In Market: It’s an unprecedented time to use the word unprecedented

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In these uncertain, unprecedented times, we certainly are using the same adjectives to … well, unprecedented levels.

I tried to find a word cloud that measured the number of times “uncertain” and “unprecedented” had been used in headlines, speeches or the dreaded white paper, but I couldn’t find one.

Doesn’t anyone who writes a news article, speech from a leader, a commercial or makes a ponderous YouTube video have a thesaurus?

But I think, with no scientific evidence (who cares about that anyway?) and without fear of hyperbole, I can say those two words have been trending up on a Mount Everest scale.

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Throw “new normal” and “social distancing” and “challenging” in there and you’ve got five words or phrases we seem to be stuck on in these unprecedented times.

Surely there’s a bingo card out there of coronavirus words and after reading the 20th New York Times article on the subject, you’ve surely shouted “Bingo!” four or five times. If you’ve made it into a drinking game, you’re sloshed by article three. And what are you drinking? A quarantini, of course. There’s no recipe for this drink. It just refers to whatever alcoholic beverage you consume while in quarantine or iso.

Iso, you ask? That’s a nice Gen Z-attributed word for isolation. I mean you can’t go to the trouble of spelling – or more likely – texting that word, can you? Iso can be easily combined with other words as a prefix, as in:

“I’m iso-cooking” or “I’m iso-working.” Handy.

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Try this phrase on for iso-size:

“I’m in iso, dude, ’cause of Miss Rona.”

Miss Rona, in case you haven’t guessed, is slang for COVID-19 or coronavirus. It has also been called “The Rona” or “The Ronie.”

Quarantining also has a few slang words: Staying home from college has been called a “coronacation.”

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Meanwhile, getting out and driving around with no purpose because you’re bored with your four walls is called a “drivcation.”

Wide angle look inside in the car of actually driving young male with hands in foreground.

And you must take a drivcation if you’ve spent all day “doom-scrolling” – that is, getting on your phone and looking at all the bad news regarding the pandemic. How different is life in the pandemic from the dystopian world depicted on The Walking Dead? Not much, except on The Walking Dead no one seems quite so concerned about toilet paper. Rick and the gang never fought some evil opponent called The Wipers, who held the world’s last-remaining supply of toilet paper. Reality is so much more frightening than fiction.

What’s worse than doom-scrolling? Getting Zumped. And that, former lovebirds, means getting dumped over Zoom. Might want to turn the microphone to “off” before you respond with something you regret.

But then maybe you’ll get Zoom Bombed in the middle of getting Zumped. Zoom Bombing is when an uninvited guest finds their way to a Zoom meeting by hacking. Sometimes it is harmless, as a farm animal may show up to a meeting of a bunch of bankers. Sometimes it’s that internet staple pornography and/or violence interrupting a Zoom classroom. Not so cool.

If you’ve been Zumped, you might ingest your sorrows and then get the COVID-15. That, a play on the phrase “Freshman 15” refers to the weight you may gain while WFH (working from home), which allows one more access to the good ol’ refrigerator. 

If you are in the quarry and still have a significant other you are involved with you might want to lockdown and chill, which is a play on the old Netflix and chill, which involved watching Netflix and … I’ll let your imagination run wild. It’s a modern version of “Would you like to come up and see my etchings?” which I’m sure never worked. 

I’m not sure lockdown and chill would work either, particularly if you’ve got a COVID cut or corona cut, which basically means a bad haircut, usually a self-haircut.

Or maybe the lockdown and chill is derailed by a lack of sanni, short for hand sanitizer.

Or maybe one of the partners is a coidiot, someone who doesn’t obey the rules, like the guy protesting the stay-at-home rules at a rally asking people to cough in his face. Or maybe they’re covidient, someone who follows the rules and wears PPE (personal protective equipment) to the lockdown and chill invite. Dating in a pandemic is hard. It’s like being in eighth grade again.

Anyway, one of you might be a coronic, someone who has tested positive for the virus.

But hey, what if, you know, things work out with this lockdown and chill thing?

You might look down the road in nine months and find yourself welcoming a coronial – the term for the generation of babies born out of the pandemic.

One phrase has not caught on during the pandemic. That was from, of all people, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, one of the smoother, more erudite politicians out there. Trudeau, touting the use of masks, said the PPE can prevent people from “breathing or speaking moistly.” Say again? Trudeau even admitted it was an awful phrase, saying, “Ugh, what a terrible image.” I don’t know, it makes me want to put on a mask, virus pandemic or no, so maybe it did work. And wow, a politician admitting he did something wrong? Must be a Canadian thing.

So, what happens, if after these uncertain, unprecedented trying times, the dreaded COVID-19 returns as some expect?

Well, the one good thing that could come out of it is that we can’t use the word “unprecedented.” It will now be precedented, I guess, though you never hear that word.

Drink your quarantini, Zump the word “unprecedented” and prepare for the new normal.


Definition of word challenge in dictionary

Some other choices:

unparalleled · unequaled · unmatched · unrivaled · without parallel · without equal · extraordinary · uncommon · out of the ordinary · unusual · outstanding · striking · exceptional · prodigious · abnormal · singular · remarkable · unique · anomalous · atypical · untypical · freakish · unheard of · unknown · novel · original · new · groundbreaking · revolutionary · pioneering · one of a kind · unexampled.

All right, after looking at this list, unprecedented sounds pretty good, so get used to it. It’s a challenging time, after all.

Pandemic Piano

Cat on piano

Here’s an interesting note. If your ears tell you that all those feel-good commercials that companies and organizations are running on television and YouTube during these challenging, uncertain and unprecedented times, you might be on to something. Check out this YouTube video to confirm your ears’ suspicions. .