The Oxford English Dictionary has been updated with new words relating to the coronavirus pandemic in its April edition.
Additions were also made in the dictionary’s sub-entries and unrevised entries.
The newly-added words are COVID-19, infodemic, R0, self-isolate, self-isolated, self-isolating, self-isolation, self-quarantine, self-quarantined, shelter in place, social distancing, and social isolation.
The dictionary also added “to flatten the curve” in its new entries.
“PPE” and “social recession” were updated in the dictionary’s sub-entries while “elbow bump” and “WFH” – working (or work) from home – were included in its unrevised entries.
In a post on its blog, OED also listed 20 keywords searched during the coronavirus pandemic – January – March.
In January and February, some of the keywords related to coronavirus; others referred to other world events such as the Australian bushfires, the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, Donald Trump’s impeachment and acquittal, the Democratic caucuses, locust swarms in East Africa, investigations into the Astros sign-stealing scandal, and so on.
In March, however, every one of the top twenty keywords was in some way related to coronavirus.
In January, the words mainly relate to naming and describing the virus: coronavirus, SARS, virus, human-to-human, respiratory, and flu-like.
By March the keywords reflect the social impact of the virus, and issues surrounding the medical response.
Among the words listed are social distancing, self-isolation, and self-quarantine, lockdown, non-essential (as in non-essential travel), and postpone are all especially frequent, as are PPE and ventilator. (Punch)