Coronaangst ridden? Overzoomed? Covid inspires 1,200 new German words

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From coronamüde (tired of Covid-19) to Coronafrisur (corona hairstyle), a German project is documenting the huge number of new words coined in the last year as the language races to keep up with lives radically changed by the pandemic.

The list, compiled by the Leibniz Institute for the German Language, an organisation that documents German language in the past and present, already comprises more than 1,200 new German words – many more than the 200 seen in an average year.

It includes feelings many can relate to, such as overzoomed (stressed by too many video calls), Coronaangst (when you have anxiety about the virus) and Impfneid (envy of those who have been vaccinated).

Other new words reveal the often strange reality of life under restrictions: Kuschelkontakt (cuddle contact) for the specific person you meet for cuddles and Abstandsbier (distance beer) for when you drink with friends at a safe distance.

The small team of three at the Leibniz institute collect words that are used in the press, on social media and the wider internet and monitor them. Those that are used most often will later make it into the dictionary.

Dr Christine Möhrs, who works at the institute and compiles the words, said the project tells the story of life during the pandemic…

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