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The Institut für Deutsche Sprache has been compiling a list of "Neuer Wortschatz rund um die Coronapandemie" (New Vocabulary about the Corona Pandemic). German morphology and orthography being as they are, these are mostly new pandemic-related compounds.

The list and its compilation are documented by Abby Young-Powell, "Coronaangst ridden? Overzoomed? Covid inspires 1,200 new German words", The Guardian 2/23/2021:

From coronamüde (tired of Covid-19) to Coronafrisur (corona hairstyle), a German project is documenting the huge number of new words coined in the last year as the language races to keep up with lives radically changed by the pandemic.

Some of the words on the IDS list are actually borrowings from English, like "overzoomed" or "homeworker" or "Take-home-Exam"; a few others contain English bits with German morphological additions, like "gelockdownt"; and some are phrases written with internal spaces (as German orthographic conventions dictate), like "nationale Gesundheitsreserve" and "virtuelles Klassenzimmer". But as I said, most are regular German compound words, written solid.

There are some pandemic-related English coinages written solid: mostly blends like covidiot and quarantini. But English orthographic conventions mean that most of our analogous compounds, like social distanced and zoom fatigue,  have internal spaces and are thus not so intuitively new "words". Still, someone is probably collecting them, and no doubt we'll learn about such efforts in the comments.

Update — I hereby adopt Julian Hook's proposed term: covidioms.


  1. Robert Coren said,

    February 25, 2021 @ 10:19 am

    "gelockdownt" reminds me of the group of hippies I spent an afternoon with in Munich in 1970, one of who described the state of his girlfriend as "gestoned" (/gɛˑʃtond/).

  2. cameron said,

    February 25, 2021 @ 11:15 am

    It's a bit disappointing that "lockdown" didn't enter German as a new verb with separable prefix downlocken. But they borrowed the English noun as an already solidified unit, and didn't borrow phrases like "lock it down", or "it was locked down".

  3. Peter Grubtal said,

    February 25, 2021 @ 11:16 am

    The list is not completely comprehensive: I couldn't find "Präzenzunterricht" (seen yesterday in an official context), although "Präzenzveranstaltung" is there.

    Some of them are used ironically : I hadn't come across "Abstandsbier", although I've had a couple.
    There are some amusing Wortspiele with "Abstand": seen on a sign where the spaced-out queue is supposed to be formed outside a (bread-)shop: "unsere Kunden sind mit Abstand die Besten".

    Written without spaces are usually noun+noun, sometimes with an interposed "s". Adj+noun is usually spaced, and the adj. is inflected.

  4. OvV said,

    February 25, 2021 @ 11:17 am

    Also in the Dutch language sphere several new words are emerging.
    Of course, mostly English, like lockdown, Outbreak Management Team, etcetera.
    Probably the most notable Dutch word is "wappie".
    This is not a new word, but it circulates a lot lately.
    It means approximately: someone who behaves like an idiot and is denying the existence of the covid-19 virus or the effectiveness of measurements, something like that.
    Many more new Dutch words and people collecting them can be found by searching in e.g. google for:
    covid-19 nieuwe woorden
    I got more than 3.5 million search hits from this phrase.
    "Hoestschaamte" (/hustsχaːmtɘ/ being ashamed to cough) is another notable new Dutch covid-19 related word.

  5. KeithB said,

    February 25, 2021 @ 11:22 am

    Ovv said:

    I have needed a word for this!

  6. Julian Hook said,

    February 25, 2021 @ 8:37 pm

    Perhaps these new coinages are covidioms.

  7. Randy Hudson said,

    February 26, 2021 @ 10:56 pm

    Many of the electronic message signs along Massachusetts highways around Boston carry the message "Social distance and wear your mask". The construct clearly marks "social distance" as an imperative verb phrase, a back formation from "social distancing" which I don't recall seeing before.

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