… that is, coronovirus portmanteaus (where the underlined n is the overlap shared by the two contributing words). A modest collection from recent days.

On the apocalypse / catastrophe front. The obvious, and clearly useful, disaster portmanteaus coronapocalypse and coronatastrophe.

Huge numbers of the first. From The Hill site on 3/18/20, in “In ‘coronapocalypse’ the worst shortages could be deadly” by Pinar Keskinocak:

Worst case, even food supplies could run low. The country needs to do something about this right now before it compounds the COVID-19 public crisis branded as #coronapocalypse on social media.

Plus a very small number of coronatastrophe hits.

Pandemic idiots. Appearing suddenly in the past few days, covidiot: covid + idiot (where covid stands for the disease name COVID-19), for someone who flouts reasonable precautions, putting themselves or those around them in danger. The portmanteau was pretty much guaranteed to be coined, probably by many people at once, in response to flagrantly stupid behaviors, especially during college spring break festivities on beaches.

But a remarkable elaboration of the covidiot idea appeared almost immediately, in a mock dictionary entry (complete with a pronunciation in a version of IPA transcription) on several Twitter sites:

(#1) Ben Zimmer has reported on ADS-L about starting to track this item down; in contrast to the portmanteau covidiot itself, it pretty clearly has a specific creator

Covidiocy came to me from Sim Aberson, who posted a Miami Herald story about a gay circuit party, “Thousands partied at this Miami Beach festival. Nine tested positive for coronavirus” by Martin Vassolo on 3/20/20:

(#2) Caption: “Amir Hamza, a volunteer from Las Vegas, dances with a large yellow smiley face balloon on a raised platform beneath a canopy of inflatable pool floats at the Winter Party Festival on Miami Beach, sponsored by the National LGBTQ Task Force, on March 1, 2009.” (Miami Herald photo)

Nine people who attended Winter Party Festival, an annual event that draws thousands of gay men to Miami Beach, have reported testing positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, according to the LGBTQ Task Force, which organized the festival.

From comments on the private Facebook group soc-motss (with commenters other than me identified only by initials):

AMZ: Just to note that only a very small slice of the partiers were tested.
M: Not to mention the fact the incubation period is up to two weeks.
H: I’m pretty sure that dude licking the smiley beach ball is dead by now…
AMZ: Surely everybody knows that smiley beach balls are coated with deadly verminous slime…

But of course the spring break partying went on all over the place, with partiers (most of them straight) defiantly, truculently, refusing to tone it down (Fight for Your Right to Party!) — until mayors and governors felt they had to shut the beaches down as a public health move.

Pandemic Magritte. In Vadim Temkin’s homage to the Belgian master’s painting Golconda, which I retitled Golcorona (Golconda + corona):

(#3) From 3/21/20,  “Golcorona”

And incidentally,… Wait for it. It starts with Steve Kleinedler on Twitter, then on FB on 3/21, posting:


In my 30-year lexicography career I never said “this is not a word”. Until today.

(Just note that we’ve fallen into this portmanteau via the coronavirus; the portmanteau doesn’t actually involve any coronavirus words.)

That’s supposed to be Bravo + celebrities, but as Mark Staloff wrote on FB, “it needs to be Bravolebrities”, and that’s what I’ll take it to be: Bravo + celebrities (with no overlap, just abbreviation.

Then I wrote on FB

It appears to be the case that linguVlebrity / linguVlebrities (for V = o, i, a, or e) has not already been coined, so go for it, innovators. (I prefer linguilebrity, but consider the actually attested linguaphile and linguablog, so maybe it should be lingualebrity.) Then you might reflect on who would count as a linguistics celebrity / celebrity linguist / celebrity in linguistics. If there’s only one, then there’s not much use for linguilebrity etc. (By the way, who counts as a Bravo celebrity?…)

It turns out that there are plenty of Bravo celebrities. On the network, from Wikipedia:

Bravo is an American pay television network, launched on December 1, 1980. It is owned by NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The channel originally focused on programming related to fine arts and film. It currently broadcasts several reality television series targeted at 25–54-year-old women as well as the gay community, along with acquired and original dramas, and mainstream theatrically released feature films.

… In the early 2000s, Bravo switched its format from focusing on performing arts, drama, and independent film to being focused on pop culture such as reality shows, fashion and makeover shows, and celebrities. Bravo’s “makeover” occurred in 2003 with the reality series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which garnered 3.5 million viewers. Entertainment Weekly put “Bravo reality shows” on its end-of-the-decade, “best-of” list, saying, “From Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s Fab Five to Project Runway’s fierce fashionistas to the kvetching, perma-tanned Real Housewives franchise, Bravo’s quirky reality programming mixes high culture and low scruples to create deliciously addictive television.”

Out of all of this, I watch only Queer Eye (but I have friends who are devoted to Project Runway). If you follow Bravo, though, you know that this is a weighty question:

Did Kroy Biermann Cheat on Kim Zolciak?

and you understand the genuine distress when, more recently (3/20), Watch What Happens Live host and producer Andy Cohen tested positive for coronavirus.


2 Responses to “coronteaus”

  1. J B Levin Says:

    Do you suppose “Conovavirus” in #4 was just a typo, or did the original creator of that item had something extra (mysterious to me) in mind?

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