New Words to Describe 2020: Lessons for 2021

Lockdown. Pandemic. Quarantine. These are just some of the words to describe 2020. For a number of people, the previous year felt like jumping into a bottomless pit of darkness. It was sudden. Almost everything and everyone was shut into the unknown.

Owing to the emergence of COVID-19, numerous terms came back to life. People have used these terms more often than before. Ranking up in the top list include social distancing, self-quarantine, and pandemic. In addition to this list, new words to describe 2020 emerged as people across the globe coined them according to the changes undergone in the year 2020.

Amid this previous halt in 2020, why don’t we transform these circumstances into an encouraging force? With people coining new words to describe 2020, let us see how these could change our perspective in 2021.


Anthropause (noun): a global scope of reduction in travel and human activity

This neologism is one of the new words to describe 2020. Originally used by researchers in June last year, the word “anthropause” became one of the highlights in Oxford Languages’ 2020 Words of an Unprecedented Year Report. With restrictions set and lockdowns imposed, the world in its entirety came to a great PAUSE. Most of us had to be in the confines of our homes. Only purchasing basic necessities makes us set foot in the streets. A city of bustling crowds turned into a near-empty ghost space. Coming to this great pause makes us realize what to do in 2021. It is teaching people not to rush things, and that life is not a race. We are given the chance to declutter our pre-pandemic life. Most importantly, the year 2020 is as well reminding us to reprioritize our goals and pay attention to what’s more necessary.

New Words to Describe 2020: Lessons for 2021


Doomscrolling (verb): the act of never-ending consumption of negative online news

The term droomscrolling was already born around 2018 or even earlier than that. However, with the onslaught of news about the pandemic, this term joined the list of new words to describe 2020.

As COVID-19 spread heightened, people got a handful of news that’s entirely hellacious. It could sometimes reach a point of becoming detrimental to one’s health. Lesson? Instead of binging on disheartening online news, we need to break this mentally destructive habit. To live mentally healthier in 2021, start setting boundaries to what we consume online. Set a timer for checking online updates. Then, allot the rest of the time for more meaningful activities. It could be connecting with a bunch of friends or simply enjoying mealtime. It’s about time we replace the habit of doomscrolling with more ways of building positive mental health.


Blursday (noun): refers to any day of the week because one cannot figure out what day it exactly is

When the pandemic initially kicked in, governments gave a stay-at-home order for their citizens. Everyone was in the corner of their homes 24/7. Work from home (WFH) became the new work arrangement. Schools and universities transitioned to virtual learning too. Even ESL schools catering online lessons and YouTube videos about learning have also boomed in the past months. With all these scenes happening in the homes, every single day was almost like other days. Nothing much felt different. Mondays used to be blue and Fridays used to be moments of our last hoorah for the week. This kind of set-up eventually gave birth to another one in the list of new words to describe 2020. With the difficulty of determining the day of the week, all days become blurry. Thus, people coined the term Blursday.

Despite losing track of time, we are reminded to turn every Blursday into a more definite day. In 2021, we should live in the present moment. The past year of uncertainty has taught us to be more attentive, to make use of the time being alive, and to be clear with time-bound goals.

new words to describe 2020


Garnering up the most in the lexical rank are the new words to describe 2020 that changed the way we see 2021. One of which is anthropause, the term used for a global shutdown of human activity or movement. With anthropause leaving us all at home, every day becomes a Blursday, just any day that doesn’t seem to be different from the rest. Finally, being left with no other way to connect to pertinent issues and information during the quarantine period, we couldn’t help but doomscroll most of the time.

Well, that is about to change this 2021 if we choose to act on 2020’s negativity with a better perspective.
Now, it’s your turn. What lessons has 2020 taught you for a better year this 2021? Will allow a positive transition? The choice is yours.

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