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Words I have learned during ‘Lockdown’

Just on the news…people can now stop ‘shielding’ after more than a year. We have learned so many new words during the year including Covidiots, lockdown, shielding, bubble, social distancing, self-isolating, key workers, zooming, PPE, coronavirus etc. All words which I hope to never hear again.

On the plus side, during the same period, I have learned the following new words/phrases which I like a lot and want to share for no particular reason.

  • Petrichor – the smell of rain
  • Wabi-sabi – the art of finding beauty in imperfection
  • Latibulate – to hide oneself in a corner
  • Slàinte Mhath pr. Slanj-a-var – Gaelic for cheers
  • Cobra Effect – when incentives designed to solve a problem end up making it worse eg paying people to kill cobras resulted in local people breeding more cobras in order to receive the financial incentive!
  • Two tone music e.g. the Specials – groups featuring a mix of black, white and multiracial people demonstrating a desire to transcend and defuse racial tensions (I always knew the word but thought it referred to the shiny suits that appeared to be 2 different colours at the same time)
  • Jante’s Law – 10 rules which basically boil down to ‘don’t think you are anything special or better than anyone else’ – an idea prevalent in Nordic countries – maybe why they are the happiest people in in the world?
  • Päntsdrunk – the anglicised word for the Finnish kalsarikänni, a term that literally means “drinking at home, alone, in your underwear”.
  • Numinous – ‘having a strong spiritual quality suggesting the presence of a divinity’ – you know the feeling you get in nature or listening to music or in a cathedral or cuddling a baby when you think there might be a god after all…


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