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CHANGING TIMES CALL for changing terms. Science magazine, published weekly by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, asked young scientists “What new word or phrase would you add to the dictionary to help scientists explain the events of 2020 to future generations?”
Responses appeared in Science, January 1, 2021; often with etymological precision, many with tongue in (pandemic-masked) cheek. Here’s a sample, with thanks to the talented young scientists who responded, and with my examples of possible additions.
2020’d (adjective). “When all of the even slightly negative events in a situation suddenly amplify in magnitude to truly horrendous proportions (e.g., police brutality, political corruption, science skepticism, conspiracy theories, political division).”
My thought: Yes, one way or another, we’ve all been 2020’d!
Fauci’ing (verb). “To immediately amend or correct statements made by authority figures who misrepresent or overstate findings.”
To which I offer negatively tinged variations. Trumping (verb). “To double-down on a previous outrageous action in lieu of apology.” McConnelling (verb). “To act hypocritically for one’s own benefit.” Cruz-ing (verb). “To social-distance oneself merely by being personally obnoxious.” Gee. These are fun to compose.
Maskonymity (noun). “The inability to recognize the identity or emotions of other people in public places due to the obfuscation of facial features (e.g., by a mask).
I’d add a social-media variant: Onlineymity (noun). “The ability to forget kindness, decency, and other human virtues when on the Internet.”
Nehatha (noun). “A state of feeling drained of energy to the point of absolute numbness and apathy. Antonym: Sanskrit hatha (force).”
I like the Sanskrit etymology.
Omnidaaichism (noun). “A universal deterioration or collapse. Origin: Latin omnis (all) and Igbo daa iche (fall apart).”
Full marks for the etymological inclusion of Igbo. According to Wikipedia, “Igbo is recognized as a major language in Nigeria.” In 1789 London, a former slave incorporated 79 Igbo words in his published autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano.
Pragmaticalopia (noun). “An inability to see, perceive, or accept facts. Origin: Greek pragmatiká (facts), and suffix –opia (denoting a visual disorder).”
I would suggest Alternativopia (noun) as a serious form of this disorder when accompanied by trumping.
Scienied (adjective). “Of or related to denying scientific evidence. Pronounced, peddled, and guzzled like cyanide. Embraced by anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers. Particularly toxic when mixed with mental delusion and intentional confusion.”
Social notworking (verb). “When someone can’t do their job remotely but can afford to spend the pandemic traveling and posting on social media.”
I suspect this practice is encouraged by onlineymity.
Zeityrõ (noun). “The collective will to take action to solve a problem, precipitated by a sequence of negative events that promotes profound changes in the accepted way of life. Origin: German zeitgeist (spirit of the times) and Old Tupi—an Indigenous language of South America—motyrõ (the union of efforts for the common good).
Would that we all be endowed with zeityrõ. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2021