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Photo: Joanne K. Watson/Merriam-Webster via Getty Images

Merriam-Webster announced Monday that "pandemic" is its word of the year.

The big picture: Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster, told AP that after the World Health Organization declared on March 11 the COVID-19 outbreak to be a pandemic, searches for the word on Merriam-Webster.com were 115,806% higher than for the same period in 2019.

For the record: Runners up for word of the year based on lookup surges related to the pandemic were "coronavirus," "quarantine" and "asymptomatic," per AP.

  • Non-virus considerations that saw spikes included "defund," in relation to the "defund the police" campaign, "antebellum" after country group Lady A dropped the word from their name because of its association with pre-Civil War slavery and "mamba," following the January death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant — who was known as the "Black Mamba."

Worth noting: The WHO declared on Feb. 11 "a new name" for the coronavirus: "COVID-19." Merriam-Webster included the word plus information related to it on its site 34 days later.

  • "That's the shortest period of time we’ve ever seen a word go from coinage to entry," Sokolowski told AP.

Flashback: Merriam-Webster's 2019 word of the year: "They"

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of words that were runners up and on the COVID-19 entry.

Go deeper

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.

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