Amidst the gloom and doom, the COVID-19 pandemic is giving rise to new feelings and experiences for Indians and roughly a third of the world’s population currently confined to their homes under some form of lockdown. Words for these do not exist today in English. Here are some hopefully helpful proposals for new coinages with usage selectively illustrated:
pandemfreude noun furtive smugness from observing rich Western societies, especially the United States, struggle to cope with the pandemic. Usage: Lest they be accused of callousness, they concealed their pandemfreude on seeing the news that nurses at a New York hospital were resorting to wearing garbage bags due to the lack of protective gowns.
lockazon noun condition where a high proportion of the world’s population voluntarily accepts effective house arrest and interacts with the rest of the world largely via Amazon.
covit verb make meaningless promises related to tackling the pandemic that have little likelihood of being kept. Usage: Ignoring expert advice, President Trump covitted that the country would get back to normal by Easter.
NOMOFOMO noun (informal) serenity arising from the fact that near-universal lockdowns guarantee that nothing interesting or exciting is happening anywhere and no one else is having a better time; often reinforced by social-media video posts of people at home twerking against their ovens.
coronavirtuous noun making a show of being morally superior and sanctimonious compared to other people in meticulously adhering to self-isolation and social-distancing norms, repeatedly sanitising, wearing masks, and staying up to date with any new government directives.
selfiemic noun severe mental trauma experienced by fashionistas and social media influencers who are no longer able to maintain the facade of having an extraordinarily glamorous lifestyle and are reduced to sharing video posts of themselves twerking against their ovens at home.
textwhack noun message from someone you barely know or have not been in touch with for years, expressing concern over your health amidst the pandemic; typically ends with a gratuitous ‘stay safe’ or ‘praying for you’. Usage: Panic welled up in her as she deliberated upon how to respond to the cringeworthy textwhack from her ex.
tinderfrust noun intense irritation felt by users on online dating platforms thwarted from progressing highly promising dating opportunities due to isolation and social-distancing measures. Usage: In his tinderfrust, he binged on samosas and craft gin at home.
quantuminfect verb act as if everyone is simultaneously infected (and, hence, subject to social distancing and isolation) and never infected (and, hence, not immune); prevalent when testing for the coronavirus is not reliable or widespread. cf. schrodingervirus noun
vicarivirus adjective experienced in the imagination from being part of a dangerous global fight against an invisible enemy while securely isolating in your pyjamas. Usage: A vicarivirus thrill ran up her spine as she put on a mask and gloves to carefully wipe down the box in which the pizza was delivered.
pandepic noun excitement at being a bit player in a world-historic event that is certain to be made into a dystopian Hollywood blockbuster by Sam Mendes.
medipulate verb exploit health statistics and news to generate widespread alarm over the rapid spread of infection to secure acceptance of unprecedented restrictions on civil liberties.
doomtrim noun self-haircut, typically bad, done at home due to lockdowns closing barber shops and hair salons. Usage: In sheer desperation, he gave himself a doomtrim with the help of a YouTube tutorial. cf. dis-tress noun.
voluntitch noun sporadic urge to sign up to volunteer on local initiatives to tackle the pandemic which disappears immediately upon the release of the next episode of Casa de Papel.
pandeficate verb use home confinement to read everything pandemic-related on the internet and set oneself up as a
medical authority on social-media platforms.
mememonger 1. verb self-importantly forward every news item and video clip, however irrelevant or misleading, on social media. Usage: They threatened to block Nani if she continued to mememonger them with videos of miracle cures for the coronavirus. 2. noun person who relentlessly forwards items on social media to every contact as if they were the first and only source of dissemination.
watchboard verb to repeatedly subject those in lockdown confinement to a flood of pointless and humourless memes, many recycled. cf. guantamemo noun
zoombomb verb inadvertently walk into someone’s video frame while they are on a work-related video conference or media interview while isolating.
spantop adjective (of fashion) devoted to appearing professional and businesslike solely above the chest on work-related video conferences while isolating.
videogle verb gawk at someone’s domestic set-up while they are on a videoconference from home. Usage: The two associates videogled the art on the wall of their manager’s study rather than pay attention to the hypothesis that he wanted researched.
despera-do noun party or social gathering held virtually over video-conferencing apps. cf. covmingle verb.
The author is a private equity investor with time hanging heavily on his hands