Expand Your Vocabulary: Words and Expressions of 2020

By Natasha Kangrga

“What day is it? Is my mask giving me acne? Why do I keep scrolling through these awful events even though it makes me feel bad?” may be questions you’ve asked yourself over the wonderful year of 2020. At the time, they were just questions, but are you aware that these experiences are now actual definitions for words?

So, when you think of 2020, what are some words that come to mind? Maybe quarantine, social distancing, or lockdown. You aren’t wrong – as those were quite overused – but what about some new words? Some unusual ones?

Ever heard of panic-shopping, Blursday, and doomscrolling? Maskne? Quarantini? Super-spreader event? Or do they just sound like gibberish? 

I assure you, they are not! Unlike terms such as Karen, simp, or cap, they were not popular and trending – rather wittier…originating outside of TikTok. Even though 2020 was not fun, it gave us the opportunity to come up with these cool, quirky phrases and expressions! Some are goofy turns on words we already know – like maskne. Some are technical – like super-spreader event. Some are even packed with cultural meaning – like panic-shopping! 

But do you even know what these words mean? Well, here’s my little spin on their definitions:

Panic-shopping – When people purchase unusually large amounts of products they worry will not be available any longer and cause a large price increase or shortage (you know, like panic-shopping for toilet paper).

Blursday – When you have been sheltering in the same place for so long you have absolutely no idea what day it is: Tuesday feels like Monday; Wednesday feels like Tuesday; Thursday feels like Wednesday… hence Blursday!

Doomscrolling – When you continuously scroll through your social media feed observing the many awful events currently going on. You cannot help this, and sadly, the amount of time you’ve spent doing this will reflect the mood you’ll be in for possibly the next hour or so.

Maskne – The acne that grows under your COVID mask.

Quarantini – Much like a regular alcoholic beverage, but one that is made with the various ingredients found in your home because you are locked up (side note: ask your parents what their new drink is called).

Super-spreader event – An event where an infectious disease can quickly and easily spread because of the amount of people attending – and possibly the fact that few of them are wearing their masks (e.g. a Trump rally).

Now that you’re up-to-date, which word is your favourite? What do you think of these new 2020 words? Can you relate? Can you come up with any of your own? (Or have you already done so?) Enjoy 2021. Learn some new words, and hopefully we won’t experience any more unprecedented times this year. 😉