By Jan Schmitt, RPR, CSR, CCR – Principal, Washington
This article was originally published on the Schmitt Reporting & Video, A Veritext Company, blog.
The year 2020 brought many changes, not only to our world, but also to our vocabulary, so let’s explore some of these new words and phrases. According to John Kelly, Managing Director of Dictionary.com, “We haven’t seen anything like the pace and scope of updating the dictionary as we have seen with Coronavirus words.” In order to keep up with the times, Dictionary.com has adjusted over 7,000 entries, including adding 450 new ones, many of these changes touching on relevant themes such as the pandemic, race, culture, identity and social injustice.
Some of the not-so-well-known pandemic/Coronavirus updates include:
Superspreader – a propensity to infect a larger-than-average number of people.
Zoonotic (known also as Zoonoses) – originally detected in an animal, but now has spread from animal to people.
Anosmia – loss of sense of smell.
Dysgusia – changes to or loss of sense of taste.
Wet Market – akin to a farmer’s market selling fresh meat, fish and vegetables.
Infodemic – a combination of “Information” and “Pandemic” and generally refers to the far-reaching and rapid dissemination of both accurate and inaccurate information about something, i.e., a disease.
Some of the most common words contributed by the racial justice movement in 2020:
Disenfranchisement – the act of depriving citizens of their rights, generally regarding their voting right.
Racialization – interacting and viewing people from a racial perspective.
Overpolice – policing aggressively or police reacting aggressively in response to a minor offense.
Cancel Culture – rejecting or dismissing a person or idea out of social or professional circles, either online, on social media or in person. Use of the term, unironically, reveals a bigger problem for our future.
BIPOC – Black, Indigenous and People of Color.
Some interesting new entries to impress your friends:
Megxit – slang term used for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepping back from their Royal Family roles.
Veganuary – eating a vegan or vegetarian diet during the month of January.
Shine Theory – opines powerful women would be more successful if they cooperate rather than compete against each other.
Rapinoeing – named after Soccer Star Megan Rapinoe’s viral victory pose.
Even our four-legged friends received some new entries, like the new hybrid dog breeds, including:
Pomsky – Pomeranian and a Siberian husky.
Schnoodle – miniature schnauzer and a poodle.
Goldendoodle – golden retriever and a poodle.
Puggle – pug and a beagle.
Bernedoodle – Bernese mountain dog and a poodle, such as Murph Paulson – pictured below.
As reporters, we are always encountering unfamiliar names, phrases and words. It’s fascinating what you can learn spending some time perusing one of these websites: dictionary.com (which also has a word of the day), urbandictionary.com, merriam-webster.com, and dictionary.law.com. Enjoy!
About Jan Schmitt, RPR, CSR, CCR
Jan Schmitt has been a professional court reporter for over 30 years, working in Portland, Oregon and Southwest Washington. Her experience and professionalism has attracted and retains the top court reporters and videographers in the region. Our court reporters average over 20 years of experience, with most of them having worked with Jan their entire career. Jan continues to report as well, as she enjoys the client contact and the relationships that develop over years of reporting.