04 February 2021, The Tablet

Sharp practice

The language game

Sharp practice


YOU’D HAVE to be in a very effective form of self-isolation not to have noticed that the word of the moment is “vaccine”.

Take a look at Google Trends, which tells you (without supplying numbers) how searches for a word have changed over a period. “Vaccine” reached its peak in the last week of January, as I am writing this. Until last November, searches for the word didn’t even reach a quarter of that level. Then they shot up, with the two weeks of Christmas and New Year showing the most rapid increase.

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