Coronavirus

The German Language’s English Language Import of the Year for 2020 Is “Lockdown”

February 2, 2021

BERLIN — The German language’s English language import of the year for 2020 is — surprise! — “lockdown.”

A jury of academics on Tuesday announced that the word, which has been ubiquitous in German since the coronavirus pandemic hit Europe nearly a year ago, has been chosen as “Anglicism of the year.” Previous winners include “fake news” in 2016.

The runners-up were a string of pandemic-related terms that also have become established in German: “social distancing,” “superspreader,” “homeoffice,” “homeschooling” and “shutdown.”

The jury cited the “central role” that “lockdown” played in discussions of measures to combat the pandemic and its “quick integration” into Germans’ vocabulary. It pointed to the appearance of offshoots such as “lockdownbedingt” (because of the lockdown) and “lockdownaehnlich” (similar to a lockdown).

Germany is currently in its second lockdown. Infection figures in the country have fallen, but it’s unclear whether restrictions will be loosened in mid-February, when it is currently due to end.

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