An outbreak of new words, new definitions and gallows humor-inspired slang is emerging from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The current outbreak of COVID-19 or coronavirus has the dictionary writers working to catch up with all the new words or new uses of words spawned by the epidemic. Or is that pandemic?
Because of the speed of the outbreak, Merriam-Webster online says it had to make an “unscheduled update” for words connected to the outbreak. They have added to the dictionary:
· A new definition for “social distance” — a practice of keeping keep space — six feet at a minimum — between people to avoid infections.
· Socially distance has been entered as a verb. — “We need to socially distance when we go out.”
· A revised definition for “quarantine” reflecting its now frequent use with the COVID-19.
· And COVID-19 is officially a new word now, taking letters from the name of the virus and adding the date it came to light: 2019.
· An updated definition for coronavirus –it had already existed as a word but now modifying definition to mention CODV-19. Coronavirus is a broader term covering a family of viruses has an updated definition.
And then there are the colorful words that bubble up from the imaginations of those living in the ‘new normal,’ so to speak. Slang.
“New vocabulary has, to be sure, helped us stay safe and informed during these scary times,” says Dictionary.com. “But in times of challenge, we need relief, too. And what better than some wordplay to bring some welcome humor, and humility, to cope with COVID-19 and quarantines.”
· They are talking about slang words such as quarantini, for a cocktail you might fix while in quarantine “Honey, fix me a quarantini please,” one spouse says to another. Don’t like the sound (or taste) of a quarantini? Then how about a coronarita.
· Moronavirus and its synonym covidiot. “Dude don’t be a moronavirus, wash your hands!” Or, “Gosh those spring breakers are a bunch of ‘covidiots’ hanging in crowds on the beach.”
· Coronacopalypse or Coronageddon. Pretty self-explanatory for the end of the world overtones associated with the Rona.
· Rona – “Rona” Often used as a playful or ironic way to refer to COVID-19,” says dictionary.com.
· Corn Teen — Might have started as an unintentional misspelling. But it is sometimes used to joke about how quarantine is pronounced in “various regional accents.” (Hey are they talking about us in the South?} “I shore don’t like this ‘corn teen’ stuff.”
For even more words to know about as you stay on ‘coronacation,’ check out Dictionary.com and MerriamWebster.com.
They even explain meanings of words and phrases such as respirator vs. ventilator or epidemic vs. pandemic. (Pandemic is a more sweeping term — as in worldwide — so its more appropriate for describing COVID-19.)
Readers: Have you heard of other examples of Rona words? Share please firstname.lastname@example.org, @MikeOliverAL.