Words for a pandemic

Don’t worry, I don’t plan to write many posts about the COVID-19 crisis, but I thought I’d take a look at the words we’re using to discuss it.

By the end of 2020 we’ll no doubt find coronavirus-related words topping dictionaries‘ ”word of the year“ lists. Words and phrases like unprecedented, lockdown, co-morbidity, underlying conditions, respirator or social distancing come to mind, as well as new words like zoombombing. There’s talk also of “coronial” to describe babies born in 2020, but let’s hope that one doesn’t take off. The word already exists (as I’ve just found out) and means “of or relating to a coroner”.

Coping with the pandemic: a word that might help

One word that I’d include in my own words of the year is ”resilience”. Merriam Webster defines resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”, Collins as “the ability to recover strength, spirits, good humor, etc. quickly; buoyancy”. So resilience is a desirable quality. It provides a sort of buffer that helps us absorb the shocks we’re experiencing and prevents them from damaging us to our very core. That applies to us as individuals and to society as a whole. And it certainly applies to the economy.

The 2008 financial crisis led to an increased focus on banks’ resilience to economic/financial shocks. In 2020, businesses of all sizes (including tiny translation, editing and interpreting businesses) will need to be resilient to somehow keep ticking over and get back into gear when the coronavirus crisis eases off.

What about you? Are there words being used to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic that set your teeth on edge or that give you a sense of hope, optimism and strength?

And how do you build and nurture resilience?

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