Daily Briefing

What's New?

The Politics page has been updated to reflect the winners in Pennsylvania's general election on November 3, 2020.

Agatha Raisin is on the case (barely) in the Cotswolds when a smarmy bishop who may have murdered his girlfriend comes to town. My review of M.C. Beaton's The Dead Ringer is here.

Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney survive the chaos of One Fine Day and find themselves in love. Check out my review here.

Early risers may enjoy this remix from KC Lights. It's the Song of the Day for May.

The borough of Jim Thorpe has a lot to offer, including tours of the historic Asa Packer Mansion. It has reopened to the public, and May would be a great time to visit!

Word of the Year

A panel of linguists has decided the word that best reflects 2020 is Covid, which refers to COVID-19, the novel coronavius that caused a worldwide pandemic.

Covid is a shortened form of "coronavirus disease." According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "COVID-19 is the disease caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. WHO first learned of this new virus on 31 December 2019, following a report of a cluster of cases of 'viral pneumonia' in Wuhan, People's Republic of China."

"A year ago, the word Covid didn't even exist, and now it has come to define our lives in 2020," said Ben Zimmer, chair of the American Dialect Society's New Words Committee.

Zimmer went on to note that it didn't take long for COVID-19 to be referred to simply as Covid, "which then appeared in phrases like Covid crisis, Covid relief, and Covid vaccine – and even Covid baking, Covid hair, and covidiot. It has become a stand-in for the entire pandemic and the societal impacts that we'll be experiencing for years to come."

The American Dialect Society was supposed to choose the Word of the Year on January 8, 2021 at its meeting in San Francisco. But, that meeting was cancelled - because Covid. So, instead, the WOTY was chosen December 17, 2020 on Zoom, during a Covid-friendly webinar which more than 300 people attended.

Other nominees for WOTY included 2020; pandemic; social distancing; and doomscrolling, which refers to obsessively scanning social media and websites for bad news.

There were also plenty of Covid-related words in the Pandemic-Related Word of the Year category. You can read about them and others in the complete news release here.