New Terms Related to the Coronavirus Enter the Lexicon

New Terms Related to the Coronavirus Enter the Lexicon

Although the coronavirus definition dates back to 1969, it has rapidly caught on among the general public only in early 2020 due to a global pandemic of COVID-19. The case of such a fast spread of infection throughout the world has occurred for the first time in history and required unprecedented measures such as closing borders and enforcing quarantine in almost any country, bringing to the surface the related terms and coining some new ones.

Importance of Understanding Medical Terms during Pandemic

During a pandemic, it is vital to recognize the seriousness of the situation, be fairly informed about it, and act accordingly. To achieve it, the first thing is to get familiarized with the medical terms and research the topic. Once a person clearly understands where the danger comes from, he/she will be able to protect him/herself and the close ones.

Why does prevention really matter during a pandemic? The answer is easy: no medical system of any country in the world is able to deal with an extreme surge of patients. More than that, when almost all other countries are in the same situation, it is not possible to buy or get some help with medication, protective clothing, etc. which further aggravates the situation. Thus, in order to go through this situation, everyone needs to take care of themselves and figure out all the medical terms, understand the mechanism of the infection spread, and make the corrections in their lifestyle and behavior to stay healthy.

How Some of the New “Coronaspeak” is Deepening the Generational Conflict

In general, the currently popular vocabulary related to coronavirus is characterized by some hostile, disapproving, or even pejorative connotations. The most neutral words found on the spectrum are coronapause – the temporary state of postponing the regular routine at work, school, etc. and coronap – a compound of the words ‘corona’ and ‘nap’, which means taking some nap during the daytime when staying at home on quarantine. The rest of them, however, seem to drive wedges, define lines and even deepen the generational conflict.

One of such words is coronapanic. It can be understood in two ways depending on the perspective. The first meaning of this word is the irrational behavior caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, buying 20 packs of toilet paper, or wiping out all sanitizing products in the stores. This is the perspective of people who take the situation seriously but sensibly. However, those, who believe that everything is at norm and this is just another ‘seasonal flu’ would call coronapanic any actions aimed at mitigating the spread of the infection like social distancing and quarantine. Probably the most pejorative word on the topic that aggravates the generational conflict is boomer remover. This is a term millennials and Gen-Z use to refer to COVID-19, as the disease that mostly threatens the older generations, i.e. Baby Boomers. The young claim it is only a meme and is not intended as an insult, but the stance is rather rude. Also, this term does not actually reflect reality because people of all age groups have a risk of developing complications due to coronavirus and maybe even die.

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To understand the situation well, one needs to know and understand the vocabulary related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the list of the essential terms:

  • COVID-19 – coronavirus disease 2019, highly contagious infectious disease caused by a new type of coronavirus first found in Wuhan, China in 2019, which leads to severe respiratory illness often with fever and coughing.
  • Pandemic – a worldwide outbreak of an infectious disease. An epidemic, in contrast, is always a local phenomenon.
  • Incubation period – a time during which an infectious pathogen has already got into an organism but there are yet no manifestations of the disease it causes.
  • Fomite – an object contaminated with some infection that can further pass it to other living organisms.
  • Asymptomatic – the one who does not develop any symptoms of a disease but can actively spread it. Children often have an asymptomatic form of COVID-19, which can be very dangerous.
  • Morbidity – the rate of people infected with a disease in comparison to the total population.
  • Mortality – the rate of people who died from a disease in comparison to the total population.
  • Quarantine – regulations and temporary measures aimed at the prevention of spreading of a contagious disease.
  • Social distancing – the practice of keeping a greater physical distance between people in order to reduce the risk of contraction of a disease.
  • Self-isolation – separating oneself from other people and avoiding contact with the outer world.

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New Slang Terms Related to Coronavirus

  • Covexit – an exit strategy permitting relaxing of confinement and economic recovery following coronavirus-related restrictions.
  • Elbow bump - to greet each other slightly touching elbows to avoid hands shake.
  • WFH - work from home.
  • Flatten the curve - to slow the spread of epidemic disease so that the capacity of the healthcare system does not become overwhelmed.
  • Rona, Lady Rona, roni, rone – the coronavirus personified/familiarised.
  • Lockdown - recently used as a prison protocol to prevent people from leaving a certain area. Now used related to quarantine and pandemic.
  • BCV - before coronavirus.
  • Quarantimes, coronatimes - prevailing circumstances under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, used as a hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
  • Viral anxiety - fear and uncertainty caused by a coronavirus.
  • Coronanoia - paranoia caused by coronavirus.
  • Covideo party - online video party via Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype.
  • Blursday - not knowing what day it is because of the disorientation in time during self-isolation.
  • Covidiot - someone who ignores public health advice and roams the streets instead of staying home.
  • Morona - derived from moron - person behaving stupidly because of or during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Coroanacuts – haircuts carried out at home during the lockdown, especially when less than successful.

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Language is always a flexible entity that reflects the reality the speakers live in. Considering the emergence of some negative and pejorative lexicon regarding coronavirus, it is clear that we need to switch to some more positive thinking and start spreading more love and support.