It’s been almost four months—four months—since I first wrote about the new words emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. Through surges and spikes and reopenings and retreats, the indomitable spirit of wordy invention soldiers on. Here are some coronacoinages I’ve noticed recently. Let me know if I’ve overlooked any of your favorites.
Blursday. Monday, Saturday, who knows? I first heard Blursday on the July 6 episode of the excellent Because Language podcast, but it’s considerably older than that. Urban Dictionary has an appropriately awkward definition—“The day you are presently living but have no idea what day it actually is”—that’s un-blurrily dated March 30. Also see Whensday (below).
Know Your Meme, “uploaded 3 months ago”
It *has* rained in the past 11 days. We apologize for the error and have fixed in the article. Time is a flat circle when every day is Blursday. https://t.co/iOZKmdACzJ— WBUR (@WBUR) May 27, 2020
Coronacoaster. I first encountered this excellent portmanteau (coronavirus + roller coaster) just this week, but in fact it was one of the earliest coronacoinages: A definition by “kk shuffle” in Urban Dictionary is dated March 13 (“the feeling of uncertainty, anxiety, and helplessness surveying news and information concerning humankind’s possible demise from covid-19”).
Speaking of roller coasters, reopened theme parks in Japan are asking thrill-riders to suppress their screams in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. Good luck with that!
Via RasberryT, July 9, 2020
Covidpreneur. For every crisis there’s a hustler who’ll gleefully capitalize on it. Covidpreneur hasn’t yet reached Urban Dictionary, but it’s a YouTube handle and the name of a game. And it’s spread far and wide on Twitter.
Just got a PR pitch that includes the word "covidpreneur"— Ben Smith (@benyt) June 24, 2020
This is the earliest use I’ve found.
Coining this trend on April 15 at 12:16pm CT:— Josh Inglis (@Propllrhead) April 15, 2020
Namastay-inside. Here’s Guardian reporter Niloufar Haidari with some context: “After three months of “namastaying-inside” wearing my crop-top ensembles and glamming up on the weekends for Zoom drinks with my besties, I was more than ready to step outside last weekend. No, this isn’t something I made up: namastay-inside is a phrase recently coined by the fast fashion retailer Boohoo in order to sell more cheap garments to young women.”
The namastay portmanteau (namaste + stay) had a pre-pandemic life. There’s a Namas’tay [sic] Dog Spa in San Carlos, California, that’s at least two years old. Lululemon sells Namastay Put Hipsters ($48 for a 3-pack). You can buy a Namastay 6 Feet Away face mask at Teepublic. And Urban Dictionary has an entry for namastay dated June 28, 2016, that gives this definition: “Voicing one’s decision to not go out for the evening.”
Quaran-stream. Pre-pandemic, it was just called binge-watching. Also seen without the hyphen. H/t my brother Michael.
Quarschmerz. A poignant blend of quarantine and weltschmerz. H/t Benjamin Dreyer.
I’m down with what might be nothing more than an extreme case of quarschmerz.— Benjamin Dreyer (@BCDreyer) June 24, 2020
Sipping. Complying with a shelter-in-place (s-i-p) directive. I heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend.
Whensday. See Blursday, above. H/t Ellen Lutwak.
Coronacoinages (March 16)
New virus, new words (Visual Thesaurus, March 30)
More cronacoinages (April 6)