6 aesthetic words to brush up your Covid-19 dictionary

  1. 1. Kenopsia

    With a meaning that is as forlorn as the word sounds, Kenopsia refers to the unreal, morose atmosphere haunting a place that once used to bustle with people and activities, but is hushed and abandoned now.

    Think empty plazas and diners, quiet streets, cities devoid of crowds, and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about or perhaps you already do. Kenopsia has become much too common since the onset of the pandemic with the closing down of social spaces, restriction on maximum occupants, social distancing measures and what not. It complements the pandemic’s archetypal horror movie trope by lending it a dystopian undertone.

  2. 2. Koyaanisqatsi

    An ancient Hopi word, Koyaanisqatsi perfectly captures the invariable mood of every sane human since the rise of 2020, every American since 2016 (think Trump), and every teenager since time immemorial.

    Defined variously as “life out of balance”, “life disintegrating”, and “crazy life”, its allusion to the covid-induced (not that we were a lot better off without it) anarchy is what landed it on this list despite its tongue-twisting properties.

  3. 3. Vorfreude

    Ever since covid struck, vorfreude has become the culmination of most dreaming and daydreaming enterprises. The “joyful, intense anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures”, vorfreude has become a quotidian occurrence as we long to get out of this self-imposed social isolation.

    If you have found yourself filled with wonderous prolepsis at thought of visiting the grocery store without hurrying to the toilet paper aisle or visiting your salon before you, as Bridget Jones puts it, “revert to nature — with a full beard and handlebar mustache on each shin, Dennis Healey eyebrows, face a graveyard of dead skin cells, spots erupting, long curly fingernails like Struwwelpeter, blind as bat and stupid runt of species as no contact lenses, flabby body clobbering around,” (and we know we all have), you have experienced vorfreude.

  4. 4. Monachopsis

    Remember that feeling of being spectacularly not at home when you are at home on a Friday or Saturday night? That’s monachopsis. That nagging feeling of being out of place like a fish out of water or a seal on a beach, as we poignantly give up usual Friday nights out to settle down at home (!!), completely maladapted to our surroundings and knowing not what to do with ourselves.

    Of course, this particularly ordeal to humanity from covid is a blessing in disguise for introverts who heave a sigh of relief at being able to be fluidly at home in their intended habitat without their more extroverted peers repeatedly questioning their life choices and dragging them out to abominations that manifest themselves as diners, theatres, pubs or literally any space populated by Homo sapiens, no matter how scarcely.

  5. 5. Adomania

    Now that’s our reaction as we struggle to fathom that March has turned to October, and we are approaching 2021 with astronomical speed. Adomania is the sense that the future is arriving sooner than anticipated, and time flew in the blink of an eye.

    This is not a covid-specific phenomenon. However, covid has done its job in exacerbating it. And it’s a job well done, almost like flying through time zones, except instead of stealing a couple hours of our life, covid stole the entire summer (or both summer and fall? I cannot tell anymore).

  6. 6. Nodus tollens

    The last and the most thoroughly depressing word of this list, nodus tollens, refers to the realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore. You might experience this occasionally or habitually and to different degrees depending on the type and severity of your depression (and let’s face it, universal depression has been another of covid’s gifts to humanity).

    But the excruciating bewilderment (not to mention panic, disorientation, and headache) we endure when it comes to the plot of the year 2020 is indescribable. To say it has been a monumental train wreck would still be an understatement - Virus outbreak? Check. Australia on fire? Check. Acquittal of Trump? Check. Death of Kobe Bryant? Check. Global uprising on racism? Check. Brexit? Check. Locust swarm outbreak in Africa? Check. Major jet crashes? Check

    Now here are some lesser-known but debatably much more bizarre episodes 2020 threw at us--Poland accidentally invaded of Czech Republic (!), a star went missing (!!), and a monkey stole lab results from a technician in India (!!!).


And surprise! I’ve got one bonus word for you and it’s called...


A healthy state of mind and excellence of character, begetting qualities such as prudence, self-control, self-awareness, moderation, and resulting in true happiness.

Ha, just kidding!

We all know that that state doesn’t exist; it didn’t exist before the pandemic, it doesn’t exist now and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if it will after the pandemic. And if anyone claims it does, I consider myself savagely duped.