Say what?! It’s a word I coined after compiling a list of words and catchphrases that have emerged since January 2020 and have settled into our lives. The human capacity to adapt to situations with psychosocial resilience is reflected in language as well. As the world shifted its economic infrastructure to home office and the academia adopted alternative learning / teaching methods via virtual classrooms, it was inevitable that a linguistic development take place as well to cope with the new social paradigms.

Here is a list of words and phrases that were not part of our regular speech until the outbreak of COVID-19. Some of them will make you snicker with comic relief, while others will simply make us shake our heads in disbelief and wonder how and when will it all end.

Contact tracing
Flatten the curve
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Vaccine eligibility
Herd immunity

From this section, there was one that definitely stood out – maskne, or the pimples that some people get as a result from wearing the face masks for extended periods. Contract tracing remains controversial in many countries, voluntary in some, and problematic for those with older phones who can’t download the apps.

The New Normal ©FrogDiva Photography

Work From Home (WFH)
Home Office
Contactless delivery
Quarantine hustle

The first three need no explanation, but perhaps some of the delivery personnel might need a refresher course. What I can definitely get onboard with is the quarantine hustle – or generating alternative sources of income if you are unable to earn from your regular work. Many journalists and photographers who are normally out in the field or in the middle of events are hit hard by the lockdowns and have taken to podcasting, writing, or something completely different.

Social distancing
Elbow bump
Virtual Happy Hour
Maskhole / Covidiot
Quaranteam / Pod / Bubble
COVID party
Fattening the curve
New Normal
Community spread
Super-spreader event

Blursday is my personal favourite, now that the days of the week have become one major blur. At the beginning of lockdown last year I was one of the doomscrollers but quickly realised how detrimental that is to your mental health, especially there is so much bullshit going around by people who are not qualified to spread the rumours (aka COVIDiots or maskholes... )

Fattening the curve is the weight gained due to lockdown or anxiety-related food binges caused by social isolation / distancing. The quarantini is not my drink of choice but some have concocted their own brews! The South Korean Dalgona coffee for example, has taken the world by storm as the quarantine drink of choice by day, followed by the quarantini for the virtual clubbing!

Zumping is when you get dumped by your partner over zoom. That’s a new low as far as human decency goes.

You’re on mute
Your video is not working
Face-to-face meeting
In-Person meeting
Zoom fatigue

There are some interesting articles for Zoom Fatigue that have emerge that are worth reading. Click HERE for the Stanford study, and HERE for the Harvard Business Review.

Just about all of us have experienced disruptions during a Zoom call from pets, spouses, parents, roommates, children – in the most embarrassing or hilarious ways. No one is safe! Zoombombing on the other hand, takes the disruption to a whole new level. This is the “unwarranted disruption” of a Zoom call by a hacker who then inserts lewd, racist or XYZ-mophobic clips into the call.

Click HERE for an earlier blog entry on the development / changes in the definition or concept of face-to-face meetings.

Remote learning

Remote learning is not a new term per se, but has taken on unprecedented dimensions during the pandemic. Both parents and students alike have been put to the test during lockdown, and many will consider the last three semesters a complete waste of everyone’s time as far as the learning curve is concerned.

Essential workers
Frontline workers
Drive-thru testing

At first there was no real distinction between essential workers and frontline workers when this all started, and frontliners was a terms only associated with the military or rescue workers (we used it as a management term in the NGO community back in the 90s), but after the first couple of months it became clear to public administrators that a clear distinction had to be made in order to sustain the social distancing, lockdowns and curfews. Some countries have been more successful at it than others, but the bottom line is that both groups deserve every recognition and commendation possible.

We all look forward to the covexit strategies of our governments, but for now we just have to hang on tight and ride out the next wave of supercovidlisticpandmicalidiciousness coming our way. Gee Toto, I don’t think we are in Normal anymore…

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