Today, I want to introduce some common slang that English speakers are using to talk about Covid-19 and the pandemic

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The English vocabulary, and probably the vocabularies of your languages, has changed and evolved in response to the global pandemic and Covid-19. Words and phrases like “pandemic,” “lockdown,” and “herd immunity” have become essential parts of daily conversations. I actually recorded an episode at the end of 2020 talking about some of the new words that were added to the dictionary last year – I’ll leave a link in the description or on the blog! In today’s short episode, I want to introduce you to five common slang terms related to, or inspired by, the ongoing pandemic!

English speakers like to shorten long words. We do it with people’s names all the time: common English names like John, Sam, Ben, Anna, Elle, or Beth are shortened versions of longer names. We have done the same with the virus! Coronavirus was shortened to ‘corona,’ as I’m sure you all know already. But many people shorten it further to the Rona in conversations, and sometimes it is even personified to Miss Rona or Aunt Rona. 

Living in a world dominated by the Rona has made social media an even larger part of our lives. Have you ever found yourself reloading and refreshing Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram looking for new things to read or interesting pictures to look at? If so, you have been doomscrolling! Doom refers to all the bad news and negative stories we see while scrolling on social media. 

As parts of the world enter and leave lockdowns, hair salons and barber shops around the world have been closed for safety reasons. That left people with two options. Like me, they might let their hair grow longer than usual. Or, you could get a coronacut. This is a bad haircut that you, a family member or friend does for you!

One of my favourite slang terms is covidiot. This is a mix of COVID-19 and idiot, and is used as an insult for someone who ignored health and safety guidelines about the virus. There are lots of twitter feeds and YouTube videos about covidiots if you are interested! Maybe you even know a covidiot

The final slang term in this short episode is actually inspired by something I, myself, am doing as I write this episode. I am drinking a quarantini! Quarantini is a slang term for a cocktail people drink at home while under quarantine. It is a mix of the words quarantine and martini (which is a cocktail famously drunk by James Bond). However, now quarantini refers to any alcoholic beverage drunk while under quarantine!

Thank you for listening to today’s episode. Hopefully you can use some of these terms in your daily lives. Remember to check out the blog and Instagram page! And leave me a rating! It really, really helps. I hope you are all healthy, happy, and staying safe!

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By Tom Wilkinson

Host and founder of Thinking in English, Tom is committed to providing quality and interesting content to all English learners. Previously a research student at a top Japanese university and with a background in English teaching, political research, and Asian languages, Tom is now working fulltime on bettering Thinking in English!

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