This post is also available in: Deutsch

The Corona Dictionary

Creativity, humour, and new necessities – all these factors have brought about a rich new language around the worldwide crisis. They have not only helped us understand the situation, but focussed our efforts, changed our behaviour and given us hope and relief.
Some here in this dictionary are old terms that have been borrowed, revived or reinterpreted, others are born out of necessity or the imagination. These words and terms are part of an historical moment, a time that has shaped not just our lives but how we communicate.

General System Thinking

Airport Rules: If you feel like a beer at 9am then go for it. Or in non-alcoholic cases, tea at 3pm.

Antisocial distancing: Using health precautions as an excuse for snubbing neighbours and generally ignoring people you find irritating.

Balconista: With no catwalk, pavement or public space with which to show how fabulous/fashionable/interesting they are looking, fashionistas have taken to the habit of standing on their balcony in their most fashionable clothes and taking selfies to post on instagram.

Cell Workout: Once privy only to those kept at her majesty’s pleasure (and other such popular institutions worldwide), this is now a well publicised, practiced  and effective way of keeping fit when confined to  a 3 sq meter room. Also great potential for keeping fit whilst standing in queues, trapped in a lift or when staying in cell-like hotel rooms on business travel.

Co-fit or Co-fat: Post corona we will see that people will have gone one of two ways. Those who are corona fit – fitter than ever as they have time to exercise (see Cell Workout), and those who have turned into corona potatoes (also known previously as couch potatoes).

Co-isolation: A term that will be used for decades to come to signalise individualistic cocooning. Whilst can be used to your advantage to distance yourself from people you do not want to live with anymore, it also can bring the disadvantage of loneliness.

Corona Buddies: Those people you meet with during the lockdown (keeping social distance naturally).

Coronacoaster: The ups and downs of your mood during the pandemic. You’re enjoying lockdown one minute but suddenly weepy with anxiety the next. It is “an emotional coronacoaster”.

Coronadose: An overdose of bad news from consuming too much media during a time of crisis. Can result in a panicdemic.

Coronials: 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”.

Corona Vigilantes: The people who practice ”lockdown shaming” – exposing those who do not adhere to social distancing and other regulations. Often done as a way to get back at people with whom they have had disagreements.

Covidiots (from Corona + Idiots): The people who break the rules of social distancing.  A future general term for those who can’t behave in a sociable and reasonable manner under any circumstances.

Doom Scrolling: Obsessively searching online for depressing pandemic news.

Dry Quarantini:  A dry Martini drunk in quarantine (enforced or otherwise).

Fattening the curve: The weight that we’re all gaining from comfort-eating and comfort-drinking. We are fattening our own curves.

Garden/Balcony Marathon: Thanks to demonstrations of many very determined people, no one ever needs to leave the comfort of their garden or balcony again to run a marathon. They just might prefer to.

Generation Corona : Babies born 9 months after lockdown and small children who have (not) grown up during this period.

Letterbox Manicure: As weird and clever as it sounds –  literally putting your fingers through the letterbox of your manicurist in order to receive a manicure without social contact. Not recommended for pedicures.

Manner Dementia:
At the beginning of the pandemic people behaved anti-socially and bought things like toilet paper in ridiculous amounts. They simply forgot their good manners. This behaviour is also whenever there is rumoured to be a shortage of anything. (Beate Möbius-Neumann)

Revenge shopping: When lockdown ends and the shopping spree begins lavishly with new enthusiasm. When the Hermès store in the Chinese city of Guangzhou reopened after a two-month coronavirus lockdown it took in $2.7 million — the highest one-day earnings by a single boutique in China, ever.

Pandemix: A play list that has been painstakingly complied by a DJ to listen to during a pandemic. Will play a key role in the corona nostalgia parties.

Pandophilia: The syndrome by which congenitally grumpy people are now facing joy that “we are all in this together”. For example have you noticed that all those people who would normally start their sentences with the words “the problem is…” are now weirdly relaxed and happy.  The syndrome also applies to chronic hypochondriacs who for the first time in their lives, feel extremely and unashamedly healthy and calm.

Panic Buying: A very infectious state in which people buy more than they need. Long term code for predominantly unnecessary and selfish behaviour.

Quantanamo: The feeling when quarantine goes on too long.

Quarantime: Time runs differently under quarantine.New way of measuring how time passes – with the emphasis on slow, repetitive and seemingly endless.

Quarantine Coaching: Lessons to learn from the corona heroes helping people remotely deal with extreme loneliness, social isolation.

Quarantino: When things get nasty in quarantine.

Quarantune: A song composed /sung during quarantine. Depending on who is singing/writing, you may never want to hear this again.

Re-gnose : Looking back at the present from the future in order to practice “possibilism”, or the art of non-panic thinking that lies beyond optimism and pessimism.

Re-Hygge: Rediscovering and reappraising home. This is about appreciating and finding “joy” in furniture and furnishings that were hitherto neglected like a boring and demanding aunt. It is about understanding what all the fuss was about Marie Kondo and the magic art of tidying. About realising that if you are not just mending, clearing and reviving your home, but your life.

Risk Guru : Game theorists, statisticians and virologists, this could be your chance for fame and fortune. Bear in mind there will be a lot of competition. Perhaps drop the “guru” moniker if you want to be taken seriously. And drop the “risk” if you just want to be liked.

Self Curating: Survive self isolation by self curating. You can curate everything from your media intake to your creative output.  Reassess, regroup your skills, ideas, habits, hobbies etc.

Senicide: Originally meant “killing the elderly” in archaic societies. In Corona times it takes on a whole new meaning as it is a virus that primarily kills the elderly and hence changes the demographics of society. (Philippe Haesler)

Soap Police: Both official and unofficial task forces tasked with keeping hygiene standards high during the crisis. Don’t get yourself in a lather about them, they are just doing their job.

Social Distancing: Something that we will have learnt has both advantages and disadvantages. An excuse in the future to keep away from people who we would prefer not to kiss or have sweaty flaccid handshakes.

Societal Experiment: When a society finds itself in an unprecedented state for which politicians have no prior experience. Scientists are busy with the latest findings and figures. Society is scared and unsettled and can therefore be controlled and shaped. (Ingrid Leukers-Bölicke)

Unpocalypse: Apologies to everyone who watched too many apocalypse/zombie movies – it’s an UNpocalypse, not an apocalypse.

Virus Vacationers: People who went to their second homes or on vacation during the lockdown.

Webinar: A seminar held via the internet. One of those things many people successfully avoided until the crisis.

Webinista: If you can’t be fashionable in public, be fashionable on the internet. See Balconista.

Zooming: The on line conference and meeting app that no one had ever heard of before the corona crisis. Given rise to the phrase “shall we zoom?”

Please send any suggestions to oona@horx.com