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All the vocabulary you need to describe your love life right now


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Times of crisis and social upheaval inspire innovative new vocabularies: just look at World War II, which gave us ‘radar’ (Radio Detection And Ranging), or the coining of ‘Brexit’ in 2016. So it’s perhaps no surprise that Covid-19 has kicked the speed of linguistic change into overdrive, spawning its own new language of neologisms, portmanteaus and abbreviations.

Our dizzying level of online connectivity means words like ‘quarantini’, ‘covidiot’ and ‘maskne’ have slipped easily into common parlance – we're prepared to bet a few have made their way into your WhatsApp chats in recent months. And who can deny that witty Tweets seem to spread faster than the virus itself these days?

Little lexical light has been shed, however, on the real crisis situation going on behind the scenes: dating. Trying to conduct any sort of love life during a pandemic is an uphill task made no easier by ever-multiplying obstacles, from the curfew to social distancing.

Thankfully, we’ve created a new set of words to help you describe those pandemic-specific romantic situations. Think of this as your handy dating dictionary, a companion to troubled times. Go forth and fall in love: just don’t kiss on the first date.


viral load:

The long list of people you hurriedly matched with on dating apps at the beginning of lockdown, with whom you’re yet to exchange a single word.

Contact tracing:

Quickly adding your date on Find my Friends while they’re in the loo.


Finally finding a significant other with whom you can hunker down for Lockdown 2.0, resulting in a mass-block of all your other dating app matches.

Transmission rate:

How quickly you exchange WhatsApps after a date.


Attempting (along with everyone else) to book a Saturday night table at a good restaurant that isn’t at 5pm or 9pm.

Social insistence:

Seeing someone you fancy in real life and actually introducing yourself at the bar. Radical.


When the person you’re on a date with is so boring/offensive/downright terrible, they bring your mood right down, too.


Officially repurposed in the dating world as an abbreviation for What Fresh Hell. An accurate description of a date with a grim-fectious person (see above).


When your date is cancelled and you have to stay at home, on your own, for the third Friday night in a row.


Trying to spot your date when literally everyone looks the same in a mask. Once you’ve finally located them, it’ll lead to the…


Those initial, awkward few minutes on a first date, when you hide your true self – and half your face.


A general, satisfying swear word to employ when dating of any kind during these tortured times feels just too arduous.

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