Covid-19 has manifested in every aspect of our lives, including our English vocabulary. Think about it. Have you hasthagged your Instagram posts with #coronatimes and #quarantineandchill recently? Are you finding an instant connection with newly coined terms like Coronacoaster? Have you celebrated Coveid with your family this Ramadan? Then you, like me, are getting fluent in Coronaspeak.
Coronaspeak refers to all the ‘novel’ expressions that have infiltrated our everyday conversations, thanks to the pandemic. This is separate from our ever expanding ‘official’ vocabulary to include medical and scientific terminology that once upon a time existed mostly in books/movies. PPE, immunocompromised, social distancing, herd immunity, flatten the curve, asymptomatic, and my personal favourite – ‘furlough’, once foreign, have become everyday words now. Coronaspeak skirts around these official terms, embracing all the ‘made up’ words that have been cleverly coined to cope with the unusual life we have been leading in this global crisis. Most have risen out of a desperate need to lighten up our coronapocalyptic world. British linguist and lexicographer Tony Thorne has been curating a list to capture all these brilliantly coined terms, making leximanics like me rejoice. They range from cute (sanny for sanitiser) to bizarre (Miley Cyrus is now the rhyming slang for Coronavirus) and help us navigate a world gone off-kilter. Here are some of my favourite entries in the COVIDictionary with some TMM authored sentences for context. Enjoy!
Covidiot: the one who ignores public health advice and probably hoards toilet paper. Alternative: Moronavirus or Morona.
She is such a covidiot for not wearing a mask on the tube!
Quarantine and chill: Quarantine edition of Netflix and chill
As toddler parents, quarantine and chill is simply an illusion!
Coronaverse (Guardian): the now prevailing socio-economic order.
Coronaverse is full of anti-masking covidiots.
Quarantimes: a hashtag or label for the prevailing circumstances under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Once upon a quarantime, going to the bank wearing a mask was completely normal.
Coronatimes: the period we are presently living through.
Coronatimes has made me appreciate toilet roll like never before.
Infodemic: the accelerated spread of disinformation.
Anti-masking to disinfectant-drinking, infodemic is seriously exacerbating the pandemic.
Corona Bae: the partner you are quarantining with.
The Millennial Baba has turned out to be an excellent Corona Bae.
Coronasplaining: purporting to explain aspects of the coronavirus-induced crisis, particularly to those who understand it better than the explainer.
Donald Trump coronasplains just as ‘eloquently’ as he mansplains.
Coronacation: forced time off work due to the coronavirus.
Coronacation is the slang term for furlough.
Coronacoaster: successive feelings of elation and despair experienced under conditions of confinement.
My life is a coronacoaster, one second I am happily baking cake, the next I am obsessively scrubbing my twice sanitised hands.
Lockstalgia (Times): the notion that we may look back fondly upon the period of confinement.
Lockstalgia tastes like banana bread and smells like hand sanitiser.
Quaranteam: groups forming and performing – music or competing in virtual quizzes for example – during lockdown.
Thanks to my Quaranteam, I can now add Zoom Quiz Winner to my CV.
*Coveid: Eid in the times of Covid-19
Coveid-19 will forever be remembered as the Eid we didnt do kolakoli.
*Covenger: front line health care professionals who are the Avengers of Covid-19
Covengers should legit become a Netflix series.
*Coronaworry: troubled thoughts arising out of the pandemic.
Coronaworries keep me up all night like a young lover.
Doom scrolling: obsessively accessing upsetting news online.
Doom scrolling has become a national pastime.
Zoom-bombing: hijacking and/or interrupting videoconferencing on the Zoom platform.
Zoom-bombing The Millennial Baba has become so common that I don’t even know when I am doing it anymore.
Zoom fatigue: a draining of energy resulting from the unusual stresses involved in interactions in virtual meetings
I need a specialist cream to target the signs of Zoom fatigue on my face.
Smizing: smiling with the eyes, as when wearing a facemask (a term coined by US celebrity Tyra Banks in 2009).
Smizing is the new way of flirting during a pandemic.
Hope this compiled list helps you in improving your Coronaspeak!
For a more comprehensive list, check out Linguist Tony Thorne’s brilliant compilation which has been the main source for this blog post. Words prefixed with a * are from yours Truly TMM’S collection.