New Words We Created Because Of Coronavirus

We’re halfway into 2020, and the coronavirus pandemic continues to expand our vocabularies.?

It feels like years (not months) ago that we learned our first COVID-19 terms, like social distancing and flatten the curve. We had to process so much, in so little time; we had to become experts about important differences: epidemic vs. pandemic, quarantine vs. isolation, and respirator vs. ventilators. The conversation continues with?contagious vs. infectious?and what antibodies do. Here we are, in the summer of our sequestration, and the new words and concepts keep coming.

New vocabulary has, to be sure, helped us stay safe and informed during these scary times. But in times of challenge, we need relief, too. And what better way than some wordplay to bring some welcome humor, and humility, to cope with COVID-19 and quarantines.

Here’s our ongoing roundup of some of the new slang terms born of this unique, unprecedented time in modern life—a time of upheaval that some more jokingly call the coronapocalypse (corona apocalypse) or coronageddon (corona armageddon).

WATCH: Words That The Internet Has Changed


Rona—often in the phrase the rona—is an informal shortening of coronavirus. Coronavirus is popularly shortened to corona, which was apparently further clipped to rona.

Rona is often used as a playful or ironic way to refer to COVID-19, especially when commenting on more relatable, humorous challenges of social distancing during the pandemic.

It is generally not meant, however, to be flippant about the very serious loss and disruption COVID-19 has wreaked—nor diminish the life-saving service of so many essential workers, from grocery clerks to nurses. It's a bit of gallows humor.

Some people have personified the virus as Miss Rona or Aunt Rona. And la rona (meant as "the rona") has emerged in some Spanish-language contexts.

Example: Yeah, I don’t know about you, but homeschooling my kids during the rona ends up in a lot of Frozen 2.


Cornteen is an intentional misspelling of quarantine, often used in ironic commentary on what it's like to be at home during the coronavirus pandemic. It may have originated as an actual misspelling of quarantine. (Hey, quarantine wasn’t exactly a word most of us used every day until COVID-19.)?

Cornteen is occasionally used to joke about how quarantine is pronounced in various regional accents. Some people visually pun on cornteen by substituting the corn emoji, ??, for the corn- part of the word; others pun on the -teen to mean “teenager.”


Life under the rona has meant that it’s even harder to peel our eyes away from our phones and computers, constantly refreshing our feeds for the latest news about the pandemic.

At least there’s a word for that: doom-scrolling, also?doomscrolling. The term has been notably used—and popularized in part by her exhortations to a take a break from doing it—by Quartz reporter Karen K. Ho.

Scrolling refers to scrolling down on our smartphones for the latest posts on social media. And doom … well, a lot of the news we’re seeing online feels full of gloom and doom.

Example: I was up to 2 a.m. last night doom-scrolling about coronavirus news in my state.

A related slang term is?doomsurfing, or compulsively surfing the internet for upsetting news.


Staying up late, again? Waking up at 4am to doom-scroll? Can't remember your last good night of sleep? You're not the only one. The term coronasomnia refers to—what else?—the insomnia that's afflicting so many of us during the pandemic.

Doctors and pharmacists have seen a measurable increase in the number of people suffering symptoms of insomnia or whose symptoms have worsened since the quarantine began. Some estimates suggest some 20 to 30 percent of the population—including children—may be impacted.

One doctor coined the term "FED UP" to describe the worries of this stressful time. It stands for "financial stress, emotional stress, distance from others, unpredictability, and personal and professional concerns." Yikes. Sounds like that's another term for the dictionary.


A blend of COVID-19 and idiot, covidiot is a slang insult for someone who disregards healthy and safety guidelines about the novel coronavirus.

Some signs of covidiocy are: not washing your hands regularly, hanging out in groups of people, standing within six feet of a stranger at the grocery, hoarding items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer all to yourself.

Example: Don’t be a covidiot by visiting the beach today! It’s super crowded.


The (very limited) group of people you see during self-isolation; one of the many slang terms that plays on quarantine.

Whether you call it a germ pod, a COVID bubble, or your quaranteam, this is the group of people you voluntarily choose to socialize with or even live with during the quarantine. Basically, your pod chooses to isolate together, promising not to have close contact (within six feet) with anyone outside the pod. This form of contact clustering (yet another term used by epidemiologists to describe the situation) allows you to socialize while also staying safe.?

Quaranteam is a blend of quarantine and team, and?sounds like quarantine—it's a punning blend, as we've seen throughout this slideshow

Example: Our quaranteam is going camping next weekend. We’re tired of all the binge-watching and baking.?


Another term for a covidiot. The wordplay, here, centers on the word moron.

Example: My roommate is being such a moronavirus. He went down to the beach with a huge group of friends.

Calling someone a covidiot or moronavirus is a form of quarantine shaming. That’s slang for publicly criticizing someone for now following health and safety guidelines (quarantine being a shorthand for policies in place requiring people to stay at home except where necessary in many places across the country and world).


How do you take your quarantini? Dirty, dry? Shaken, stirred? Vodka, gin?

Quarantini is a slang term for a cocktail people drink at home while under quarantine during—and because of—the coronavirus.

The term is a blend of quarantine and martini, a cocktail made with gin or vodka and dry vermouth, usually served with a green olive or a twist of lemon peel.

The original quarantini referred to a martini-like cocktail mixed with vitamin C-based dietary supplements—a concoction that predates the novel coronavirus.

Quarantini has spread as a more general term for alcoholic beverages consumed at home during the pandemic.

