The anthropause was a global reduction in modern human activity, especially travel, that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in March and April 2020. It was coined by a team of researchers in June 2020 in an article discussing the positive impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on wildlife and environment. The scientific journal that published the commentary, Nature Ecology and Evolution, selected the topic for the cover of its September issue, with the headline "Welcome to the anthropause". Oxford Languages highlighted the word "anthropause" in its 2020 Words of an Unprecedented Year report. The word is a blended lexical item with phonological overlap, combining the prefix anthropo-, from anthropos meaning "human", and the English word "pause"; its literal translation is "human pause". The researchers explained in their article that they noticed that people had started referring to the lockdown period as the Great Pause, but felt that a more precise term would be helpful.

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Did Nature Heal During the Pandemic ‘Anthropause’?