Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Social Distancing? Quarantini? Faceism?


Hard to believe it’s almost the end of the year. Pretty soon it’ll be January and time for various organizations to decide on the word/phrase of the year. The words they choose don’t have to be new words, but ones that reflect what happened during that year.

In a post awhile back, I talked about how the American Dialect Society selects its word. It’s done at their annual conference in January. Sadly, the 2021 conference has been cancelled due to Covid, but they’re looking into remote meetings. We’ll have to see what they come up with.

These are the words that various organizations chose for 2019:

American Dialect Society – “(my) pronouns”. Their Word of the Decade is “they”.

Merriam-Webster – “they”

Oxford – “climate emergency” – “existential”

Here are some possibilities I came up with for 2020:

social distancing/physical distancing – I don’t remember hearing either of these phrases before 2020 so I think either/both of them are good candidates.

self-quarantining – Lots of people have been doing this.

quarantini – A drink you drink during lockdown. I’ve also heard it used as a description of a get-together with friends via video-conferencing instead of at a bar.

Covid-19 – One strain of the coronavirus. Yeah, it describes this year all right, but let’s come up with something better.

faceism – When we make quick, unfair judgments about people we don’t even know based on seeing their face. I’ve been hearing this a lot recently.

Covid fatigue/pandemic fatigue – Tired of being cooped up. Tired of being careful. Tired of being scared.

safer at home – At the beginning of all this, we were told we’re not “sheltering in place”, we’re just “safer at home”.

quarrulent logorrhea – I added this one after reading Thomas’ post on Monday.

There’s still a couple months left in the year so who knows what new words/phrases will pop up. Perhaps we’ll have another “pregnant chad” situation and some new election phrase will come into vogue.

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the election until now. I wrote this before the polls closed in the U.S., before the results were known. Heck, maybe we don’t even know the results yet given the large number of mail-in ballots.

When the various organizations select their words, we’ll have to see if they chose one of these or selected something else. I rather like “social distancing” myself.

What about you? Any other words/phrases that describe 2020? What has your vote?


Anonymous said...

What about "pivot"?

Sybil Johnson said...

Interesting choice. Why 'pivot'?

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is a local thing (I'm in Ottawa, Canada) but I keep hearing about restaurants pivoting to offer take-out options or make-it-yourself kits for home use (because dine-in is not allowed) or distilleries pivoting to manufacture hand sanitizer instead of vodka.

Sybil Johnson said...

Ah I see. Restaurants in the U. S. Are doing the same thing. Just never heard pivot used when they talk about it on the news. Pivot should be a candidate.