News, Culture & Society

Covid-Dictionary: What slang about the pandemic looks like around the world

Life around the globe is increasingly different due to the coronavirus crisis – so much so that in many countries, people have created brand new words to describe it.

With this in mind, experts at leading language app Babbel have revealed which new words and phrases are being used around the world to describe the health pandemic and what exactly they mean.

The phrases range from covididiots, shoppers who empty out the toilet roll shelves in supermarkets, to on-nomi, the Japanese expression referring to online socialising with a cocktail in hand.

And as we spend more and more time #socialdistancing, the linguists have also taken a look at the top-trending pandemic related hashtags of the time, to make sure your lingo is up to scratch.

Here we reveal what slang phrases have been coined around the globe since the start of the crisis.


Move aside Millennials and in fact, move aside Generation Z – hello Coronials.

This English term has come to refer to the generation that will be born in the months following the lockdown measures put in place due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Coronials began trending on social media when social media users wondered if the pandemic could cause an increase in birth rate, since there’s not much else to do.


Also coined online was covidiot, used in English and German, or covidiota in Spanish.

Coming under increasing scrutiny, are the covidiots of the world who rinse the supermarket aisles, leaving nothing for anyone else.

Applying basically to anyone who isn’t following lockdown rules, such as social distancing, meeting friends, having parties, sharing drinks and everything else in between, covidiots are increasing the spread of coronavirus.


Sadly, Argentinian’s are also having to cope with rising cases of dengue fever, a tropical disease transmitted by mosquitoes, as well as coronavirus.

Recent news in the country has warned against the risks of a person being infected by both viruses at the same time, with social networks coining this ‘covidengue.’

Top trending Covid-19 hash tags


Staying home to save lives is an internationally recognised message, as people urge others to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary. The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now incorporated the hash tag to his Twitter handle


The primary advice given to people across the world to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. We know the drill by now, two happy birthdays please


Many people are posting this tag on Instagram, being careful to make sure that the picture of them out on a walk with their pal clearly shows that they’re at least 1.5 metres apart


Since we can’t post pictures of stunning Insta worthy dishes in our fave restaurants, or having a glass of wine with our bessies, people are focusing instead on what they’re doing indoors. Cooking up a storm in the kitchen, baking a cake or taking an online piano course? Whack this tag on the end of your post


Those covididiots again, nicking all the loo roll and driving out to a picturesque location for a walk.


While bars and restaurants have been forced to close their doors worldwide, what hasn’t changed is our desire to have a good old-fashioned drink with our friends.

The solution? People of all nations have taken to Zoom or Google Hangouts, inviting their pals to meet virtually and giving their loved ones an online cheers.

The Japanese have coined the expression on-nomi, literally meaning ‘drink online’, as we adapt to new forms of social networking.

Weekly online quizzes have also become popular, with players or households creating their own round of questions before the points are totted up and the winner is revealed.

Quarentena não é férias

The Portuguese expression quarentena não é férias, literally means ‘quarantine isn’t a vacation’.

It’s been used as an urge to stay at home, aimed at those who think that closing schools and offices is an opportunity to go to the park or beach to relax or even meet up with friends for a drink.


The German phrase Speck can be taken to mean puppy fat in English, or for a less kind way of saying it, ‘flab’.

Placed after the word corona, German’s use the word as an expression for the weight gained in lockdown as the country attempts to flatten the curve.

What it actually refers to however, is the bacon-like pork fat found for example in a sausage.


As we know, supermarket shelves across the world have been totally empties of loo roll, pasta, canned goods and pretty much everything else.

The German words Hamster (hamster) and Kauf (buying) are joined metaphorically, to compare supermarket raiders to hamsters, who hoard food for an entire winter by stuffing their cheeks full.

Dracula cough and sneeze

Cough and sneeze like Dracula – as recommended by US media. That is, do both into the elbow, imitating Dracula as he covers his face with his Vampire cape.