Are These COVID-19 Words The Worst To Come Out Of The Pandemic?

What a year 2020 has been—and it’s not even over yet! With any new global event, new words tend to pop up, for better or worse, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.

We know many of the world’s greatest debates are held forth, of course, on Twitter. What color was that dress: blue or gold? (Definitely blue.) After watching Tiger King, did you realize that you had a Carole Baskin in your life? So naturally, we looked to the Twitterverse for the words coined during this pandemic that have made them cringe.

Here are all the new words people told us they most hated seeing on their feed the most in 2020, so far:


Twitter user @Lemonhausen offered up plandemic as his “worst coinage” of 2020.

The word pandemic is not a new word; it is first recorded in the late 1660s. But today, the word pandemic has spread in our everyday vocabularies like never before.

The coinage plandemic, a blend of plan and pandemic, took off with the emergence of a conspiracy theory video that claimed COVID-19 is a planned and pre-arranged pandemic (hence plandemic) for pharmaceutical companies to make money.

According to a New York Times article, the video has since been debunked and cited for spreading false information, but the term plandemic has stuck around.


What do you call a farmer’s child who is going through a teenage phase? No, no—cornteen is not a punchline to our admittedly corny jokes.

@EpixdaPenguin suggested cornteen as some pandemic wordplay that just gets under their skin. This international misspelling of quarantine was used to bring humor to regional accents. It has also occasionally been substituted with a 🌽.


Rona is short for, you guessed it, coronavirus.

For @Elle_Sandes, the word brings other things to mind, such as hemorrhoids. (Also painful.) But for @ashbychrist, a musical tune comes to mind, and we are sure that you will be humming along to this rendition of “My Sharona” after today.

While the medical term coronavirus has been around since the 1960s, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19 was discovered in late 2019. Shortening the word coronavirus to corona and then rona made it easier to say—and a way for us all to create some comic relief out of the unprecedented upheaval of the pandemic. For example, “Phil got the rona, and now he has to quarantine for 14 days.”

The word rona has become so popular that we added it, among others, to the dictionary.


From what we heard from users, if a person is an idiot about various aspects of COVID19, they are, well, a covidiot. This blend has been used by some folks to slam people who are not washing their hands, are standing too close together in public, or are wearing their mask on their chin.

While covidiot was ripe for social media (appearing in 86,000 Instagram posts alone), not everyone is so fond of it. As Twitter user @ALazyJellyfish said: “Covidiot. It’s unhelpful and it’s not even clever. It implies that the person called this is just an idiot about COVID-19 when it’s likely they’re an idiot about most other things as well. Just call them idiots.”


Anti-ma is variously short for “anti-mask,” “anti-masking,” or “anti-masker,” and refers to those who refuse to wear a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. @Beaches_1989 offered up this term as their pandemic peeve over their frustration at seeing people out and about mask-less.

Anti-ma has been compared to the word Antifa, but for masks.  While the word might not be bad in itself, according to @Areli_RLE, those who refuse to cover up are “the worst.”


When restaurants and bars closed early-on in the pandemic, folks got creative and became their own mixologists. Shaken, stirred, or just straight up, quarantini is a blend on quarantine and martini, served up for those shelter-in-place cocktail parties.

@Kitduggan_ thinks the word quarantini is one of the worst coinages he has heard during the pandemic. But, @cindymoon_616 and @ohnoitsem_  were quick to point out that the word has actually been around for much longer, and has appeared in the popular hospital sitcom, Scrubs.


No, it’s not another branch of the A-Team: it’s another bit of quarantine wordplay. A combination of quarantine and team, quaranteam is a word people are using for the “pod” or “bubble” they’ve formed with friends or family under while hunkering down. @AflockaSeigles suggested this coinage to us, implying quaranteam is anything but a dream.

Although the term sounds like a cringe-worthy name for an amateur softball team, quarantining with your “quaranteam” can have its ups and downs. Unfortunately, one of the many downsides to living the quaranteam life is that your world starts to look like a Big Brother TV show, just without the fame.


Many of us have been wearing masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and all that mask-wearing has led to some new challenges—and words.

According to our slang experts, “maskne” is acne or other skin irritation that results from wearing a mask, especially a medical, N95, or cloth face mask. The condition mostly affects frontline workers who have to wear face-coverings for extended periods.

But some have a different problem with maskne: confusion over its pronunciation. @Polomex observed: “Maskne. It just sounds…. weird. I think it’s because the k in ‘kn’ words is always silent.” And here we thought that we had left that behind along with our high school days that were filled with acne and Trapper Keepers.

WATCH: Suspicious Slang Your Kids Are Using


Glutton for punishment? Check out our slideshow, “New Words We Created Because Of Coronavirus,” for even more corona-coinages.

We want to hear from you! Let us know which word do you think has been the worst?

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