The One Pandemic Buzzword I Am Most Fed up With

It’s not one of the obvious ones

Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.


man and woman with face masks, behind prison bars
Image by Наркологическая Клиника from Pixabay

We’ve had a long tiring year of lockdowns, layoffs, face masks, restrictions, and closings. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of new words and phrases have entered the lexicon.

This is not your grandfather’s blog post… this is an awards ceremony. It’s time to hand out an award for the most hated, the most overused COVID-related word or phrase.

It’s one you’ve heard dozens of times since the beginning of the pandemic. But it’s one you’ve probably overlooked.

It may even be something you read quite recently, without even realizing it.

Honorable mention: Social distancing

6 feet of distance, 6 feet of distance, 6 feet of distance. Yes, it’s a good practice during a pandemic, but this became one of the most overused terms of all.

I remember when my city’s tourism bureau hosted an online virtual DJ night at an otherwise-closed hotel bar. They had to splash “Socially Distanced” on the screen so viewers at home could breathe a sigh of relief that the DJ, the cameraman, and the hotel staff were all 6 feet apart, because if one of them came within 5 feet, 11 inches of each other, surely the whole city would die.

Honorable mention: Flatten the curve

As with social distancing, this admittedly is a good idea and a noble plan. It’s just a term we’re all sick of hearing, one we will be ready to retire when we reach herd immunity.

Honorable mention: Zoom happy hour

Half the people are all talking at the same time, and half the people have no idea what is going on… wow, it really is like being at the bar!

Honorable mention: The new normal

All this term did was remind everyone how much they missed the old normal. This is everything we hate about current times, rolled up into three words, three words that could have easily won the award… but…

Honorable mention: Stay home



Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.

I write about writing, ideas, creativity, intuition, spirituality, life lessons. Ex-college teacher Twitter: @paulryburn