German Language Blog

The German Language And Coronavirus Posted by on Aug 24, 2020 in Language

Guten Tag! At the time of writing, it has been 5 months since my country (the UK) went into lockdown due to the covid-19 Pandemie (pandemic). A lot has changed during this time, including the language we now use in day-to-day life (everything is ‘socially distanced’, and we talk a lot about ‘the new normal’, for example). The German language, being a master of creating new, compound nouns; Kofferwörter (portmanteau words); and using Denglisch (a mixture of German and English), has also seen some new words enter its vocabulary as a result. In this post, I thought we’d look at some of the terms that have been used over the past few months.

Image via Pixabay

der Covidiot

This word is a mixture of the words Covid and der Idiot (idiot), and is also used in English. This blend of two or more words is what’s known as a Kofferwort in German, which you can read all about here.

So what, exactly, is a Covidiot? describes it as,

‘Person, die sich nicht an Gesundheitsempfehlungen hält, den Ernst die Coronakrise ignoriert, die Gesundheit anderer in Gefahr bringt und in großen Mengen hamstert.’

Can you figure out what this says? Here are a few pieces of vocabulary to help you out:

die Gesundheitsempfehlungen – health and safety recommendations
der Ernst – seriousness
die Coronakrise – the coronavirus crisis
ignorieren – to ignore
die Gesundheit – health
anderer – others
die Gefahr – danger
hamstern – to hoard/panic-buy

* The answer will be at the bottom of this post, underneath the newsletter form! *


die Coronaferien

This word is a mixture of der Coronavirus (coronavirus) and die Ferien (holidays). It references the closing of:

  • Kitas (daycare centres);
  • Kindergärten (kindergartens); and
  • Schulen (schools),

in order to slow the spread of the virus.

A more general (not pandemic-related) word for this would be die Schulschließungen (the school closures): die Schule (school) and die Schließung (closure).

I suppose Ferien (holidays) is what the Schulschließungen must have felt like for children-  but maybe not so much for their parents!


die Coronaparty

Sometimes written as ‘Corona-Party’, this word is a mixture of der Coronavirus (coronavirus) and die Party (party). The word ‘party’ is an English loanword that has been used in German for a long time, so you’re much more likely to hear it than its German counterpart, die Feier.

During the strictest period of lockdown, you could not even meet with people from outside your household, let alone have a party. Yet some people broke these Regeln (rules) and had house parties, either out of Langweile (boredom), as an act of die Rebellion (rebellion), or even because they wanted to become infiziert (infected).

Here is a short, German news article on a so-called Coronaparty that took place in Germany: Click here.

What are some words you’ve read/heard in German in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic? If there are any that stand out to you, leave me a comment below!

Answer to Covidiot translation: A person who does not follow the health and safety recommendations, ignores the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis, puts others’ health in danger, and panic-buys in large amounts.

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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.