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5 New Words in the Oxford English Dictionary

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Do you like words?

Of course you do! If you are reading this, you are probably an English language student looking to improve your English. Well, you have definitely come to the right place!

No language can be communicated without words! ‘But what about grammar?’ we hear you ask. Yes, grammar is extremely important and without some grammar it is difficult to understand the language you may be reading, listening to or even trying to use yourself. But without words, there is no grammar! How can you even produce a grammatically correct sentence if you don’t have the words to form it?

So, what is one of the better ways to learn or check new vocabulary than to head to the Oxford Dictionary!

Did you know that the Oxford Dictionary has 273,000 headwords? 171,476 of those words are currently used regularly. That is a lot of words! Did you know that the best thing about the Oxford Dictionary is that each year it is updated to include new words?

So, what are 2020’s latest additions to the dictionary?

Well, as you can probably imagine after this year, many of the new terms relate to COVID 19. Let’s take a closer look at 5 of the most important ones that you may need to use or understand.

  • C-19
  • Contract Tracing
  • Front Liner
  • Physical distancing
  • Zoom

Simple definitions

  • C-19 (n.) – A shortened version of COVID 19
  • Contract Tracing (n.) – Finding people who have been near someone who has an infectious disease. Contract tracing aims to tell these people that they should stay at home (self-isolate) for a period of time and not pass the disease on to other people.
  • Front Liner (n.) – A person working closest to a difficult or dangerous situation. During the C-19 pandemic, doctors and nurses have been frontliners.
  • Physical distancing (n.) – This is also known as ‘Social distancing’ and means to keep a safe distance or stay away from other people so you do not pass an infectious disease on to each other.
  • Zoom (n. & vb.)– To communicate and chat with a person or group of people using Zoom. ‘Let’s use Zoom this evening to chat’. ‘Shall we Zoom this evening?’


So, those are some of the latest additions to the Oxford Dictionary in 2020. To learn much more vocabulary and get yourself on the path towards better fluency, you should also consider visiting our English school in London!

We look forward to seeing you in our school soon!

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