75 Words/Phrases in the New Lexicon of the Pandemic

About seven-in-ten U.S. Adults say they need to take breaks from COVID-19 news. But that doesn’t mean they are avoiding the topic completely. In fact, 44% of U.S. adults say they are discussing the coronavirus outbreak with other people most or almost all of the time, whether online, in person or over the phone,” according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted April 20 to 26. The outbreak has had far-reaching effects on daily life in the United States, so it may not come as a surprise that it is such a frequent subject of discussion for many Americans.

And since it is a frequent subject of discussion, an entire plethora of new words/phrases, but more likely existing words/phrases having new meanings (or increased usage) have surfaced in just a few short months. Americans’ discussions with one another now regularly include many of the following acronyms, words and phrases, all within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Using television network and local news, and Facebook posts as reference, SJ Insights (unscientifically) compiled these words and phrases (related to the pandemic) of those mentioned most frequently.  We tried to group them in clusters relating to an overall topic or theme, knowing some fall in more than one group.

The point of this exercise is to just look at the sheer number of words that have surfaced having a whole new meaning. These are by no means all inclusive, (and do not include brand names, global terms, etc.) so if you have one or more you’d like to add, post it in the comments below).

  1. Pandemic (The broad term to describe the outbreak.)

    General/Miscellaneous:
  2. Coronavirus
  3. Novel Virus
  4. COVID-19
  5. Cases
  6. Deaths
  7. Hot Spots
  8. Testing/Tests
  9. Vaccine
  10. Ventilators
  11. PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)
  12. Flatten the Curve
  13. Frequent Hand Washing
  14. Symptomatic/Asymptomatic
  15. Social Distance/Social Distancing/Practice Social Distancing
  16. Six (6) Feet
  17. Masks
  18. Wearing Masks/Not Wearing Masks
  19. Mitigation/Mitigate
  20. Temperature Checks
  21. Underlying Conditions
  22. Hydroxychloroquine
  23. Contact Tracing

    Shutdown Related:
  24. Quarantine
  25. Self-Quarantine
  26. Shutdown
  27. Stranded at Sea (Cruise Workers & Goers unable to leave the ship due to COVID-19)
  28. First Responders
  29. Frontline Workers
  30. Healthcare Workers
  31. Essential Workers
  32. Non-Essential Workers
  33. WFH/Work from Home
  34. Home School
  35. Nursing Homes
  36. Zoom
  37. New Normal
  38. Back to Normal

    Financial/Business Related:
  39. Response
  40. Economy
  41. C.A.R.E.S. Act
  42. Stimulus Check/Payment
  43. Unemployed
  44. Self Employed
  45. EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loans)
  46. UI (Unemployment Insurance)
  47. PPP (Paycheck Protection Program)
  48. PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) – a broad program that expands unemployment benefits to self-employed/contractors, etc.
  49. PEUC (Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation) – extension of benefits, up to 13 weeks for those who have exhausted state unemployment benefits
  50. FPUC (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) – the additional $600 from the Federal Government
  51. Out of Business
  52. Bankruptcy
  53. Recovery
  54. Pivot
  55. Business Model

    Food/Shopping/Restaurant Related:
  56. Stockpiling
  57. Toilet Paper
  58. Yeast
  59. Hand Sanitizer
  60. Thermometers
  61. Disinfectants
  62. Wipes
  63. Supply Chain
  64. Comfort Food
  65. Home Delivery
  66. Purchase Restrictions
  67. Home-Confined Buying
  68. Online Grocery Shopping
  69. Contactless Delivery
  70. Curbside Pickup
  71. Dine In
  72. Carry Out
  73. Reduced Menu
  74. Curbside Cocktails
  75. Pandemic-15 (like “the freshmen 15″— meaning the pounds you’ll gain during quarantine)
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Posted in Research

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How much do you know about digital topics?

Test your knowledge on digital topics and terms by taking Pew’s 10-question quiz. Then see how your answers compare with results of a nationally representative poll of 4,272 randomly selected U.S. adults, conducted June 3 to June 17, 2019, using Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel. When you finish, you will be able to compare your score with other Americans who took the quiz and see the correct answer for each question.

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