Word of the Year

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Jude in a basket.

There are blank pages at the end of the dictionary so we can make up new words. This was my response to my 5th grade teacher when she took points off my paper for using the word “learnt.” In red pen, she wrote “learned” on my paper.

Not one to give up, I also pointed out to the teacher that the reason why I used the word “learnt” was because I had read it in a book and wanted to try it out. It was a new word for me. “Learnt is not a word,” the teacher insisted. I even showed her the book I was reading at the time that had the word “learnt” in it. If “learnt” is not a word, then why is it in a book? How did it get there? Why isn’t there red ink in the book crossing out “learnt” and replacing it with “learned.” 

I infuriated my 5th grade teacher. She refused to put points back on my paper. She proceeded to make an example out of me in front of the class. I think about this every time I read something that contains the word “learnt.” Learnt is a real word and it is in the dictionary. Go ahead, look it up. 

The challenge with dictionaries is that you have to know how to spell the word to look up the word. Well, if I knew how to spell the word, I wouldn’t need the dictionary, now would I? Of course, this was in the 1980s before things like computers, Microsoft Word, and spell check.

Not only were there blank pages at the end of the dictionary for adding new words, but the dictionary companies have made a big deal in recent years about the addition of new words to the “official” dictionary. The dictionary has even started a tradition of proclaiming a word of the year. 

I hear all of this on the news and don’t pay too much attention to it. The dictionary has yet to choose a word of the year that excites me. Some of the words that they have added to the dictionary are stupid, and hopefully, passing fads.

I heard a new word these past few weeks that excites me. It REALLY excites me. I have not been this excited about a new word since the “learnt” fiasco in the 5th grade. 

I do hereby petition that this new word not only be added to the dictionary, but that it should also be proclaimed Word of the Year for 2020.

The 2020 Word of the Year is … covidiot.

It is a portmanteau. A portmanteau is a word that is formed by combining two other words to form a brand new word. Covidiot combines the words “covid” and “idiot.” 

Covidiots refuse to take the pandemic seriously. They do not wear masks. They do not social distance. They hoard items. They are truly selfish and stupid people who knowingly put other people’s lives at risk and don’t care about it. They refuse to stay home. They are the ones running around holding coronavirus parties and screaming “Open it up, suckers! We want money, who cares who dies!” (One of my county legislators actually said that.)

Covidiot is a very accurate description of over 90% of the people who live in my county. Finally, a one-word term to accurately depict my frustration with the general public in my geographic area. 

I am surrounded by covidiots. 

I now have a hypothesis that the only way to cure a covidiot is if the covidiot actually gets COVID-19 so that they take it seriously. Or, maybe if the covidiot experiences the death of a loved one from COVID-19, then they will be cured from their covidiotism. We will see. Unfortunately, logic does not seem to work on a covidiot. It appears we will have a vaccine for COVID-19 before we figure out a way to cure the covidiots. 

Have you learnt any new words recently?

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