Do you remember a time when “roasting” was simply a cooking method and not dissing another person? Me neither. Not to roast this entire year, but 2020 brought us words and phrases whose default meanings are forever changed.

  1. Face masks.
    Before: moisturizing substance that an aesthetician recommends to improve your skin.
    Now: special cloth that prevents the spread of saliva and air particles that could induce illness.
  2. Testing.
    Before: a diagnostic assessment of one’s abilities in a certain field.
    Now: the procedure wherein a long cotton swap is pushed up one’s nose to collect mucus samples to detect the presence or absence of COVID-19.
  3. Test results.
    Before: The outcome of a diagnostic assessment.
    Now: the outcome of a COVID-19 test.
  4. Among us.
    Before: a prepositional phrase (preposition + first person plural pronoun).
    Now: a viral game that connects people across the internet.
  5. Zoom.
    Before: a verb describing an entity moving at an extremely fast pace.
    Now: The popular software through which online work and online school are being conducted.
  6. Positive/negative.
    Before: good/bad, happy/sad, pro/con, for/against.
    Now: one’s results from a COVID-19 test.
  7. Cases.
    Before: a singular situation, briefcase, case study, suitcase.
    Now: instances of 2019-nCoV.
  8. Corona.
    Before: related to crowns and other royal things (coronation), brand of beer.
    Now: Shorthand for 2019-nCoV, COVID-19, or the Coronavirus.

word collage via Pixabay