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Covid-era vocabulary


Language is a product of its time, a summation of a particular culture. And since we live in what are undoubtedly interesting times, when human consciousness is being defined or re-defined by the common experience of dealing with a pandemic and being cooped up at home, the language of today’s times has also evolved.


Keep your vocabulary up-to-date with this short Covid-era dictionary.



(adj.) /ˈerˌbôrn/

• transported by air

Ex. Some experts say the virus is not airborne.


(n.) /ˈerəˌsôl/

• particles, usually colloids, suspended in air

Ex. The virus is an aerosol.


(adj.) /æˌsɪmptəˈmætɪk/

• not exhibiting signs or symptoms of being infected

Ex. Many of us are probably carriers of the virus by now but remain asymptomatic.



(n.) /ba.jɐˈnɪ.han/

• a Filipino custom referring to the spirit of communal unity, or working together toward a common goal

• helping one another, particularly by encouraging people to stay at home, making PPEs for frontliners or sending relief goods to those who need them most

Ex. Bayanihan is alive in many towns and cities today.


(n.) /ˈbəb(ə)l/

• a fabricated reality sustained by one’s refusal to acknowledge what is really happening

• See also: privilege

Ex. People who insist on going out despite the risks it poses to others live in a bubble.



(n.) /kəˈrəʊnə ˈbeɪbi/

• babies born during this pandemic; they usually wear face masks or face shields while in the hospital

Ex. Some of the first coronababies born in this pandemic had been given names like Covidia and Corona.


(n.) /ˈkoʊ.vɪdˌfɔː(r)ˈtiːn/

• a version of the ongoing pandemic, coined by one female politician

Ex. “Ako po si —— na nagsasabi po sa ating lahat na sama-sama, tulong-tulong laban po sa Covid-14.” (I am —— calling on everyone to come together and help fight Covid-14)



(n.) /dalg on a/

• the quarantine person’s favorite coffee; of Korean or Hangul origins

Ex. I made Dalgona coffee and posted it on my Instagram.



(n.) /é nu mān/

– drinking night with friends through video chat

Ex. We scheduled an e-numan session tonight via Zoom.


(n., acronym) /e c q/

• short for enhanced community quarantine

• a state of things when an entire community is put on a lockdown for health reasons, i.e. to contain the spread of a virus

Ex. President Duterte put the whole of Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine.


(n., acronym) /e e c q/

• short for extended enhanced community quarantine

• also, extreme enhanced community quarantine

• See also: ECQ

Ex. If all goes well, the EECQ is expected to end on April 30.


flatten the curve

(phrase) /ˈflæt(ə)n – ðə – kɜː(r)v/

• the goal of everybody in this Covid-era to buy us time to combat the virus

• a call to action enjoining everyone to help stem the spread of Covid-19 by staying home, wearing a mask, disinfecting everything, etc. to stem the spread of the virus

Ex. People are asked to stay at home to help flatten the curve.


(n.) /frʌnt ˈlaɪn er/

• a person directly involved in the fight against Covid-19

• usually health workers, medical practitioners, grocery and delivery staff, security personnel, also the military and police, social and religious workers

• plural: frontliners

Ex. Every night, at 7 p.m., the people of New York express their gratitude to their city’s frontliners by clapping their hands.



(n.) /ˈkit/

• a variation of coronavirus testing kits

Ex. The kit.


(n.) /korn-bip-ˈnaɪn.tiːn/

• proof of how a lot of people didn’t have enough access to information about Covid-19 before it became a pandemic

• also: title of a short film

Ex. “Sabi nga may Kornbip-19.” (They say there is Kornbip-19)



(n.) /ˈpriv(ə)lij/

• a limited view of the world

• See also: bubble

Ex. Check your privilege.


(n., acronym) /p p e/

• short for personal protective equipment; plural: PPEs

• necessary gear for frontliners, esp. health workers, to be able to safely fulfill their duties

Ex. Fashion designers have been contributing by making non-medical grade PPEs.


(n., acronym) /p u i/

• short for person under investigation; plural: PUIs

• a person exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms, has a history of exposure to Covid-19, or has traveled in the past 14 days in travel restricted areas

• requires hospital admission

Ex. “The PUIs manifested sore throat, cough, and fever, and all have been tested for Covid-19.”


(n., acronym) /p u m/

• short for person under monitoring; plural: PUMs

• a person not showing symptoms of Covid-19, but has a travel history to areas with travel restrictions or contact with the infected

• does not require hospital admission but needs a 14-day quarantine

Ex. There are no new PUMs identified in the city.




(n.) /ˈkwɒrənθɪŋs/

• things to do while on quarantine

Ex. One of the quaranthings I learned today is how to make Dalgona coffee.


(adj.) /ˈkwɒrəntoʊnd/

• remaining physically fit while on quarantine, usu. through home bodyweight exercises

• not losing those gym gains while on quarantine

Ex. I keep quarantoned by working out every morning at home.


social distancing

(n.) /ˈsəʊʃ(ə)l ‘dɪstənsɪŋ/

• a practice of keeping a greater distance, usu. one meter, than ordinary from other people to avoid contracting or infecting others with Covid-19

• variation: sosyal distancing, i.e. missing life before Covid, when one could attend parties and socialize

Ex. In market places, it’s quite difficult to practice social distancing.



(n.) /zuːm/

• one of the most popular apps today, used for meetings in work-from-home situations

• also used for e-numans

Ex. Download Zoom so you can join our meeting tomorrow.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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