The past year was terrible (thanks COVID-19) but 2020 did have some redeeming qualities. Well, if you look deep under the surface.
For instance, the NHL’s 32nd franchise, the Seattle Kraken, announced its awesome team name in July and released its logo, jersey, and merch designs. The team name generated so much interest nationwide that the word kraken was the fifth-most searched term of 2020 according to Merriam-Webster.
Along with 'pandemic,' our #WordOfTheYear shortlist includes 'malarkey' (perhaps Joe Biden's favorite word) and 'kraken' (the name of the newest NHL franchise). https://t.co/VMDBNY8w0S pic.twitter.com/2O47S8HGr6
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) November 30, 2020
Kraken finished behind the word of the year pandemic, coronavirus, defund, and mamba (Kobe Bryant’s nickname).
On July 23, the day Seattle announced Kraken as its team name, “searches for the word increased 128,000 percent,” Merriam-Webster announced.
The company also provided a fantastic definition and context for using the word.
A kraken is a mythical Scandinavian sea monster; the word, which comes from Norwegian dialect, has been used in English since the middle of the 18th century. Krakens have featured in various contexts more familiar to English speakers than Scandinavian folklore, including various iterations of krakens in Marvel comics and a memorable monster in “Clash of the Titans.” In the 2010 remake of that movie, Zeus commands his underlings to “Release the Kraken” in a particularly dramatic scene. That phrase has gone on to enjoy a life of its own, with “Release the Kraken” being attached to memes as occasions warrant. Kraken spiked in lookups again in mid-November, when lawyer Sidney Powell said she would “release the Kraken,” which in this case meant to present evidence that votes for President Donald Trump had been deleted. No evidence has been put forth, and the Department of Homeland Security has described the 2020 presidential election as “the most secure in American history.
The other most-searched terms this year included quarantine, antebellum, schadenfreude, asymptomatic, irregardless, icon, and a Joe Biden favorite: malarkey.
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