Disclaimer: This quiz is designed for a bit of fun and please note that I do not suggest learning this complete list of words. However, for obvious reasons, the words included in this quiz which are related to Covid-19 are key terms in daily use and also worth teaching to students of English at higher levels. The majority of new words on this list have been added by Oxford English dictionary, Cambridge English dictionary and Collins English dictionary while a couple are from the Urban Dictionary of Slang.
New Words Related to the Pandemic
Coronavirus is a group of viruses that affect the respiratory tract. Covid-19 is the strain of the coronavirus that caused a pandemic in 2020.
A keyworker a person whose work is essential to the rest of society such as doctors, police, teachers, etc. As these jobs are essential to society, key workers continue working during lockdowns.
A lockdown is the restriction of movement by the government in order to stop or slow down the spread of a disease. During lockdowns people are not allowed to go to work, to meet friends or leave the house or travel.
To self-isolate or go into self-isolation means that a person decides to stay away from other people because they might spread a disease or sickness.
To be on furlough is a temporary situation when an employee does not work, does not get paid, but still keeps their job or position with a company.
Social distancing is leaving 1.5m to 2m of space between people to avoid spreading diseases and sicknesses such as Covid-19.
To zoom, to have a zoom session or to zoom someone is to have an online session, meeting or an online lesson, generally with the Zoom app.
New Words from Social Media and the Internet
Amirite is a new way to write the expression, ‘Am I right?’.
A tiktoker is a person who makes and shares videos on a social media platform called TikTok.
A Karen is white privileged woman who complains a lot and is often racist. To be honest, this word has not been included in any dictionary other than the dictionary of urban slang. However, there are so many viral videos of Karens circulating on the internet, that it would be impossible to leave it out of this list of new words in 2020!
A mukbang is a video of a person eating extremely large plates of food. This is a huge trend particularly in countries such as America and Korea. We have to admit that it’s wonderful to have a specific word for this as saying, ‘one of those videos in which people eat huge quantities of food’ is really too long when the one word mukbang can say it all!
Shticky means a funny routine or gimmick. Shticky is also sometimes spelt as schticky.
New Words from Social Movements
A climate emergency is the need for immediate action to slow down and stop climate change.
BLM is an acronym for Black Lives Matter – a social movement fighting against the oppression of black people. However, the acronym also stands for many other things including Bureau of Land Management and Be Like ME. You can see the full list here.
A freegan only eats free food (such as food that is thrown away by supermarkets). They are also sometimes known as dumpster divers as they often get their food from the dumpsters (large waste bins) belonging to supermarkets.
A hothouse is a place or situation that provides a welcoming space or conditions for the development of new ideas and innovation. The word hothouse is not a new word in itself as it can also be used to mean a greenhouse (an indoor growing area for plants).
Other Rather Random but Fun New Words of 2020
A beardo is a type of person that wears a beard such as a hippie, beatnik or intellectual.
When futzing around you are puttering around, tinkering or doing an unimportant or unessential activity. A futz is a frivolous person.
Nomophobia is the fear of not having or being able to use your phone.
Hellacious is a new adjective from the word hell and means that something is absolutely terrible.