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In 2016, Mari-Lou A asked a question appropriate for the times.

2016 The Year of ...?

"2016 is drawing to an end, and nobody can say it was an unexceptional year. On the contrary, it was extraordinary and at the same time a year of great tragedies.... I would like a word, an expression or short phrase that sums up this historical year."

Now, I look back on those years and think "Wow, we were so innocent then".

This past year has been much more extraordinary...and more than tragic.

Shouldn't we do something similar this year?

i.e.

"I would like a word, an expression or short phrase that sums up this historical year."

16
  • You could probably find an answer to your current question among those posted to the older question. The risk is of duplicate and POB issues.
    – user 66974
    Dec 15 '20 at 20:11
  • Sorry, @user 66974, anything that would do for 2016 would be inadequate for 2020. If this Q was on-topic for 2016, it is on-topic for 2020. My first thought: periapocalyptic.
    – ab2
    Dec 15 '20 at 20:18
  • @ab2 - both questions ask for a a term of phrase for a bad year, with a lot of negative events. I don’t see how the older question doesn’t fit the “new” one. In any case the POB issue still remains.
    – user 66974
    Dec 15 '20 at 21:50
  • 3
    I suppose you could tweak the question and say whether survivors of 1918-20 (the last renowned pandemic) had given a name (now forgotten) for those years. Or ask which term is trending on social media for 2020.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 16 '20 at 13:15
  • This is asking for writing advice...it's too broad, underspecified, and judgmental, not even on topic on Writing
    – Mitch
    Dec 17 '20 at 22:12
  • @Mitch Sorry, but I do not understand your comment.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 17 '20 at 22:17
  • @Cascabel Unlike a single word request, where the asker provides specific meaning being sought, asking for a good word to put in '2020 was the X year of all time', where the X 'sums up the year, is way too broad. Too many possibilities that could be good and no way to judge objectively. 2020 was the plague year, the awful year the year of anxiety, the year where you couldn't escape Trump's incompetency, etc etc. All of those fit, but there's nothing in the request (or could be) that would be an objective answer. It all depends.
    – Mitch
    Dec 17 '20 at 23:39
  • 1
    @Cascabel It's asking people to give a clever headline, which is an art, and not objective. And if it is not on-topic on Writing then it certainly shouldn't be on-topic on ELU. Does that explain things? Maybe there should be a place to ask questions like this, but ELU isn't it. (Of course there's always room for a little off-topicness and so it may be allowed, but in general this kind of question is out of scope).
    – Mitch
    Dec 17 '20 at 23:40
  • It was on-topic in 2016...did you object the the question then @Mitch?
    – Cascabel
    Dec 18 '20 at 14:41
  • @Cascabel - for some reason nobody chose to close-vote that question at that time, probably because users were somewhat emotionally involved, but Mitch objections are correct. You may try your hand with your own question and see what happens.
    – user 66974
    Dec 18 '20 at 16:40
  • @Cascabel Good catch...I really wasn't paying attention to the the previous question, but now that I click on the link, I see that there are superficial similarities. Also my reaction then was only a comment and neither an up or downvote and no vote to close). But... the question has a very specific and objective ask at the end: 'Is there a word that means both extraordinary and tragic?' That makes it a very on-topic SWR.
    – Mitch
    Dec 18 '20 at 17:02
  • @Cascabel Just because something was thought to be on-topic then does not mean that a similar question would be well-received now. Which is what questions such as this meta-question are designed to find out. The question is a good one; but I find myself voting No, with your answer.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Dec 19 '20 at 17:05
  • @Cascabel There is room for questions that are nominally off-topic but are topical, foment interest in the site, are fun (but aren't empty). On the order of the Dalai Lama joke. It was way off-topic, but (I think) a good boost. I'm just not feeling it with '1 word to describe 2020'.
    – Mitch
    Dec 20 '20 at 21:51
  • @Cascabel Are you saying you've heard ELU was referenced -by name-? I'd love to see references for that. I've heard Urban Dictionary and Wiktionary referred to but -never- ELU.
    – Mitch
    Dec 20 '20 at 21:52
  • @Mitch Not referenced by name, but by a topic that was current for us at the time. It looked like a trend such as HNQ....It's not a stretch to think there are some reporters that check in with us here from time to time.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 20 '20 at 22:18
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No.

[For the sake of debate, I am adding the comments from user 66974.]

You could probably find an answer to your current question among those posted to the older question. The risk is of duplicate and POB issues.

Both questions ask for a term or a phrase for a bad year, with a lot of negative events. I don’t see how the older question doesn’t fit the “new” one. In any case the POB issue still remains.

-3

Yes, yes, yes! I looked at the answers for the earlier year (2016), and they confirmed my guess that any word that adequately described 2016 fails miserably to describe 2020.

My first stab at a word for 2020:

periapocalyptical

-peri, from the Oxford English Dictionary, OED

forming adjectives referring to a region, structure, etc situated or ocurring around or near a part specified by the second element.

From the definition and examples in the OED, -peri is so used mainly in the medical and the "hard" sciences, but I see nothing that says it would be inappropriate for this social science question.

If the Q makes it to the List of Questions, I'll add a definition for apocalyptical.

As for whether the question has already been asked, as @user 66974 maintains, I see his/her point, but what happened in 2016 was, horribly, business as usual compared to what happened in 2020, and the likely after-shocks of 2020 -- both bad and good.

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  • 4
    Please note that the question raised here is a meta-question: the answer to that meta-question should focus on whether the question about the year should be asked in the first place, not on what the answer to it might be.
    – jsw29
    Dec 16 '20 at 17:32
  • My inclusion of a definition was meant as an existence proof that there is an answer to this Q which is way beyond the scope of answers to the older question.
    – ab2
    Dec 22 '20 at 23:34

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