Too many words are being invented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for me to pick just one this week. Thus this update of my March 16 post, which covered quarantini, coronials, coronadouche, and other coinages, some of which have already slipped out of usage.
Infit: An outfit worn indoors while self-isolating or quarantining.
Lockdowning. Lockdown has been a noun since the 1830s, when it was first coined in North America to describe “a piece of wood used in the construction of rafts when transporting timber downriver, consisting of a strip or branch bent around the horizontal poles and secured into holes in the logs” (OED). Later, it referred to a peg, pin, or similar device used to fasten something in place. In the 1970s it took on its contemporary sense of “the confinement of prisoners to their cells for an extended period of time”; a decade later that sense was extended to cover any state of isolation instituted as a security measure. What’s new here is the intransitive use of lockdown. (So far, no area in North America is under a true lockdown such as that imposed on Wuhan, China, where COVID-19 was first documented.) h/t Language Jones
Pancession. A blend of pandemic and recession/depression.
I am going to call this pandemic/recession or depression a #pancession.— Elizabeth Rogers (@ahumorlessfem) April 5, 2020
Finally (for now), as the linguist Hazel Price has pointed out, a cluster of new quaran- blends is broadening the semantic scope of quarantine—a scope that had already been broadening since the 17th century from its original sense of “a 40-day isolation period.” On Instagram, there are more than 10,000 posts with the hashtag quaranteam (a person’s self-isolation friend group or supporters—human or animal) and almost 5,000 hashtagged quaranqueen (usually a flattering, glamorous, or promotional selfie taken during self-isolation). Quarantainment is a hashtag on Twitter, a song and album title, a sub-Reddit, and the pandemic handle of Bruce Sterling, who has created an excellent coronavirus merit badge.
My post for Medium about how COVID-19 is changing language
My March 30 Visual Thesaurus column about new coronacoinages (paywalled; please subscribe!)
My March 16 post about coronacoinages