prison vocabulary to being (largely) accepted as a public health measure, says much for how 2020 has panned out.

Apportioning colours to words may be a spectacularly (and perhaps embarrassingly) individual penchant. But, to me, lockdown is a grey word. It doesn't elicit an emotion, but suffice to say, I don't live in Victoria either where it may be greeted less ambivalently.

But from 2020 a slew of words have been created, some compounds of nonsense, that are far more vibrant. Covidiot, for starters. What about Blursday, quarantinis and coronoacoaster? If you've lived this year with an eye half open you would likely understand their meaning even if you've never uttered them out loud.

Gladys Berejiklian turned attention to a different word today when she mentioned changing one word of our national anthem.

The NSW Premier, in NAIDOC Week let's not forget, is backing the campaign to change the opening lines of Advance Australian Fair from "we are young and free" to "we are one and free".

"Recognising all of our key parts of our society is critical ... and I think if we say, 'we're one and free', it acknowledges that we're not really young as a continent. We're tens of thousands of years old when it comes to human inhabitants," Ms Berejiklian said.

"Respect is important. Inclusiveness is important."

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