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'Corona pandemic' Germany's word of the year

November 30, 2020

The Society for German Language selected the word as it "reflects the dominant theme for almost the entire year." The announcement follows Merriam-Webster's designation of the word "pandemic" as its Word of the Year.

Deutschland | Berlin | Regierungserklärung | Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel
Image: Tobias Schwarz/AFP

The term "corona-pandemie," which means corona pandemic in German, was chosen by the Society for German Language as the 2020 word of the year. 

The phrase marks the dominant theme for almost the entire year, according to the Wiesbaden-based organization. The pandemic, in both the eyes of Chancellor Angela Merkel and many experts, has been the worst crisis since World War II, a statement on Monday by the society said. 

Linguistically, the term is also responsible for a number of new word formations, including corona demo, hotspot and warning app. 

Other contenders for the top spot were "lockdown," "conspiracy narrative," (Verschwörungserzählung) and "Black Lives Matter." 

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"The lockdown that came into force in March and from the end of October … partially paralyzed public life. The gross domestic product collapsed by more than 5% in 2020, air traffic by almost 40%," the group said. 

The decision follows a declaration made by Merriam-Webster, that "pandemic" is the word of the year. The word took on greater relevance in March, when the coronavirus crisis was designated as a pandemic, but started trending on Merriam-Webster.com as early as January and again in February, when the first US deaths and outbreaks took place.  

Read more:Opinion: Coronavirus Christmas debate misses the point 

So far, nearly 62,800,000 people have been infected by the virus and over 1.46 million have died worldwide. In Germany, over 1 million people have been infected and more than 16,300 people have died. 

lc/dr (AFP, AP)