New Words We Created Because Of Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has quickly expanded our vocabularies. We’ve learned new terms, like COVID-19, social distancing, and flatten the curve. We’ve learned important distinctions, such as epidemic vs. pandemic, quarantine vs. isolation, and respirator vs. ventilators.

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 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).


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

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).


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.

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