COVID Adds New Words to Our Lexicons

The famous philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once said in most cases, “the meaning of a word is its use in the language” which keeps changing from time to time. 

The spread of the viral plague from early 2020 proved Wittgenstein right. While some new words were invented, the meanings of some common words changed. And some abbreviations defined the circumstances that people weren’t familiar with before.

Here’s a selection of signature words and phrases of the Covid-19 era:

Zoom fatigue: After the coronavirus pandemic, many people have turned to virtual meetings to avoid transferring the virus. A video communication company came up with a software called Zoom that made virtual meetings easier.  With Zoom came an auxiliary verb Zooming, which gave a meaning to our on-screen work meetings, socialising, and other events.

So excessive zooming leads to ‘Zoom Fatigue’.

Pro tip: Stick to a time schedule, turn off your camera when you don’t need it, and don’t forget to get some fresh air.

Zoombombing: Imagine someone crashing into your video meeting prior to the pandemic, you may have struggled to explain the situation in one word. As the pandemic paved the way for video meetings, we have a word now. It’s called ‘zoombombed’.

Lockdown:  Although the word “lockdown” has been used since the 16th century, its usage became common across the world since the pandemic began last year.

Social distance: The origin of Covid-19 is still a mystery for scientists. But scientists agree that it’s being transmitted through small liquid particles humans release when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or even breathe. Hence maintaining a social distance, meaning maintaining a safe space between yourself and other people, became an essential part of our life.

Covididiot: A person who believes in conspiracy theories and ignores facts about the Covid-19 disease or doesn’t follow the widely accepted measures such as social distancing, or putting a mask on.

Quaranteam: A group of people you isolate in a common household together or a bubble of trusted people who don’t meet anyone else but the group in order to avoid infection.

Distance learning: Also known as distance education, it’s a commonly used phrase defining education via online tools rather than being physically present in an education center. It’s being used a lot these days.

Asymptomatic: Infected with Covid-19 virus but not showing any signs of sickness. If a person is classified as asymptomatic, it means they can still spread the virus as much as the symptomatic patient.

Flattening the curve: Slowing the spread of the infection rates up to a point that can be managed with institutional measures.

For example, New Zealand first flattened the curve and then got rid of the virus.

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