Words reflect our environment, so it’s no surprise that a host of new phrases have recently emerged to capture the events of 2020. From “case fatality rate” to “viral load,” the terms are often so horrible they can make you nostalgic for the past decade, when the most upsetting terms we coined were “twerking” and “dad bod.”
But while we’ve found plenty of ways to describe the big stuff, we could use a few more words to detail everyday life during a pandemic, like the experience of spending an entire Zoom call checking out your co-worker’s interior design or the haircut your friend got that clearly wasn’t done by a professional. These words are useful not simply because they make conversation more efficient, but also because common language has the power to unify us and to help us understand our experiences — all things we could really use right now. So here’s a short glossary to help us navigate our lives during the time of the coronavirus.
Rachel Greenblatt is a U.S.-based freelance writer and frequent Zoom tourist.
Jonathan Krieger writes about society, pop culture, sports and things worth feeling hopeful about. He is the author of “Odd Jobs: One Man’s Life Working Every Gig He Could Find, From Bathroom Attendant to Bikini Model.”