Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2020

Our Word of the Year 2020 is… quarantine. Our data shows it was one of the most highly searched words on the Cambridge Dictionary this year.

Quarantine was the only word to rank in the top five for both search spikes  and overall views (more than 183,000 by early November), with the largest spike in searches (28,545) seen the week of 18-24 March, when many countries around the world went into lockdown as a result of COVID-19. Continue reading “Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2020”

2013 in 10 words

mandelaby Dom Glennon

As another eventful year passes, its most momentous incidents are reflected in searches on Cambridge Dictionaries Online (CDO). Whenever a major news story breaks, we often see an increase in searches for related words. Here’s a run-down of our top ten of those words and the events that inspired them.


On February 15 a meteorite fell to earth in Chelyabinsk in Russia, providing both some spectacular images and a big spike in online searches for meteorite. We also saw at that time an increase in searches for meteor and asteroid.


Sometimes it was not the most obvious word that was searched for: when Pope Benedict XVI resigned in February and was replaced two weeks later by Pope Francis, the first pope from South America, it was the word conclave, the meeting of cardinals to decide who to elect the new Pope, that became the most searched-for term during that period. Continue reading “2013 in 10 words”

Interesting times, interesting searches part 2: the top 50 searches of 2011

by Dom Glennon

Continuing our look at the major events of 2011 and how they were reflected in searches on Cambridge Dictionaries Online, and the most popular searches of the year…

On October 3rd, Amanda Knox and Rafaele Sollecito were found not guilty of involvement in the murder of Meredith Kerchner, in a case that gripped the attention of the world. Suitably around that time, we see a big increase in searches for appeal and acquit.

Just a few days later, Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs died at the age of 56. As the principal creator of such products as the Apple Mac, iPod and iPhone, Jobs had a huge influence on technology and thus on society itself. Around the time of his death and just after, we can see big increases in searches on visionary, apple and also pancreatic, the form of cancer of which he died. Continue reading “Interesting times, interesting searches part 2: the top 50 searches of 2011”

2011 – interesting times, interesting searches

by Dom Glennon

“May you live in interesting times” is, according to legend, an ancient Chinese curse. Whether this is true or not, there is no doubt that 2011 was an interesting year to be alive, and rarely for good reasons – disasters, revolutions, assassinations, and all set to a backdrop of huge economic uncertainty. So how were these momentous events reflected in searches on Cambridge Dictionaries Online, and what were the most popular searches  last year?

In March, the world watched on in horror as Japan reeled from an earthquake followed by a tsunami, which then looked like causing a meltdown in the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Looking at the records, in the week of March 10-17, we see a big increase in searches for tsunami, catastrophe and meltdown, and words such as avert, debris and aftermath also appear high in the search rankings. Continue reading “2011 – interesting times, interesting searches”