7 Terms You Didn't Know in January

The coronavirus pandemic is adding to, and altering, our vocabulary
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2020 7:19 PM CDT
7 Terms You Didn't Know in January
Stock image.   (Getty Images)

Pre-pandemic seems so "lifetime ago." Our health strategies, economy, social lives—they're all transformed. Now Fast Company and the Orange County Register look at another aspect: our changing language. The coronavirus has spawned new phrases (like "quarantini") and added new meaning to ones already lying around (like "essential worker"). Here's a look at our top seven COVID-19 terms:

  1. Quarantini: It's unclear whether this refers to happy hour on Zoom or knocking one back alone because ... well, no one else is there. It cropped up on Twitter on March 13 as "It's just a regular Martini but you get to drink it alone in your home."
  2. Blursday: With people working longer hours from home, taking too many Zoom calls, and downing too many quarantinis, it's all becoming a blur. "For those who have lost track, today is Blursday the fortyteenth of Maprilay," wrote Heidi Pitlor at lithub in April.
  3. Zoom fatigue: Self-explanatory. But it is real, and Fast Company suggests ways of dealing with it.
  4. Essential worker: Public health leaders decided which businesses were essential and had to stay open amid lockdowns. "Hospitals? Supermarkets? Service stations? Hardware stores?" asks the Register. "Essential."
  5. Drive-thru (fill in the blank): Some things we won't give up—like weddings, birthday parties, and graduations. So we've found ways to drive through them.
  6. Flattening the curve: What sounds almost like surfer jargon is really about curbing the spread of the virus and pushing the trend line down.
  7. Elbow bump: Our new, socially distanced greeting. Some wonder whether the handshake or hug will ever return.
(In fact, a hug on Capitol Hill sparked quite the outcry.)

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