It was a chilly morning in MysticLand. Felix refused to get out of bed while Scorch danced around joyfully. Verum sat in front of her crystal ball with a shawl wrapped around her body. Orak was looking into a book with crinkled eyebrows.
“Why are you making that expression?” said Verum.
“I’m solving the enchanted crossword,” said Orak, “A crossword is a puzzle in which you fill in words vertically and horizontally based on clues. When it comes to enchanted crosswords, things get a lot trickier. You see, for every mistake you make, the puzzle expands and adds even more columns, rows, and clues.”
“Wow, that is an interesting puzzle,” said Verum, “Are you making a lot of mistakes? Is that why you’re frowning?”
“Not quite,” said Orak, “I am trying hard to avoid mistakes. So, I am not writing down a single alphabet unless I am absolutely sure.”
“Okay, so, what are you unsure about?” said Verum.
“The word of the year!” said Orak, “Every year, Merriam–Webster dictionary declares a ‘word of the year’. It is picked based on the highest number of searches for the word. Merriam-Webster is America’s oldest dictionary publisher. It also has an online dictionary for English word definitions, meanings, and pronunciation.
I cannot quite recall the word picked for 2021. According to the clue given, it has seven alphabets and ends with the alphabet ‘E’.”
“Hmm,” said Verum, “This is easy. According to Merriam–Webster, the word of the year is ‘vaccine’. Merriam–Webster took to its social media account on Twitter to announce it. In the tweet published on 29th November, it stated, and I quote, ‘The word ‘vaccine’
– saw a 601% increase in lookups this year over last.
– had continual spikes of attention through the year.
– was about much more than medicine in 2021.
‘Vaccine’ is our 2021 #WordOfTheYear.”
“Oh, oh, oh!” exclaimed Orak as realization dawned upon him, “That fits! And it makes complete sense. Last year’s word was ‘pandemic’ because 2020 was when the Covid-19 pandemic began and spread across the world.
This year has seen extensive vaccination programs in several countries. Numerous vaccines have also been developed. Naturally, people were curious about ‘vaccines’ and looked up the word. And so, it became the ‘word of the year’.”