COVID Vocabulary continued: Virtual Hug, Fist Bump, and Social Distancing

In the interest of documenting the changes in our everyday vocabulary, I periodically have been examining the common use of previously loosely associated phrases. I mean, for goodness sake, who went around saying to close friends, “let’s have a virtual hug?” Having a good squeeze was one of the loveliest expressions of caring between friends, and it was comforting. Merriam-Webster defines virtual as simulated or being such in essence though not formally recognized. Me, I want a real hug; in fact, now more than ever, I need a real hug 🙂

I am generationally impaired so that the action of a fist bump is associated with young teens who are cool. According to Wikipedia, a fist bump is a gesture similar to a handshake. It is a gesture without a deeper meaning, making it socially of less affection than the virtual hug. It is more widespread since President Obama made it popular, and neither bumper has the upper hand, so to speak.

Social distancing is the new norm, however differently is may be defined by CDC, 6 feet or 9 feet. Frankly, we used to refer to this as “personal space.” I have always been a fan of personal space, but 6 to 9 feet is a bit hard, especially since many of our friends are hard of hearing. While currently used to describe the distance needed to present the spread of a contagious disease, it may persist in some form as a newly learned behavior that helps with a reduction in colds, fly, and COVID. The extreme form of social distancing requires we remain in our home, with only immediate household members.

I continue to be amazed at how quickly COVID slang has become integrated into our daily language.

  1 comment for “COVID Vocabulary continued: Virtual Hug, Fist Bump, and Social Distancing

  1. January 27, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    Great post, Carol Ann! You are a sharp observer of what is going on during this pandemic. Thank you!

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