Coronavirus: Dictionary.com updates definitions, adds new words explaining COVID-19 outbreak

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The coronavirus pandemic is dominating and impacting daily life around the world, prompting Dictionary.com to update its glossary and add new terms that are more relevant than ever amid the outbreak.

New additions to the digital English language dictionary include names for the viral disease, to help increase understanding of the novel coronavirus and the larger COVID-19 outbreak. The slang term “rona” has also been explained.

Dictionary.com has recently updated its glossary and added new terms that are more relevant than ever amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Dictionary.com has recently updated its glossary and added new terms that are more relevant than ever amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. (Dictionary.com)

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New additions to the digital English language dictionary include the slang term “rona."

New additions to the digital English language dictionary include the slang term “rona." (Dictionary.com)

The definitions of existing entries like social distance, personal protective equipment (PPE), asymptomatic, containment and novel have also been edited to reflect their current, critical usage in everyday exchanges on COVID-19.

“One of the primary functions of language is to express identity, and there is something communal about the new vocabulary we are all acquiring during this crisis,” Heather Bonikowski, Dictionary.com lexicographer, said in a statement to Fox News on Wednesday. “When we use these new COVID-19 words with each other, we are showing our membership in a group, almost as an act of solidarity — a way to say we’re all in this together.”

The definitions of existing entries like social distance have also been edited to reflect their current, critical usage in everyday exchanges on COVID-19. ?

The definitions of existing entries like social distance have also been edited to reflect their current, critical usage in everyday exchanges on COVID-19. ? (Dictionary.com)

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"In these unprecedented times, we're humbled that people come to Dictionary.com," Jennifer Steeves-Kiss, Dictionary.com CEO, echoed in agreement. "For parents, educators, students, workers, concerned users all over the world — our team takes very seriously the information our updates can provide amid confusion."

“One of the primary functions of language is to express identity, and there is something communal about the new vocabulary we are all acquiring during this crisis,” said Heather Bonikowski, Dictionary.com lexicographer.

“One of the primary functions of language is to express identity, and there is something communal about the new vocabulary we are all acquiring during this crisis,” said Heather Bonikowski, Dictionary.com lexicographer. (Dictionary.com)

Logophiles interested in learning more about the new selection of coronavirus-related entries can turn to the digital dictionary’s descriptions of fomites, germaphobe, price gouging and profiteering, as well as the trending terms “hunker down” and “shelter in place.”

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