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2020 Words I Never Want to Hear Again

2020 hasn’t been good for much, but it has ushered in a whole new set of vocabulary – COVID-19 Speak, if you will. Some of these words and phrases relate directly to the virus, while others reflect the last several months of hunkering down at home.

We don’t know about you but most of us on the YT Media editorial staff would LOVE to never hear most of these phrases or terms again: 

What’s for dinner?

How is it that with every person in my family spending ample time at home these past months, I am the one who is expected to answer this question every single day? If I never get asked again, it won’t be too soon.

P.S. Combine this question with the silence I get when I ask people what they would like from the grocery store.

We have no food.

Followed by this question: “What would you like me to buy?” 

Then this response: “You know what I want.” (No I don’t.) 

And the grande finale: After grocery shopping: “I can’t believe you didn’t buy [fill in the blank].”

Canceled (Not to be confused with “Cancel Culture”)

I’m a planner. Filling out my old-fashioned paper calendar with family trips, reunions, shows, concerts, and school milestones is one of my favorite things to do. Now, everything has been canceled, postponed, rescheduled, and canceled again and there’s no sense that we’ll be able to mark dates on the calendar anytime soon. I’m using a pencil with a good eraser for all of my calendaring these days.


This word used to signify the ability to adapt to change. When we first used it, we felt hip and kind of cool. Now it means that the world has shut down and we need a new plan that might or might not be relevant by the time we set the new plan in place–it reminds me of a childhood favorite, “If you give a mouse a cookie.”

The New Normal

I know, I know – this is the way things are now. This is the new normal. I get it! Enough! I want the old normal back. I fully realize, in my adult brain, that we need to be able to adapt and change, but have you met me? I don’t even like to update the operating system on my phone or computer because it will look different and I fear the unknown. Not knowing how long this weird state of affairs will last is messing with my head, big time. 

An Abundance of Caution

This is one of those phrases that I think is supposed to make me feel safer, but in reality, when I hear it, I know something bad is coming. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are canceling this fun thing you and your kids were really looking forward to doing.” That’s what that means. 

Virtual School/Distance Learning/Remote Learning

Beam me to a blissful time when I don’t know what these things mean. Enough said. 


Virtual school, virtual meetings, virtual yoga, virtual workout class, virtual happy hour – I miss people, real people, in person people. It’s not normal. I am done with Virtual everything and anything.

Hop on a Zoom

Whee! That sounds so fun, like I’m going to get on my sweet little Italian Vespa scooter and go get a panini and latte with friends at the café! Oh, wait, what? It’s another endless session of staring at myself on a screen? No thanks, I’ll pass.

Can we go somewhere? 

This is not an unusual question in the summertime, but it’s taken on a new meaning in pandemic time. See also: I’m bored.

Are there any plans I need to know about this weekend?

Like what? We can’t see people, travel or go anywhere – what would such plans be? This originates from our “dropping” plans on them 5 days before the weekend. Ironic since their plans get made-changed-made-changed-made-ultimately canceled. (See also: canceled, above.)


This used to be something we used to connect to the WiFi when you were out and about. Now, we are not out and about, so who needs it? Also, and more to the point, it now refers to a place that is surging with a potentially deadly virus. Ewww.

Pods and Bubbles

There’s something vaguely dystopian sci-fi about these terms. And yet, never are we more comfortable than when we are safely enveloped in our bubbles. (Remember when bubbles were those things our kids had to fill in on standardized tests? Can you believe that was a happier usage of that word??)

Silver Linings

Stop. Just stop. Yes, there have been silver linings, but overall this virus just sucks. Can’t we just say that?

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have to go hop on a Zoom to discuss the new normal of virtual learning, because in-person school has been cancelled out of an abundance of caution due to hotspots in our area, and we have to figure out what pods and bubbles to put our kids in. The silver lining? We’re getting really good at the pivot. 

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