The 2020 Aussie Word Of The Year Is Here And It Just Narrowly Beat Out ‘Black Summer’

Iso Word of the Year

The Aussie word of the year is here, and it beat out ‘Black Summer’ and ‘covid-normal’ for the top spot. It really doesn’t come as a surprise either, given the fact that this year has been very… isolated the say the least.

Yep, the Australian National Dictionary Centre (ANDC) has decided that ‘iso’ will be the Aussie word of 2020, and honestly, there was no greater option.

The ANDC officially defines the word as: self-isolation; the act of remaining apart from others as a way to limit
the spread of an infectious disease, especially as a public health measure.

Other words on the 2020 shortlist were ‘bubble’ as in covid-bubble, ‘covid-normal’ which is something we’re all trying to adjust to at the moment, ‘Black Summer’ to mark the horrendous bushfires we experienced at the beginning of the year, and ‘driveway’ as in driveway Anzac service.

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“Our fondness for abbreviating words in Australia, and a natural human inclination to make the unknown and scary familiar, quickly saw the descriptive term ‘self-isolation’ shortened to ‘iso’ in March this year,” said Senior Researcher Mark Gwynn.

“Not only is ‘iso’ distinctively Australian in usage, it has also been linguistically productive by combining with other words to form compounds such as iso-baking, iso-cut and iso-fashion.”

I mean he definitely has a point, iso-fashion and iso-baking were especially huge this year, and defined how most of us got by at the beginning of the year.

“Many of us found humour in language use as a way to cope with our changed working and social circumstances, so why not talk about a bad self-inflicted haircut as an iso-cut, or the extra weight gained due to lack of exercise as iso-kilos,” said Gwynn.

Previous Aussie words of the year have been ‘Voice’ in 2019, ‘Canberra Bubble’ in 2018, ‘Kwaussie’ in 2017 and ‘democracy sausage’ in 2016.

Other dictionaries will be announcing their word of the year for 2020 as well, with Collins Dictionary already flagging ‘lockdown’ as their pick, which is honestly as accurate as ‘iso’, just a whole lot less Aussie.