'Impeachment', 'Covid-19' and 'Black Lives Matter' among Oxford English Dictionary's words of the year

The Oxford English Dictionary has had difficulty picking just one word of the year for the tumultuous and unprecedented 2020. 

It’s a year that’s seen the English language develop at a quick pace, with words like “lockdown” and “social distancing” quickly entering the lexicon.

So, for the first time, it's named 16 different words to sum up the year. 

Fiona McPherson, senior editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, said Covid-19 was a big driver of the change seen in the English language this year. 

In January, the word was “bushfire” to mark Australia’s worst season on record. 

“Impeachment” and “acquittal” were also chosen in February, amid US President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. 

By the time March rolled around, words that saw a spike included "coronavirus”, “Covid-19”, "lockdown", "social distancing" and "reopening”. 

By June, “cancel culture”, “BIPOC [black, indigenous, and other people of color]” and “Black Lives Matter” dominated conversation.

“Mail-in” was the word for August amid the US election. 

August also saw usage of the word "Belarusian" spike, after the controversial re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko. His re-election sparked mass protests in Belarus for more than 100 days in a row. 

The UK Government’s Covid-19 testing programme saw "moonshot" named as another word of the year.  

By October, the word was “superspreader” amid the spread of cases of Covid-19 in the White House.

The year drew to a close with “net-zero”, after Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged his country would be carbon neutral by 2060.