How COVID-19 and the Pandemic Have Changed Language

Language is always changing and evolving.  Every time we have a new technology, product, or discovery we are adding words. The pandemic has changed much of how we see the world and hence added hundreds of words to our lives.  

For fun, let’s look at some of the new words that we’ve discovered; the first ten have been added to our “official language” by the Oxford English dictionary this year:

  1. Adulting: The action of becoming or acting like an adult 
  2. Awe walk:  Taking a walk outside and making an effort to look at the things around you 
  3. Contactless: Not having to physically touch or interact with people 
  4. Doomscrolling:  Reading the news on social media and expecting it to be bad – so much so that you become obsessed with looking at updates 
  5. PPE: An abbreviation for personal protective equipment (added by Merriam-Webster 4-2020)
  6. Quarenteen: A teenager during the COVID-19 pandemic  
  7. Thirsty: Having a need for attention or approval  
  8. Truthiness: Something that seems true but isn’t backed up by evidence. (Colbert Report)
  9. Unconscious bias: Unconscious prejudice against people of a certain race, gender, or group.
  10. Covidiot: People who won’t follow the COVID rules
  11. Blursday: How to quarantine days just run together
  12. Maskhole: Merging of the words “mask” and “asshole.” (people who won’t wear a mask)

13: Sharent: Parents who overshare about their children online.

14:  Amirite: Am I right?

15: Nothingburger: An event or something that didn’t turn out as great as you’d hoped.

While we’ve all been locked down I have experienced some Lockstalgia (merging of  “lockdown” and “nostalgia”) appreciating the simpler life of staying home, While I’m anxious to return to my active life, I’m caution about a Twindemic where other viruses, like the flu, might put us at risk.  At the end of the day, I’m going to pour myself a Quarantini: (Merging of the words “quarantine” and “Martini”) and try to avoid a Spendemic (The experience of excessive shopping while in quarantine). Amirite?

Mary Louise VanNatta, APR, CAE is CEO of VanNatta Public Relations. www.PRSalem.com, @PRSalem

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