People have been using English words in funny new ways during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Play along with Jay and see if you can work out what they mean.
We’ll look at these clever examples of word play
– the COVID-10.
– fattening the curve
– the locktail hour
– furlough merlot.
– cabernet tedium
– elephant in the zoom
Do you want to play with some English words?
This video is about wordplay.
That’s when you use words in funny or clever ways to make jokes.
So come and play with some new COVID-19 words.
And join in our quiz!
Thank you everyone who’s been leaving us comments about how you’re surviving the corona crisis.
We’ve loved hearing about what you’ve been doing and learning about new words you’re using.
Here’s something I’ve learnt. If you translate the word elbow bump from German, it becomes an elbow kiss! So an English elbow bump is a German elbow kiss.
It sounds much nicer than a bump.
Lots of you have told us about English words that you’re using in your language.
So phrases like ‘social distancing’ have become international.
But in Indonesia, Saeful says it’s PSBB which means something like ‘restrictions on large-scale social’.
It sounds very formal.
Well it is in a way. Several of you mentioned this new word.
Covidiot! That’s a great one.
So what does it mean?
It’s a term for someone who thinks the coronavirus isn’t real.
So It’s a combination of COVID and idiot and it’s wordplay.
Covidiots think social distancing rules are unnecessary so they’re ignoring all the public health advice and going sunbathing on crowded beaches.
Or joining large crowds to protest about the shutdown.
And not wearing masks.
New words like this are being coined with the coronavirus. I’ve got some here and I’m going to see if Jay knows what they mean.
You can play along with me and see if you know what they mean too.
OK, here’s the first one: coronacoaster.
Does it mean drinking beer from Mexico?
Oh Corona beer. No.
Is it something to do with a crown?
Corona’s another word for crown. That’s how the virus got it’s name.
Because it has spikes like a crown. Good guess but no. Coronacoaster. It sounds like roller coaster.
So the amusement park ride?
Yes, a roller coaster has a lot of ups and downs and a coronacoaster is the ups and downs we feel during lockdown.
One minute we’re thinking this is great because we can stay at home with our family and and we have this extra time.
And the next minute we’re thinking this is terrible because of all the bad news about the virus. Living through COVID-19 is an emotional roller coaster.
A coronacoaster! OK, next one: coronials.
It sounds like colonials – people who live in a colony.
Yeah, but it also sounds like millennials.
Oh, it’s the generation of people who survive and live through the corona virus.
Nearly. But it’s a future generation of babies – babies that will be born in 9 months-time.
Because their parents were staying inside on lock down and finding fun ways to pass the time.
You’ve got it! Millennials are the generation of people that became adults in the early 21st century, so this is a clever bit of wordplay.
Where are these words coming from?
Oh they’re all over the internet. People love playing with words.
I wonder if they’ll make it into the Oxford dictionary?
Who knows. OK, next one. The COVID-10.
It sounds like a gang – a group of thieves or criminals.
OK, here’s a clue. We’ve both been eating more than we should during the lockdown.
Oh it’s the extra 10 pounds we’ve put on!
You’ve got it and there’s a similar one that made me laugh. You know how we’ve been talking about flattening the curve. What’s that?
That’s about doing things like social distancing so we don’t ovewhelm the hospitals.
Taking protective measures can flatten the curve, so hospitals have the capacity to handle all the COVID cases.
But there’s here’s the new term. Instead of flattening the curve, this one’s fattening the curve.
Oh that’s funny. That’s about all the extra weight we’re putting on from eating too much.
We’ve both been fattening our curves!
It’s so true! Have you been putting on weight too?
And have you got any tips for taking it off?
We need them!
I think the Simple English Videos family has been using its time wisely because several of you mentioned you were studying English and preparing for FCE.
Good for you! But what’s happening with the Cambridge English exams?
They’ve been disrupted because of the virus. In some countries, Cambridge have introduced a new IELTS exam that you can do online.
Even the speaking exam?
That too. It’s similar to the normal exam but online. They call it an indicator exam.
So it indicates the score you’d get if you took the real exam?
Yes. It’s a temporary solution for students who need to present their IELTS score to universities.
Cool! OK, let’s have another word.
OK. This is a phrase. The locktail hour. What’s that?
I’ve no idea.
You’ve heard of the cocktail hour, right?
Yes, it’s the time of day when we have cocktails.
So the locktail hour…
Is the cocktail hour during lock down! I think it’s been getting earlier in the days for lots of folks.
Yes! There are lots of funny phrases about drinking. What are Quarantinis?
You got me.
They’re experimental cocktails you mix from whatever you can find in your drink cupboard.
So quarantine – martini. Very clever. We could make some of those!
We have some strange drinks in our closet.
And there are puns about wine as well.
A pun is when you play with a word that has more than one meaning
Or words that have different meanings but sound similar. Here’s one: furlough merlot.
That rhymes! It must be the wine you drink to relieve the frustrations of being furloughed.
To be furloughed is when companies tell workers not to come to work for a while because they don’t have the money to pay them.
It used to an American rather than a British term, but I read it in the Guardian this week.
So you’re starting to use it in British English now?
Uhuh. Here’s another one. Bored-eaux. Get it?
Yeah – they’re playing with the wine varieties here.
And another: cabernet tedium
Instead of cabernet sauvignon.
Yeah. Tedium is another word for boredom. Tedious is the adjective.
Are you finding the shutdown tedious? We hope not.
OK, I’ve got one more for you and it’s my favourite. But first, what’s an elephant in the room, Jay?
Umm, it’s a problem that everybody knows about, but they avoid mentioning.
Yeah, it when there’s a topic that’s difficult so nobody wants to talk about it. Can you give me an example?
OK. Um. Racial inequality is going to be an elephant in the room for a lot of politicians in our next election.
Good example! OK, so here’s the new expression. You know how we’re all having video meetings these days. What’s an ‘elephant in the zoom’?
Oh, then this is about some sort of problem in a zoom meeting.
Maybe someone’s behaving strangely, but nobody says anything about it.
Exactly. So you can see something’s wrong.
Their office is really untidy – a big mess.
Or they might have grown a strange beard or perhaps they’re still wearing their pajamas. But nobody says anything.
Well things in Paris have been really really busy.
Well thanks for making time for this meeting. We’re just waiting for Jay. Oh, here he is. Hi Jay.
Hi everyone. Sorry I’m late.
Well, let’s get started then. Shall we all look at last month’s figures?
You know what we need a new word for.
The bad hair I’m getting from not being able to go to the barber.
Perhaps you can suggest one. What should we call it? Corona hair?
But I think the solution came today.
Open it up.
Let’s see what we’ve got here. This just arrived earlier today.
What have you got?
Would you like my help?
It’s hairclippers! Are you going to cut your own hair?
No actually, I was going to cut yours.
You’re going to cut it for me.
No, you’re going to cut if for me.
You’re very trusting.
Well, you can see how well she does in our next video.
We hope you’re finding better ways to solve your problems and enjoy life in these difficult times.
We’ll see you all soon, and in the meantime, wash your hands,
And call your grandparents. Bye now.