The English language is constantly evolving. It is said that English speakers add around 1000 new words every year. Though according to some sources the figure is actually much higher.
Global Language Monitor estimates that there are approximately 5400 new English words created each year.
To make it into the most commonly used English Dictionaries, however, a word has to have gained sufficient widespread use. Therefore, only around 1000 words make the grade.
The recent global crisis caused by Coronavirus Disease – Covid-19 has changed virtually every aspect of our daily lives. These changes also include the English lexicon. It was only a few short months ago that nobody had even heard of terms like, social-distancing, self-isolation and flattening the curve.
Indeed, the global pandemic has seen the birth of many new English words and phrases. Some of these new words will no doubt be accredited with dictionary status in the months to come.
To get familiar with the new lockdown lingo, here is a small sample of the more humorous new English words and phrases born out of the Covid-19 crisis.
The ups and downs of your mood during the pandemic. You’re loving lockdown one minute but suddenly weepy with anxiety the next.
Example: “My day really has been an emotional coronacoaster”.
Experimental cocktails mixed from whatever random ingredients you have left in the house. The boozy equivalent of a store cupboard supper. Southern Comfort and Ribena quarantini with a glacé cherry garnish, anyone?
These can be sipped at “locktail hour”
Le Creuset Wrist
It’s the new “avocado hand” – an aching arm after taking one’s best saucepan outside to bang during the weekly ‘Clap For Carers.’ It might be heavy but you’re keen to impress the neighbours with your high-quality kitchenware.
As opposed to millennials, this refers to the future generation of babies conceived or born during coronavirus quarantine. They might also become known as “Generation C” or, more spookily, “Children of the Quarn”.
Wine consumed in an attempt to relieve the frustration of not working. Also known as “bored-eaux” or “cabernet tedium”.
An overdose of bad news from consuming too much media during a time of crisis. Can result in a panicdemic.
The elephant in the Zoom
The glaring issue during a videoconferencing call that nobody feels able to mention. E.g. one participant has dramatically put on weight, suddenly sprouted terrible facial hair or has a worryingly messy house visible in the background.
An attention-seeker using their time in lockdown to make amateur films which they’re convinced are funnier and cleverer than they actually are.
Covidiot or Wuhan-ker
One who ignores public health advice or behaves with reckless disregard for the safety of others can be said to display “covidiocy” or be “covidiotic”. Also called a “lockclown” or even a “Wuhan-ker”.
The sudden fear that you’ve consumed so much wine, cheese, home-made cake and Easter chocolate in lockdown that your ankles are swelling up like a medieval king’s.
Using health precautions as an excuse for snubbing neighbours and generally ignoring people you find irritating.
Someone so alarmed by an innocuous splutter or throat-clear that they back away in terror.
Extra make-up applied to “make one’s eyes pop” before venturing out in public wearing a face mask.
The 10lbs in weight that we’re all gaining from comfort-eating and comfort-drinking. Also known as “fattening the curve.
Covid-19 is the biggest health crisis we have seen in generations and is certainly no laughing matter. However, in times of serious social crisis, linguistic creativity typically manifests itself.
Playing around with new vocabulary helps people articulate their fears and worries about the crisis.
I’m certain there are new Covid-19 words on the horizon. If we come across anymore, we’ll share them on this post. If you know of any that we have missed, please leave a comment below.