11 New Words and Phrases Inspired by the Coronavirus

New words and phrases are popping up to help us describe living in the time of COVID-19.
New words and phrases are popping up to help us describe living in the time of COVID-19.
vectorplusb/iStock via Getty Images Plus

If you’re struggling to describe the new coronavirus era we’re living in, well, you’re not alone. In fact, many new words and phrases have been coined to help us talk about these unprecedented times (itself a phrase that has seen a huge spike in usage). The language experts at Babbel sent us a few of the new coronavirus-inspired words that humanity is adding to its covidictionary.

1. Coronaspeck

One of Mental Floss’s favorite German words, kummerspeck, literally translates to “grief bacon,” and it refers to the weight you gain due to overeating when you’re emotional. According to the experts at Babbel, “In German, the word speck is used to refer to the bacon-like pork fat found in a bratwurst (sausage).” But when pairing speck with corona, Germans have created “an expression for the weight gained in lockdown.”

2. Dracula Cough and Sneeze

Preschool teachers tell their students to cough or sneeze hygienically into their cough pockets, and the phrase “cough and sneeze like Dracula” basically means the same thing: Make like Dracula raising his cape to cover his face and sneeze in your elbow.

3. Covidiota

This Spanish term was coined online, according to the experts at Babbel, and can apply “to anyone who isn’t following lockdown rules, such as those who are still meeting friends, having parties, or sharing drinks—and everything else in between.” In English, you’d say covidiot.

4. Zumped

Forget about ghosting. Zumped is the new COVID-inspired phrase for breaking up with someone over video chat.

5. On-nomi

Bars are closed, but friends are still finding a way to enjoy happy hour—only now, they do it via video chat. The Japanese have created a word for this new coronavirus activity: on-nomi, which literally means “drink online.”

6. Quarantini

The English word for what you’re drinking while you’re sitting at home. According to the Babbel experts, “In the U.S, this drink comes with a specific recipe: a martini of vodka and gin mixed with Emergen-C vitamin powder, to calm your nerves and boost your immune system at the same time.”

7. Zoom Bombing

This term refers to the unwanted presence of a person on a video chat, usually in the meeting program Zoom. “It’s the photobombing of the coronavirus age,” the Babbel experts explain. “Whether you use this term to describe a complete stranger entering your work’s video meeting, or the friend you didn’t want to see inviting themselves to your digital get-together, is up to you entirely.”

8. Spendemic

This word—which was, the Babbel experts say, coined by The New York Post—refers to the increase in online shopping during the pandemic.

9. Coronials

According to the Babbel experts, coronials is the term being used for the babies who will be born after lockdown: “Coronials began trending on social media when social media users wondered if the pandemic could cause an increase in birth rate since more time spent in the home could lead to slightly bigger families in the future.”

10. Quaranbaking

Some are making quarantinis during lockdown; others are finding comfort in quaranbaking. This term, which reportedly trended on Twitter, is all about "the therapeutic act of baking during lockdown," according to the Babbel experts.

11. Hamsterkauf

Feel free to use this German term the next time you see shoppers frantically grabbing toilet paper off of store shelves. “The German words Hamster (hamster) and Kauf (buying) are joined metaphorically, to compare supermarket raiders to hamsters, who stock up food for an entire winter by stuffing their cheeks full of it,” the Babbel experts explain. “If you’ve seen someone hoarding bottles of water or buying three times the amount of ravioli they usually would, then you’ve come across a hamsterkauf.

The 10 Best Air Fryers on Amazon

Cosori/Amazon
Cosori/Amazon

When it comes to making food that’s delicious, quick, and easy, you can’t go wrong with an air fryer. They require only a fraction of the oil that traditional fryers do, so you get that same delicious, crispy texture of the fried foods you love while avoiding the extra calories and fat you don’t.

But with so many air fryers out there, it can be tough to choose the one that’ll work best for you. To make your life easier—and get you closer to that tasty piece of fried chicken—we’ve put together a list of some of Amazon’s top-rated air frying gadgets. Each of the products below has at least a 4.5-star rating and over 1200 user reviews, so you can stop dreaming about the perfect dinner and start eating it instead.

1. Ultrean Air Fryer; $76

Ultrean/Amazon

Around 84 percent of reviewers awarded the Ultrean Air Fryer five stars on Amazon, making it one of the most popular models on the site. This 4.2-quart oven doesn't just fry, either—it also grills, roasts, and bakes via its innovative rapid air technology heating system. It's available in four different colors (red, light blue, black, and white), making it the perfect accent piece for any kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Cosori Air Fryer; $120

Cosori/Amazon

This highly celebrated air fryer from Cosori will quickly become your favorite sous chef. With 11 one-touch presets for frying favorites, like bacon, veggies, and fries, you can take the guesswork out of cooking and let the Cosori do the work instead. One reviewer who “absolutely hates cooking” said, after using it, “I'm actually excited to cook for the first time ever.” You’ll feel the same way!

