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COVID 19, WFH added to Oxford English Dictionary


SRINAGAR:  COVID 19 and WFH (work from home) has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

The definitive record of the English language has released its 2020 list featuring 12 new words, mostly revolving around the coronavirus pandemic.


“It is a rare experience for lexicographers to observe an exponential rise in usage of a single word in a very short period of time, and for that word to come overwhelmingly to dominate the global discourse, even to the exclusion of most other topics. Covid-19, a shortening of coronavirus disease 2019, and its various manifestations have done just that… It is a consistent theme of lexicography that great social change brings great linguistic change and that has never been truer than in this current global crisis”, Bernadette Paton, Executive Editor: New Words, OED Management, wrote in a blog.

 Oxford has defined Covid-19 as an acute respiratory illness in humans caused by a coronavirus, which is capable of producing severe symptoms and death, especially in the elderly.

The Oxford English Dictionary keeps track of the terms being used more frequently than usual, and in March, all 20 of the top keywords had something to do with coronavirus.

“Any new and widespread phenomenon always brings with it the development of new language to describe it,” wrote Fiona McPherson, editorial manager at the OED, in a statement accompanying the dictionary’s update.

The dictionary updates its pages every four months, and this time a few medical-related words have found their way into it. They include personal protective (or protection). Interestingly, ‘work from home’ that millions shifted too got a definition.

Last month, Merriam-Webster announced its fastest update ever, adding COVID-19—the shortened form of coronavirus disease 2019 —to its online dictionary a mere one month after the World Health Organization minted it. In the slow-moving world of lexicography, that’s a “rapid pace.” Super-spreader, self-quarantine, and patient zero were also included in the special update.