We’ve all learned a lot during lockdown. We’ve discovered even more of our loved ones’ annoying little habits. Our wonky DIY fringes and home-schooling stress levels have inspired new-found respect for hairdressers and teachers alike. We’ve realised that we’ll never make sourdough again because it’s just too much faff when bread is widely available at these things called “shops”. We’ve also found that this much hand-washing and sanitising turns results in wizened lizard claws. Britain’s Got Talons, anyone?
Yes, the Covid-19 crisis has transformed our lives forever, in ways both large and small. It has even changed the way we speak. Language has always evolved to reflect society but during this strange time of upheaval, neologisms are arriving faster than spam emails from online retailers.
So are you au fait with the latest lockdown lingo? Parlez-vous pandemic slang? Swot up with our selection of 26 coronavirus colloquialisms…
The ups and downs of your mood during the pandemic. You’re loving lockdown one minute but suddenly weepy with anxiety the next. It truly is “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 are sipped at “locktail hour”, ie. wine o’clock during lockdown, which seems to be creeping earlier with each passing week.
Blue Skype thinking
A work brainstorming session which takes place over a videoconferencing app. Such meetings might also be termed a “Zoomposium”. Naturally, they are to be avoided if at all possible.
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”.
- To read more about the coronials, see our magazine article on how the pandemic will shape the next generation
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”.
Getting on your Wicks
Vexing noise levels from neighbours doing their daily workout with Joe Wicks, the Body Coach. Star jumps and burpees sound like a stampeding herd of buffalo.
Rhyming slang for coronavirus, as in popstrel Miley Cyrus or her country crooner father Billy Ray. Sample usage: “I’m suffering with a touch of the Mileys” or “I’m achy-breaky and displaying Billy Ray symptoms”. Which one you use is a useful indicator of your age.
Someone so enthusiastic about saluting our care workers that they forget all social distancing guidelines, start hugging their neighbours and high-fiving passing pedestrians.
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.
One’s social media feed being dominated by smug photos of home-made sourdough or banana bread.
An attention-seeker using their time in lockdown to make amateur films which they’re convinced are funnier and cleverer than they actually are.
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”.
Someone who routinely comes closer to you than the recommended two metres and who you’d like to zap like in an arcade game.
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.
Caught between a shop and a hoard place
The dilemma of needing to purchase basics but not wanting to be accused of stockpiling.
The recent phenomenon of ending a romantic relationship via video call. Depending on the platform used for the break-up, it can also be known as “FaceTumped” or “Housepumped”.
Using health precautions as an excuse for snubbing neighbours and generally ignoring people you find irritating.
Someone so proud of their new-found cooking ability that they artfully photograph every supper to boast about it on social media.
The people and/or pets you’re in lockdown with are your “quaranteam”. This era’s equivalent of #squadgoals.
Someone so alarmed by an innocuous splutter or throat-clear that they back away in terror.
A sun-kissed glow acquired from sitting in one’s garden or (gasp!) flouting the rules on park sunbathing.
Extra make-up applied to "make one's eyes pop" before venturing out in public wearing a face mask.
Doom ’n’ Zoom
The feeling spread by the most miserable or pessimistic participant in a videoconference, aka the “Zoommonger” or “lockdowner”.
An infection potentially spread by selfish fitness fanatics taking up an entire path by jogging two abreast.
The 10lbs in weight that we’re all gaining from comfort-eating and comfort-drinking. Also known as “fattening the curve”.