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The Spanish Word of the Year 2020


Don't you just want 2020 to be over? Without a doubt, this year has been quite challenging, especially due to everything that has occurred as the result of the coronavirus. In fact, 2020's Spanish Word of the Year is one of the terms most associated with this awful virus. Let's reveal this year's tragic winner. 


"Pandemia" : The Spanish Word of the Year 2020


Yes, pandemia (pandemic) is 2020's Spanish Word of the Year. Do we really have to explain why? Our friend Fermin sums it all up in a very simple phrase:


Esta maldita pandemia del coronavirus.

This damn coronavirus pandemic.

Caption 5, El coronavirus - Confinamiento en España - Part 1

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It is important to say, however, that in contrast to the English word "pandemic," which can function as both an adjective and a noun, in the Spanish language, pandemia is only a noun, whereas the adjective is pandémico pandémica.


Runners-up for 2020 Spanish Word of the Year

Most of the words on this list of runners-up for 2020 Spanish Word of the Year are associated with the coronavirus pandemic. However, at the end of this list, we have also included a word (a name, actually) that represents yet another of the many sad events that have occurred this year. Let's take a look.


Cuarentena (Quarantine)


Hoy les voy a contar sobre mi cuarentena en casa.

Today I'm going to tell you about my quarantine at home.

Caption 4, El coronavirus - La cuarentena en Ecuador

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Confinamiento (Confinement)


Los tres primeros días del confinamiento

The first three days of confinement,

tuvimos sensaciones muy extrañas.

The first three days of confinement, we felt very strange feelings.

Captions 7-8, El coronavirus - Confinamiento en España - Part 2

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Desinfectante (Sanitizing/Sanitizer)


The Diccionario de la Lengua Española (DLE) states that the word desinfectante is an adjective. Let's see it in action:


La segunda tarea que realizo es rellenar el gel desinfectante,

The second task I perform is refilling the sanitizing gel,

que se encuentra ubicado en tres posiciones distintas:

which is found in three different locations:

Captions 16-17, Sergio - Socorrismo y COVID-19

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However, throughout Latin America, the word desfinfectante is also used as a noun:


También recuerda ocupar desinfectante para mano,

Also remember to use hand sanitizer

que tenga por lo menos unos [sic] sesenta por ciento de alcohol.

that has at least sixty percent alcohol.

Captions 16-17, El coronavirus - Cómo protegerse

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Mascarilla (Mask)


Las medidas sanitarias que utilizo son:

The sanitary measures that I use are:

la mascarilla y desinfectarme las manos.

the mask and sanitizing my hands.

Captions 12-13, Sergio - Socorrismo y COVID-19

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Crisis (Crisis)


Y una gran crisis a nivel sanitario, económico y social.

And a great health, economic and social crisis.

Caption 60, El coronavirus - Introducción y vocabulario

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From Kobe Bryant to Sean Connery, this year, the world has lost some of its most beloved people. In fact, the Spanish-speaking world has lost one of its most iconic figures: Diego Armando Maradona, and the death of the football/soccer superstar has been deeply felt throughout the world. 


Si yo fuera Maradona, nunca me equivocaría

If I were Maradona, I would never make a mistake

Si yo fuera Maradona, perdido en cualquier lugar

If I were Maradona, lost anywhere

La vida es una tómbola de noche y de día

Life is a raffle [lottery] by night and day

La vida es una tómbola y arriba y arriba

Life is a raffle and up and up

Captions 3-6, Manu Chao - La Vida Tómbola

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That's all for today. What do you think of the Spanish Word of the Year 2020? Do you agree with this choice? Can you think of a better word? Please, feel free to share with us your comments and suggestions, and let's hope 2021 brings us less tragedy and more joy.  


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