Yay! It’s finally the holidays! Time for a vacation!!! Or is it… coronacation?
I’m Ms Azmeera, a teacher at Lil’ but Mighty. As we approach the end of 2021, the coronavirus continues to shape both our lives and language. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but we’ve been experiencing an outbreak of new words, definitions and slang emerging from the pandemic. Some of these terms emphasise the seriousness of the situation we are currently in, while others are more humorous in nature, meant to make us laugh.
All of them, however, share a common purpose – in coining new words and phrases, we are better able to make sense of and reflect on the world we live in. The bottom line is, the pandemic has played a major role in influencing the English Language. Let’s take a look at ten words and phrases related to the language of Covid which have been added to the dictionary! Do take note that most of these phrases are used in a more casual context and are unlikely to be used in formal contexts like during your writing!
1. Rona or The rona
Meaning: (noun) slang for coronavirus (used mainly in USA & Australia)
Sentence example: Everything changed when the rona attacked.
Meaning: (abbreviation) working from home; work from home
Sentence example: My boss allows me to wfh three days a week, which means I get to save three hours of commuting a day.
3. Social distancing
Meaning: (noun) the action or practice of maintaining a certain physical distance from, or limiting physical contact with, another person or people, especially in order to avoid catching or transmitting an infectious disease
Sentence example: Singapore’s fully vaccinated residents will enjoy relaxed social- distancing restrictions from Tuesday, including the ability to dine out in bigger groups.
Meaning: (abbreviation) Personal Protective Equipment — equipment and clothing that protects people from health risks at work
Sentence example: Healthcare professionals in the U.S. continue to face shortages of PPE. This puts their lives at risk.
5. Elbow bump
Meaning: (noun) a gesture (usually of greeting or farewell) in which two people lightly tap their elbows together as an alternative to a handshake or embrace, especially in order to reduce the risk of spreading or catching an infection or disease
Sentence example: Elbow bumps are the new handshake, although they might still not be enough to avoid spreading the virus.
Meaning 1: (noun) A highly contagious person capable of passing on a disease to many others
Sentence example: The super-spreader who infected at least 11 other people while travelling from Singapore to U.K. has been identified.
Meaning 2: (noun) an event or location at which a significant number of people contract the same communicable disease — often used before another noun
Sentence example: The music festival quickly turned into a
superspreader site after almost 5,000 people who attended it tested positive for COVID-19.
Meaning: (noun) a photograph of oneself taken during or immediately after a vaccination (typically posted on social media); a vaccination selfie
Sentence example: Are you guilty of posting your vaxxie all over social media? 😂
8. Vaccine passport
Meaning: (noun) a physical or digital document providing proof of vaccination
Sentence example: In Italy, citizens are burning their vaccine passports to protest against the government’s authoritarian health mandates.
9. Long COVID
Meaning: (noun) a medical condition suffered by some people who have had COVID-19 and continue to feel the effects of the illness for weeks or months afterwards
Sentence example: Symptoms of long COVID can include breathlessness, chronic fatigue, “brain fog”, anxiety and stress.
Meaning: (noun) infection occurring in someone who is fully vaccinated against an infectious agent — often used before another noun (as in “breakthrough cases” or “breakthrough infection”)
Sentence example: Health officials are advising fully vaccinated individuals to get their COVID booster shots to prevent breakthrough cases.
There we have it! Ten newly created words and expressions that popped up in our everyday vocabulary due to the coronavirus. Did any of them ring a bell to you? Hmm… I wonder what else we’ll come up with in the time of The Rona. Do you have any silly ones? Perhaps the lexicographer (a person who studies developments in the English language and compiles dictionaries) will add yours to the list! Do share with us in the comment box below. Till my next post, stay safe!