At the start of last week, the good folk who keep the Oxford English Dictionary up to date informed us that use of the word Brexit has fallen by 80%, compared with last year.

It was one of many interesting findings in Oxford Languages Word of the Year report. And typically for these unprecedented times, they couldn't agree on a single word or phrase to sum up the year. (Although use of the word unprecedented rose to levels that were, indeed, unprecedented).

Of course it was all due to the new Coronavirus, or Covid-19, or just plain Covid - all words that have soared in daily use, for rather obvious reasons. Just like the word Pandemic.

Then there were what we might call the Covid-consequentials - words that rose in popular usage because of our collective response to the pandemic.

Words like "remotely", which saw a 300% rise in use. Or zoom in on the word "unmute", which enjoyed a 500% rise in use. Furloughed was an old US Army term for leave, almost unknown on this side of the Atlantic until March.

Circuit Breaker saw a huge spike in usage in Singapore in April, but only took off as a term in Britain in October. It was a substitute for Lockdown - itself an early contender for word of the year.

So it is understandable that Brexit - the word - took a battering in daily use. And besides, Britain actually left the European Union at the end of January. Job done, eh?

Well, not quite - for as we know there has been a transition period, in which most things stayed the same. But now we are counting the days to the end of that period, and the crashing intrusion into our lives of what Brexit actually means.

Which is mostly a sharp increase in bureaucracy, red tape and customs officials for anyone doing business between Britain and its biggest trading partner by far, the European Union.

In the middle of the week another report appeared, putting numbers to those words. This was the Office for Budget Responsibility - the UK version of the Fiscal Advisory Council - setting out an economic forecast that was used as the basis for its government's spending plan for next year.

Naturally, it too was top heavy with Covid-consequentials - like the biggest peacetime borrowing level ever recorded in Britain's long history, needed to keep the economy afloat.

Why? Because the pandemic had led to a lockdown, in which those who could, worked remotely, and those who couldn't were furloughed, paid by money the British government borrowed.

That's going to stop - and a million Britons are going to lose their jobs - in the coming months.

Output this year has fallen by more than 11%, the biggest drop since 1709, when extreme cold weather severely disrupted agriculture across Europe in an event known here as the great frost. It was so cold then, that the Mediterranean port of Marseille froze over.

The usual suspects - Napoleon, the Kaiser, Hitler - didn't hit British economic output as hard as Covid-19 has. And Britain has been hit harder than other advanced economies.

But the OBR warned that it could get worse again if the Brexit transition period ends without a deal. It forecast an extra quarter of a million people would lose their jobs next year, as an expected 5% economic rebound from the Covid crisis is squashed down to 3% by no deal.

(Remember, Ireland's Budget - published in October - was based on an economic forecast that assumed there would be no trade deal with the UK, and the vaccines would not work or be ready in time. It planned for the worst, hoped for the best. The UK spending plan is based on the opposite assumptions: agreeing a deal with the EU and deploying vaccines in the first half of the year).

Customs chaos at an unprepared UK border would cost £16 billion in the first three months of the new year, according to the OBR, though it sees customs problems easing as the year goes on.

Britain's unguarded border would lose money to VAT and Customs frauds and/or non-compliance - about £750m in the first year, it thinks.

Even with a deal, the fiscal watchdog believes Britain's economy will be smaller and poorer than if it had stayed in the EU. Without a trade deal, it will be poorer still.

In today's money it would be about £120bn smaller. And the lost tax revenue on that will add to an already gloomy outlook of tax rises and spending cuts needed to keep British debt levels manageable in the years ahead.

And for good measure, the Governor of the Bank of England told MPs this week that failing to agree a trade deal with the EU will have a worse long-term effect on the British economy than Covid-19. One is reminded of the 2012 Word of the year - Omnishambles.

Perhaps then it is not surprising that Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, chose to follow the trend observed this year by the Word of the Year researchers.

His speech outlining his spending plans never once mentioned the word - Brexit.