English speakers use a lot of terms today that weren't in the vernacular a year ago, like double-mask, social distance, and Zoom fatigue. But few people have embraced the pandemic's impact on language quite like the Germans. According to the Leibniz Institute, Germany has invented more than 1200 words to describe life in the age of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. From nose sweater to face condom, here are some of the more colorful new entries into the country's lexicon.
The illustrations below from the comparison website Uswitch show seven COVID-related behaviors and the brilliant words Germans have coined for them. If you've ever greeted a friend with a socially distanced foot tap instead of a hug or handshake, you've engaged in Coronafußgruß, or the "Corona foot greeting." Face masks have earned the cheeky nickname gesichtskondom, or "face condom," in Germany. Schnutenpulli, literally "snout sweater," is a considerably more pleasant name for the protective gear.
One of the first German words to gain popularity during the pandemic was hamsterkauf. From the words German words hamster ("hamster") and kauf ("buying"), it means to compulsively buy things you don't need, similar to a hamster stuffing his cheeks with food.
You can see all seven terms and their definitions below. Here are some more clever terms that humanity has added to the covidictionary in the past year.