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'Knuffelcontact' elected as Word of the Year 2020

The word ‘knuffelcontact’ (meaning ‘hug-buddy’ or ‘cuddle contact’) has been elected to Word of the Year 2020. In a year full of misery and dark days, this beautiful and warm word was quickly used by people.

It became a basic right for every Belgian during the covid crisis to have one person, apart from any members of your family, to ‘cuddle’ and have close contact. This person, named a ‘knuffelcontact’, is the Dutch Word of the Year according to the annual election of Van Dale and VRT. It received 53,5% of the 25.000 votes. Second on the list was ‘covidioot’, meaning someone who ignores the advice and dangers of COVID-19. The word ‘hoestschaamte’ (translated: cough-shame) ended third, which means the shame you experience when coughing. Other coronavirus-related words were ‘anderhalvemetersamenleving’ (translated: one-and-a-half-meter-society), and ‘raambezoek’ (translated: ‘window visit’).

The word ‘knuffelcontact’ was introduced by the Belgian Minister of Health, Frank Vandenbroucke, who came up with it during an interview when explaining the latest corona measures and the importance of being able to cuddle.

This word of the year became internationally known, as diverse press in China, Italy and the United States explained this phenomenon. About 60% of the people in Belgium speak Dutch. Worldwide, 23 million people in Belgium, the Netherlands and Suriname speak this language.





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