Example: Frozen pizza in the oven? Paw Patrol queued up? Think it’s time for a quarantini.


The margarita answer to a quarantini—served with, what else, a Corona-brand beer.

A margarita is a cocktail made of tequila, lime or lemon juice, and an orange-flavored liqueur, usually served in a salt-rimmed glass.

virtual happy hour

When someone might drink a quarantini or coronarita.

Because many people are working from home to help, they are letting off steam at the end of a long day of doom-scrolling by holding virtual happy hours over Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and other video conferencing or chat applications.

Happy hour is a cocktail hour or longer period at a bar, during which drinks are served at reduced prices or with free snacks. It’s also used as a shorthand for drinks, generally with colleagues or friends, at the end of the workday, especially near the end of the work week.


When you want to take your quarantini or coronita outside on a walk (not that we’re condoning that), then you’d have a walktail.?

With so many quarantining at home with nothing to do—and nowhere to drink with the bars closed—some people have taken to swigging while sauntering, according to a New York Times article that identified this new trend. A walktail combines the words walk and cocktail, and bar owners are reporting increased alcohol to-go sales as a result. People are drinking and walking their neighborhoods, walking their pets, or just hosting happy hours in the backyard.?

Now, readers, do keep in mind: almost everywhere in the US it's illegal to carry an “open container,” so most people disguise their walktails in discreet containers. Or you can also go bold, like the woman who dressed up in her bridal gown to dance in the street.?


This one’s a more serious entry.? When using Zoom or similar services, be wary of zoom-bombing. This is when uninvited guests to a virtual meeting disrupt it with various obscene, violent, or offensive images or words.

Bombing, here, is based on photobombing, or when people ruin a photograph by appearing in the image without the photographer’s knowledge, often in some dramatic or comical way.

Zoom mom

A demographic of moms who are constantly using Zoom.

They used to be called soccer moms, but COVID-19 changed that. Now, these so-called ?zoom moms are described as?spending a lot of time using Zoom for work, their children’s schooling, or simply to chat with their friends who are also stuck at home. In a May 22 article, zoom moms were identified as a potentially powerful voting bloc that could influence the coming 2020 elections.

Example: If the updated back to school plans aren’t released soon, the zoom moms may revolt.

Zoom town

A place where housing sales are booming due to buyers who work remotely and are willing to live farther from the office. ?

Example: The realtor convinced us to look at several homes in a nearby Zoom town, and I couldn’t help but imagine an idyllic life in the suburbs—complete with backyard barbecues and a two-car garage.?

Competition for homes in Zoom towns in?suburbs and areas surrounding city centers?is heating up as workers embrace remote work and ditch their commutes. Prices in these areas are often lower than in tighter?urban markets. Zoom town is a play on Zoom (which of course, can also mean "to move quickly") and?boom town, a noun meaning “a town that has grown very rapidly as a result of sudden prosperity.”

quarantine and chill

Netflix and chill, but for the coronavirus era.

Quarantine and chill is used for various ways people are hunkering down and spending free time at home during the coronavirus, especially with a romantic partner while marathoning streaming services.

Be careful when you search for quarantine and chill on social media, though: some people use the phrase when posting revealing selfies.

Example: My hubby and I are in an epic tournament of Rummy 500. Winner each night gets to pick the movie. #Quarantineandchill

coronials, quaranteens, coronababies

When two people get really cozy while quarantine-and-chilling, they may, you know …

Babies being conceived while people are cooped up at home during the coronavirus have been dubbed coronababies. And when these babies get older, they will become the quaranteens, a pun on quarantine and teen(ager).

The hypothetical new generation of children conceived during COVID-19 has cleverly been crowned the coronials, a play on corona(virus) and millennials.


The experience for other couples under COVID-19 quarantine may not be so snuggly. Being in extended isolation with loved ones can strain a relationship.

Enter covidivorce, or divorces filed as a result of a couple’s experience during COVID-19.


The experience of COVID-19 isn't just taxing on couples who live together. People who are dating are also reconsidering their relationships during the pandemic—and sometimes zumping each other.

A blend of dump and Zoom (the popular video service), zumping is when you break up with someone over a video conferencing service. At least they didn't just text? (Hey, you can do better, anyways).

turbo relationship

While some people are breaking up over Zoom due to quarantining, sheltering in place means others are turbocharging their relationship.

The quarantine required couples to face a tough choice: break up or, er, shack up. According to some therapists, many couples who sped up the traditional courtship to live together during these conditions are reporting positive relationships and strong levels of commitment.?

Turbo ultimately derives from a Latin word meaning “whirlwind”—and turbo relationships may certainly get people’s minds, and hearts, spinning?


For some, quarantining at home during COVID-19 may result in a less movement—and more snacking—than they are used to.

COVID-10, also referred to as the COVID-15 or even the COVID-19, is a riff on the numerals of COVID-19 and the freshman 15, an expression for the weight some people (are said to) gain during their first year of college. (Hey, gotta stock up on some supplies to help flatten the curve. And gotta take up delicious hobbies up to stay engaged!)

See also the German Coronaspeck, weight gained during the coronavirus pandemic, a play on Kummerspeck, or weight gained as a result of emotional eating.


Coronavirus-compelled staycations, due to cancelled classes, shifts, and the like. It’s usually an ironic term—just ask parents working from home while teaching their kids.

Example: My teen thinks he’s getting a coronacation since his school has moved online. Oh, wait until he sees how I am going to keep him busy with’s Learning At Home resources.

While you're on that coronacation, keep the spirit going with a summery, vacation-inspired spelling quiz.

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