Norway’s national language council (Språkrådet) has an annual tradition of hailing a new word that caught on during the past year, and reflected social change or a significant event. It thus came as no surprise that the “Word of the Year” was deemed to be koronaen (literally, The Corona).
The choice disappointed some, who’d hoped for a more positive new expression like nasjonaldugnad (the collective effort Norwegians have made to hinder Corona infection), or even new compound words like koronasveis (shaggy Corona hair styles when salons and barbershops were closed) or hytteforbud (coined when Norwegians were prohibited from visiting their holiday homes).
Åse Wetås, director of the language council, told state broadcaster NRK that the winning word isn’t a new compound word but rather “shows a completely new way of using a word” to describe a situation. The word also undoubtedly reflects the main issue that plagued the country, and the world, throughout the entire year: “Nothing has been in the news more than the Corona pandemic,” Wetås told NRK. “This form of the word covers the virus, the illness, the crisis and in fact the entire era we’re living in now.”