Merriam-Webster just announced its word of the year. It's the word we have used the most this year and one that has played a significant role in our daily lives. That word is VACCINE.
The publishing company noted that the word holds particular significance both as a medical term and a vehicle for ideological conflict.
"For many, the word symbolized a possible return to the lives we led before the pandemic," it said in Monday's announcement. "But it was also at the center of debates about personal choice, political affiliation, professional regulations, school safety, healthcare inequality, and so much more."
The word saw a 601% increase in searches last year and continues to be of interest.
The English word vaccine comes from the Latin vacca (cow), because the vaccinia virus, a disease of cattle, was used for the smallpox vaccine in humans.
"Vaccine" also has a compelling etymology. The word derives from the Latin word "vaccinus," meaning "of or from a cow." The Latin for cow is "vacca." The word later entered French as "vaccin," then into English with today's spelling. The vaccinia virus, a disease of cattle, was used for the smallpox vaccine in humans.
[With information from NPR and CNN]