A guide to the new coronnial dictionary…

We’re frequently reminded that these are some strange and uncertain times we’re all living through right now.

And what better way to navigate our shared experience of the coronavirus pandemic, than through an investigation into the new forms of language that have emerged as a result of it.

None of the below is an attempt to mock what is a very serious situation, or to ignore the suffering of those affected. It is instead a brief compendium of the creative ways we humans are classifying, and coping with, adversity.


In Craig David’s early noughties classic 7 Days, the R&B star sang about a clear itinerary of his week. He meets a girl on Monday, goes for a drink on Tuesday, the relationship progresses through Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with time allotted for chilling on Sunday. Aside from its clear lack of social distancing etiquette, this pre-corona tale of diary clarity comes into stark contrast with a world where many of us are working from home. The repetitive template of self-isolation has lead many of us to struggle identifying what any given day actually is. Blursday is the name given to that ‘is it Tuesday? Feels like a Wednesday’ feeling. The one that develops into existential contemplation of whether it really matters anyway. Of course, in reality, it does matter. There are scheduled weekly Microsoft Team meetings, bills to pay, shows to watch, and Subs of the Day that we need to be present for.


One way to classify groups of humans, is by the generation they were born into. This includes Boomers (or Baby Boomers) whose birth dates fall between 1944 and 1964, Gen X (between 1965 and 1979), Millennials (1980-1994) and Gen Z (born after 1995). Each group is often described as sharing certain characteristics by nature of them being shaped, in part, by the type of societal conditions they grew up in. Coronnial is the name given to the generation either born or conceived during the coronavirus pandemic. As for their common traits, who knows what they will be? A fondness for masked heroes? Obsessive hand cleaning? Only time will tell. See also Quaranteens.


With much of the world in some form of isolation at the peak of the pandemic, daily face-to-face encounters were often limited to food delivery drivers and your cat. Add to that the fact that salons were closed and we could always switch off video for conference calls — and there seemed little imperative for us to prioritise self-care. Many of us chose to grow our hair and beards, or give our skin a chance to live its best life make-up free, but there were also those brave souls that decided to give themselves a fresh new look in lockdown. With, let’s be kind, mixed results. The Covid-cut is the name given to our, and our partners’, attempts at DIY grooming. Asymmetry being one of the most common and hilarious features.



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An individual that defies scientific consensus and government rules on social distancing. Somebody with the incapacity to visualise a space of two metres.


That odd aspect of the human condition that leads us to look through social media and news sources with the sole ambition of discovering negative, worrying, or apocalyptic news and statistics.

Flattening the curve

The term ‘flattening the curve’ was used in scientific and analytical circles long before the current pandemic, but Covid-19 certainly put into public consciousness. It describes the efforts of governments around the globe, in the initial phase of the pandemic, to slow the rate of infection. Flattening the curve on the graph of infection rates helped to slow exponential growth and lower the impact on health services. The best ways to achieve this being social distancing, effective tracking and quarantine.


The short form of ‘isolation’: Maintaining social distance to disrupt the spread of Covid-19.



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Personal protective equipment items, such as like masks and gloves. The wearing of which outside the home is currently a legal requirement in many places, including the UAE. Zero PPE points to the covidiots who wear the mask over their mouth and not their nose, or just resting on their chin. That’s not how it works.


The generation going through the pandemic whilst in their adolescence are one of the groups experiencing the biggest degree of upheaval to their lives. Schooling and tests are being conducted remotely, friendships are being played out almost exclusively online, and Tiktok dance routines have replaced most verbal forms of communication.



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Before all this began, when leaving the house the mental stock-take was limited ‘wallet/purse, keys, phone’. Now we have to tick a few more things off the list – face mask, gloves and, of course, hand sanitiser, or ‘sani’. We’re still reeling from the fact that cleaning your hands has ‘become an actual thing’ in 2020. We’ve even had celebrities out there telling us how to do it properly, with our favourite being the super cute combo of The Rock and his daughter in the video above.

The new normal

One of those phrases that have been kicked about in the media enough to cause an ‘ughh’ trigger in many of those that hear it. It refers to the fact that the pandemic has changed certain aspects of our routine life, either temporarily or eternally. Whether that’s adopting new hygiene practices, or the wearing of PPE, constant background anxiety, sports events taking place in empty stadiums or just simply working in your pyjamas.

The ‘rona

One of the coping mechanisms that humans deploy to deal with threats and fear, is to make light of them. This isn’t to diminish the suffering of others, rather to deflect negativity with light-heartedness. And this current world health climate is no exception. The internet is awash with parody songs, memes, jokes and humour all directed at the coronavirus. It has also become common practise to refer to the villain of the piece, Covid-19, with a flippant name such as ‘the rona’. Other versions include ‘the rony pony’, ‘old corony’, and ‘a case of the rones’. It’s convenient to have options when talking about the disease as Cardi B has rendered the word ‘coronavirus’ unusable for some.



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Again, not directly born of this pandemic – but it has become almost impossible not to say during discussions about it. Utterances of ‘completely unprecedented’ accompanied by splutterings of ‘strange and uncertain times’ have grown in step with the virus itself. Its pervasiveness comes from the fact it captures so perfectly, one of the most clearly discernable aspects of the ongoing experience of Covid-19, that it, and the response to it, is virtually incomparable to anything that has happened before.


Working From Fridge, a corruption of the term ‘working from home’ (or WFH). It describes that dangerous occupation of working within close picking proximity of your own fridge. The snackcident threat level is set permanently to imminent, and with willpower reserves at an all time low, the only defence comes in the form of a strict workout from home regime.


@elliotchoyHOW TO GET OUT OF YOUR ZOOM CLASSES 101 – thank me later ? ##fyp ##foryou ##college ##school ##zoom♬ original sound – elliotchoy

2020’s version of the photobomb. The act of finding your way into the background of somebody else’s Microsoft Zoom meeting. Made all the more exciting with Zoom’s virtual background feature. Some clever school kids have even figured out a hack for lessons on Zoom, just check out the video above.

Images: Instagram/Twitter/Tiktok/Pixabay