Yesterday my Twitter timeline contained a query tweet asking those witnessing for one word to describe 2020 at this current juncture.

Wanting to avoid cliched responses of locutions like ‘unprecedented’, ‘COVID’, ‘lockdown’ and ‘coronavirus’, yours truly plumped for ‘brouhaha’ as an apt descriptive for the last six months.

Brouhaha, a wonderful three syllables, not to be mistaken for ‘home brouhaha’, which is the act of inane laughter consequential from excessive imbibition of strong home brewed beer.


Although brouhaha accents as an airy and jocular word, according to latter-day Doctor Johnson’s*** it’s meaning is the very juxtapose of that indication. One dictionary touting the word’s context in the following three explanations:-

  1. Excited public interest, discussion, or the like, as the clamour attending some sensational event; hullabaloo:  
  2. An episode involving excitement, confusion, turmoil, etc., especially a broil over a minor or ridiculous cause: 
  3. Not to be mistaken for ‘home brouhaha’, which is the inane laughter consequential from excessively imbibing of strong home brewed beer. 

    *** – Doctor Samuel Johnson the 18th century lexicographer who after nine years work collated and published ‘A Dictionary of the English Language’. This weighty tome a seminal piece of work in the field of lexicology. A volume which, along with Rupert the Bear and Katie Price books, has been acclaimed as “one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship”. 

Like Johnson, I love words. Consequently, embracing the desire to constantly improve at the penman’s craft. Something I’d like to think this five year blogging odyssey has gone some way to achieving.

The act of crafting sentences, forming coherent paragraphs and dabbling in various styles of writing, such as poetry, whimsy and melancholy essay, infusing within me a catharsis and confidence where once lay insecurity.

I’d be the first to admit crafting and grammar elements of penmanship are my biggest hurdles of putting quill to parchment. However, it never fazes me, these demands drive me, along with the notion I owe it to myself to utilise skills which I’ve predominantly hidden in life, at the expense of muddling through an unfulfilling thirty year work career performing roles which didn’t play to my strengths.

Ultimately, though, despite there being grammatical improvements required within my lexicological skillset, I’ve the comfort of knowing my mind’s fertile enough to ensure I’m never short of ideas. Which to my mind, usurps flawless grammar as the key skill for a creative writer.

Grammar can be learned, creativity is a gift which can only be taught up to a point. In my opinion, for what it’s worth, it’s logical naturally creative individuals will serve up better epiphanies than those bereft of that god given talent…… Isn’t it?!

Of course, if you’re a factual chronicler the creative need is usurped by grammatical knowhow. Which is why, I’d imagine, so many autobiographies are penned by ghost writers, particularly amongst the least erudite of the celebrity circus.

So there you are, ‘brouhaha’ is my one word response to yesterday’s Twitter inquiry requesting a locution best describing the year 2020 at its current juncture.

There were many other nouns that sprung to mind, but I deemed it inappropriate to air them prior to the 9pm watershed.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. musing75 says:

    Great word – and I particularly like the 3rd definition you give! The word that jumped into my mind as I read your opening paragraph was “muddle” – not half as exciting as brouhaha but descriptive I think on so many levels of our current personal and national condition …

    1. Indeed Musing!

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