So 'tiered' of the Covid lingo | Nicola Adam column

If Covid-dominated 2020 will be remembered for anything (okay, there’s a few things) it will be the year when our collective vocabulary took a turn for the bizarre.

Saturday, 28th November 2020, 12:30 pm

While officially the Collins dictionary word of the year is ‘lockdown’, there are many other phrases that would have been better remaining locked down themselves in the bowels of a thesaurus.

It’s hard to believe that in January not one of us, apart from perhaps a few reporters on location in remote parts of China, had ever muttered the word coronavirus. Yet here it is, inured in our collective consciousness along with Brexit and that chocolate orange we ate last Christmas which is still hanging around our midriff.

Now we can play an elaborate game of 2020 coronavirus bingo with words and phrases that entered our lives around March and have been uttered so many times that they are, as standard, accompanied by a mass eye-rolling and a level of exhaustion usually only mustered by those following Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

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Covid words have dominated 2020. Pic: Covid-testing site at Walton-le-dale

First up on the 2020 lexicon of shame is of course Covid, rapidly followed by phrase ‘stay safe’, ‘pivot’ and of course ‘social distancing.’

Over-used to the point of being worn out is of course ‘unprecedented’ which is absolutely the least unprecedented word in history - this year at least.

Words we all knew perfectly well but rarely had a chance to use when having a ‘two metre rule’ chat across the fence with a neighbour include ‘pandemic’ itself and ‘antibody,’ though arguably it makes a change from talking about the weather.

Everybody, even my 10-year-old niece, now talk confidently about ‘contact tracing’ and ‘herd immunity’ as if they all have chemistry and biology degrees. In fact the way she drops PPE into a ‘Zoom’ chat you would think she has a Phd.

Practically everybody we know has had to ‘self isolate’ at some point, we all know what WFH stands for, and 2020 has also gifted us ‘masks’. How we used to laugh at those Japanese tourists..

Thanks 2020, you’ve been an unprecedented coronadose of pivot - and now we are 'tiered'. Bingo.

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