Don’t Worry, You Can Still Bet on the 2020 Word of the Year – “COVID-19” Given Best Odds

Merriam-Webster's dictionary.
What will be the Merriam-Webster Publishing World of the Year in 2020? Photo by Merriam Webster (Flickr).
  • The odds are up for the 2020 Merriam-Webster Publishing World of the Year
  • COVID-19 is the current favorite but coronavirus could be the better bet
  • See the full list of words and odds you can bet for this prop

If you’ve been looking to find something to bet on almost on major sports on pause, don’t worry: you can still bet on the 2020 Word of the Year.

To no one’s surprise, the word that’s ruined many people’s 2020 so far is the favorite to win Word of the Year.

Is COVID-19 the only bet or is there value with a different contender?

2020 Word of the Year Odds

Word Odds
COVID-19 -155
Coronavirus +200
Social Distancing +200
Covidiot +400
Self-Quarantine +400
Pandemic +500
Work From Home +700
Isolation +900
Zoom +900
Epidemiologist +1000
Recession +1000
Disease +1200
Outbreak +1200 +1400
Respiratory +1400
Community +1600
Immunocompromised +1600
Super-spreader +1600
Asymptomatic +1800
Furlough +1800
Panglossian +1800
Climate Strike +2000
Election +2000
Epidemic +2000
Index Case +2000
Leadership +2000
Vaccine +2000
Apex +2500
Cancelled +2500

Odds taken Apr. 8th

COVID-19 Odds-On Favorite

It’s not exactly a big shock to anyone that COVID-19 is the favorite to win the Merriam-Webster Publishing World of the Year. COVID-19 is the name of the virus causing the pandemic, which has now spread around the globe and forced the majority of the world’s population into a lockdown.

What’s interesting is that COVID-19 is the technical term for the coronavirus of 2019. The World Health Organization gave it this specific name. However, many people use the term ‘coronavirus’ instead, so it makes you wonder whether the better bet is coronavirus or COVID-19.

Value With Coronavirus?

Coming in right behind COVID-19 is ‘coronavirus’, which might actually be the better bet. According to Google Trends, the term has had way more search traffic than COVID-19. That’s because it gets used far more often on television broadcasts, news stories and even by doctors.

Technically speaking, there are many strains of coronaviruses and the version that we’re currently dealing with is just a new (or novel) one. However, the term coronavirus is not a new word in and of itself. For a long period of time, this pandemic was referred to as coronavirus until the COVID-19 was given to it, so that’s why ‘coronavirus’ had such a head start.

The other factor here is that COVID-19 is really feels like medical jargon. In social circles and on social media, people have been referring to it as the coronavirus or even ‘the Rona’ for short. Given the Google Trends and the usage in day-to-day life, coronavirus feels like it could be the better bet.

Any Non-Pandemic Related Words?

There are a number of contenders on the board related to the coronavirus, including social distancing, covidiot and self-quarantine, but these are all basically subsets from the virus itself. COVID-19 or coronavirus is the root of the tree here; the rest of the options are merely branches.

With that in mind, I wouldn’t be looking to bet any of the others. COVID-19 is favored but I wouldn’t be laying juice with this type of a prop – especially since coronavirus probably has an equal, if not better, chance of winning here. I’d bet coronavirus as it should win what I see is a two-horse race.

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