What is your least favourite pandemic phrase? Is it “pingdemic” or “new normal”? “Super spreader” or “unprecedented”? The last eighteen months have seen a dictionary’s worth of pandemic jargon added to our vocabularies. 

In the absence of physical interaction as our lives moved online for much of the last year and a half, language became more important than ever and new vocabulary helped us to make sense of the world. Phrases such as “I’ve been pinged”, “plandemic”, “let’s meet on Zoom” and “are you social distancing?” would once have sounded completely alien, but are now frequent in conversation. Some of these expressions might be looked back on whimsically in years to come, but the language used throughout the pandemic hasn’t always been helpful.