Buy it: Amazon

3. Innsky Air Fryer; $90

Innsky/Amazon

With its streamlined design and the ability to cook with little to no oil, the Innsky air fryer will make you feel like the picture of elegance as you chow down on a piece of fried shrimp. You can set a timer on the fryer so it starts cooking when you want it to, and it automatically shuts off when the cooking time is done (a great safety feature for chefs who get easily distracted).

Buy it: Amazon

4. Secura Air Fryer; $62

Secura/Amazon

This air fryer from Secura uses a combination of heating techniques—hot air and high-speed air circulation—for fast and easy food prep. And, as one reviewer remarked, with an extra-large 4.2-quart basket “[it’s] good for feeding a crowd, which makes it a great option for large families.” This fryer even comes with a toaster rack and skewers, making it a great addition to a neighborhood barbecue or family glamping trip.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Chefman Turbo Fry; $60

Chefman/Amazon

For those of you really looking to cut back, the Chefman Turbo Fry uses 98 percent less oil than traditional fryers, according to the manufacturer. And with its two-in-one tank basket that allows you to cook multiple items at the same time, you can finally stop using so many pots and pans when you’re making dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Ninja Air Fryer; $100

Ninja/Amazon

The Ninja Air Fryer is a multipurpose gadget that allows you to do far more than crisp up your favorite foods. This air fryer’s one-touch control panel lets you air fry, roast, reheat, or even dehydrate meats, fruits, and veggies, whether your ingredients are fresh or frozen. And the simple interface means that you're only a couple buttons away from a homemade dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Instant Pot Air Fryer + Electronic Pressure Cooker; $180

Instant Pot/Amazon

Enjoy all the perks of an Instant Pot—the ability to serve as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, and more—with a lid that turns the whole thing into an air fryer as well. The multi-level fryer basket has a broiling tray to ensure even crisping throughout, and it’s big enough to cook a meal for up to eight. If you’re more into a traditional air fryer, check out Instant Pot’s new Instant Vortex Pro ($140) air fryer, which gives you the ability to bake, proof, toast, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Omorc Habor Air Fryer; $100

Omorc Habor/Amazon

With a 5.8-quart capacity, this air fryer from Omorc Habor is larger than most, giving you the flexibility of cooking dinner for two or a spread for a party. To give you a clearer picture of the size, its square fryer basket, built to maximize cooking capacity, can handle a five-pound chicken (or all the fries you could possibly eat). Plus, with a non-stick coating and dishwasher-safe basket and frying pot, this handy appliance practically cleans itself.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dash Deluxe Air Fryer; $100

Dash/Amazon

Dash’s air fryer might look retro, but its high-tech cooking ability is anything but. Its generously sized frying basket can fry up to two pounds of French fries or two dozen wings, and its cool touch handle makes it easy (and safe) to use. And if you're still stumped on what to actually cook once you get your Dash fryer, you'll get a free recipe guide in the box filled with tips and tricks to get the most out of your meal.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Bella Air Fryer; $52

Bella/Amazon

This petite air fryer from Bella may be on the smaller side, but it still packs a powerful punch. Its 2.6-quart frying basket makes it an ideal choice for couples or smaller families—all you have to do is set the temperature and timer, and throw your food inside. Once the meal is ready, its indicator light will ding to let you know that it’s time to eat.

Buy it: Amazon

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Why Do We Say ‘Spill the Beans’?

This is a Greek tragedy.
This is a Greek tragedy.
anthony_taylor/iStock via Getty Images

Though superfans of The Office may claim otherwise, the phrase spill the beans did not originate when Kevin Malone dropped a massive bucket of chili at work during episode 26 of season five. In fact, people supposedly started talking about spilling the beans more than 2000 years ago.

According to Bloomsbury International, one voting method in ancient Greece involved (uncooked) beans. If you were voting yes on a certain matter, you’d place a white bean in the jar; if you were voting no, you’d use your black bean. The jar wasn’t transparent, and since the votes were meant to be kept secret until the final tally, someone who accidentally knocked it over mid-vote was literally spilling the beans—and figuratively spilling the beans about the results.

While we don’t know for sure that the phrase spill the beans really does date all the way back to ancient times, we do know that people have used the word spill to mean “divulge” at least since the 16th century. The Oxford English Dictionary’s earliest known reference of it is from a letter written by Spanish chronicler Antonio de Guevara sometime before his death in 1545 (the word spill appears in Edward Hellowes’s 1577 translation of the letter).

Writers started to pair spill with beans during the 20th century. The first known mention is from Thomas K. Holmes’s 1919 novel The Man From Tall Timber: “‘Mother certainly has spilled the beans!’ thought Stafford in vast amusement.”

In short, it’s still a mystery why people decided that beans were an ideal food to describe spilling secrets. As for whether you’re imagining hard, raw beans like the Greeks used or the tender, seasoned beans from Kevin Malone’s ill-fated chili, we’ll leave that up to you.

[h/t Bloomsbury International]