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Pandemic terminology

By Melissa S. Lee

If 2020 has proven anything to us, it is that change is the only constant in life. 

With the introduction of the COVID-19 virus, aka “Rona,” to the masses in early 2020, so began the shutdown of the entire country on Friday the 13th (no coincidence, I’m sure) of March; the long quarantine implemented; the homeschooling of our Coronatweens and -teens by us WFH parents causing our Monday through Friday to morph into one big Blursday and, perhaps, the need for a quarantini (no judging) with the trusted quarantine pod; the mask mandate, mask-shaming, and the embarrassing adult-onset maskne that followed; the mad-dashers, later termed “covidiots” on the hunt for – or hoarding – toilet paper, alcohol gel, and Lysol; the rise in Coronaphobia and the tightening of our COVID bubble; the beginning of Zooming, connections made, and later Zumping; the push for a country-wide covexit plan; the recent Pfizer and Moderna vaccine; and our upcoming, long-awaited vaxications on the horizon. Needless to say, our everyday vernacular has changed quite a bit as well over the past 18 months.

Knowing that your theory provides you with the foundation you need to write anything you might hear, I challenge you to expand your writing, your dictionary, and your confidence with the pandemic-specific terminology you may soon hear in your professional career. You can do it!

2019-nCovaka COVID-19 or Coronavirus*
anti-buddiestwo friends who have the COVID antibodies and are hanging out together
Blursdaythe merging of weekdays during the pandemic
Coronaaka Coronavirus or COVID-19 virus*
Coronababiesbabies raised during the COVID pandemic
Coronacationtaking vacation time during the COVID-19 pandemic with no place to go due to lockdowns
Coronaphobeused to describe individuals with a clinical level of fear with respect to contracting the COVID-19 virus
Coronaphobiathe fear of touching things or coming into contact with people during the COVID-19 pandemic
Coronaphobichaving a fear of contracting Coronavirus
Coronapocalypserefers to the end of the world by the Coronavirus
Coronateensteenagers raised during the COVID-19 pandemic
Coronatweenspreteens raised during the COVID-19 pandemic
Coronavirusaka the COVID-19 virus*
covexitrefers to easing restrictions previously enforced during the COVID pandemic
COVID bubblea group of people outside your home that one feels comfortable spending time with during the COVID pandemic
COVID-19aka Coronavirus*
covideo partya virtual party conducted online via a platform like Zoom or Skype
covidiotderogatory term used to describe someone not wearing their mask, adhering to the public health policies, and/or hoarding goods
covidivorcea divorce resulting from differences during the COVID-19 lockdown
COVID-phobeused to describe individuals with a clinical level of fear with respect to contracting the COVID-19
doomscrollingthe act of scrolling through social media in search of the latest catastrophe or bad news
long-haulerrefers to individuals who contracted COVID-19 and then suffer from long-lasting effects for months or years
maskholederogatory term used to describe an individual who refuses to wear a face mask
mask-shamingthe act of shaming someone else for not wearing a face mask
maskneacne that appears as a result of chronic mask usage
maskophobiafear of what your blind date will look like without a mask
quaranteamthe people one chooses to live with during the quarantine lockdown
quarantimethe time during which one was or is expected to quarantine
quarantine poda small group of people who quarantine together and limit their exposure to others
quarantinia cocktail one consumes while social distancing, oftentimes done during a Zoom or Skype meeting with friends
quarantinitisan inflammatory response that develops from being quarantined too long
Ronaslang for Coronavirus
super spreadera large event where the COVID-19 virus is likely to spread from asymptomatic COVID-19 people present at the event
vaxicationrefers to a vacation one takes after being vaccinated from COVID-19
walktaila cocktail made in a to-go cup and designed to be consumed while walking the streets
WFHan abbreviation for “work from home”
Zepoa depo conducted via Zoom
Zoombombing/Zoom raidingrefers to the unwanted and disruptive intrusion into a video conference from internet trolls
Zoomingthe act of socializing via Zoom
Zumpingthe act of dumping a partner via Zoom

Melissa S. Lee, CRI, is an adjunct instructor at the College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind.

*Coronavirus and COVID-19 are used interchangeably in this article. While in some cases that is acceptable – for instance, the COVID-19 virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 are acceptable, as is simply the coronavirus – some medical professionals, government officials, and journalists note that there is a distinction: Coronavirus is a kind of common virus, and COVID-19 is a specific type of coronavirus.