Is it just me or does it seem like the word “amid” has become the signature word of the pandemic? Once I realized how often the word was showing up and/or being said, I started counting how many times a day I saw and/or heard it. Granted, this might seem like a frivolous pursuit, but what else do I have to do? And this activity has proven to keep me entertained all day. I’m thinking of making it into a game too. Whoever has the highest count of “amids” by 5 pm, gets out of making dinner. If you get over 100, you are relieved of washing the dishes as well.
This is a library post so here is the tie- in: Libraries have a lot of words under their collective roofs. It’s always interesting to see which words make it into the OED every year and which ones have been the most widely used. I believe this year’s winner will be “amid.” The most obvious recent use is “Amid the coronavirus outbreak” but here are a few others that quickly popped up in my daily news brief: “Dow Jones Futures Jump Amid Crashing Oil Prices”, “Bond King Warns the Stock Market Could Hit New Lows Amid Social Unease”, “What African Countries Are Doing to Help People Eat Amid the Lockdowns” and so on. It does seem that this poor word is usually linked up with some dreadful thing that is happening, so it could be getting a bad rap because of the company it’s keeping. Therefore, I’m going to make it my goal to use it at least five times a day in a positive sentence, thus in a very small way, possibly turning the tide. I’m going to say things like “There are a lot of dandelions amid my lawn” and “I am putting mushrooms amid my rice”. It’s not much, but it’s a start.
So now that I’ve brought your attention to the word “amid”, I’ll bet you will agree, it’s an excellent candidate for the most overused word of 2020.