Don't be a covidiot

Updated: Apr 16, 2020, 09:04 IST | Prachi Sibal | Mumbai

As the pandemic becomes a global talking point, a whole new vocabulary is altering the way we speak. Here's a glossary to help you navigate the gyaan

A man in a face mask walks past graffiti in Matunga on March 31. Pic/Shadab Khan
A man in a face mask walks past graffiti in Matunga on March 31. Pic/Shadab Khan

We are living in a new world with new norms. It is then expected that it will come with its own vocabulary. Our conversations and social media are abounding with words and phrases we haven't used before. Millennial speak has also adapted itself to the current circumstances through tweaked older terms. So, "Netflix and chill" becomes "Quarantine and chill" while meet me outside receives the lockdown-appropriate rehash of "meet me on the app". Here's how to make better sense of the terminology.

Lockdown: This one is a no-brainer and refers to restrictions placed on movement worldwide to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Usage: Avoid stepping outside during the lockdown.

Mumbaikars maintain social distancing. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Mumbaikars maintain social distancing. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Social distancing: A term, that has been widespread in these times and made its way to the Prime Minister's speech is the act of keeping physical distance to avoid contact spread of the virus. The WHO, however prefers the term "physical distancing".
Usage: At the neighbourhood grocery store, everyone stood six metres apart in line with social distancing protocols.

Self-isolation or self-quarantine: While strictly the two terms "isolation" and "quarantine" differ in meaning, they have seen popular interchangeable usage in urban interactions and on social media. Isolation is for people who are sick, quarantine, on the other hand, is restricted movement of those who may have been in contact with the virus but don't display symptoms.
Usage: I am in self-quarantine; would you like to join me for a game of Ludo online?

Mumbai Police punishes covidiots. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Mumbai Police punishes covidiots. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Quarantini: So you are feeling the isolation blues? Dish out ingredients from the kitchen, muddle them with your favourite alcohol and you've got a Quarantini. Basically, it refers to any cocktail recipe created during the lockdown with what is easily available to you
Usage: Throw in some lemon peel, a sprig of thyme into a glass of gin and soda; you've got yourself a Quarantini.

Quaran-tune: Whether it is songs by the name or playlists, "quarant-tune" has received its share of social media appropriation. Shruti Hassan recently put out a medley of yesteryears' songs using it as a title and music-streaming app Spotify has playlists dedicated to it.
Usage: Indian Ocean has released a new song. It is going to be my quaran-tune.

A Quarantini
A Quarantini

Quarantweens: A popular hashtag, especially on TikTok, this term is for teens in quarantine exploring new activities indoors.
Usage: Riverdale has a new season, now I'm ready to quarantween and chill.

Covidiot: This, now widely used term, refers to an individual deliberately flouting lockdown norms to be outside and gather in groups. It has also been used for those hoarding essentials (read toilet paper) during the pandemic.
Usage: Don't be a covidiot and head out for a morning jog.

Covideo party: As social gatherings remain a distant dream, people have found ways to maintain a social life while keeping to the new norms. Whether it is through the popular Zoom app or party games, Covideo parties are quite the rage.
Usage: Meet me at the Covideo party tonight; the dress code is blue and white.

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