Do you know your pino fridgio from your doughverkill and quarantini? Bone up on the latest buzzwords with our guide to the wickedly funny new phrases of lockdown lingo

  • Do you enjoy a quarantini at locktail hour? Catch up with all the lockdown lingo
  • Lockdown lingo is the words and phrases being coined to describe lockdown life 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The English language is constantly forced to adapt. Even in times of crisis, new words are born. 

Do you enjoy a quarantini at locktail hour? Have you encountered a coughin’ dodger? Or are you experiencing doughverkill? 

If you don’t know what these terms mean, then you haven’t been keeping abreast of Lockdown Lingo — the words and phrases being coined to describe life during the coronavirus pandemic.

MARK MASON reveals all …

*That’s the temptation to tuck in to a glass of chilled vino too early – just one of the wickedly funny new phrases of lockdown lingo

Anti-social distancing

Staying well clear of a colleague or neighbour, supposedly on health grounds but actually because they’ve always got on your nerves and now you’ve got a government-sanctioned excuse to give them the swerve.

Blue Skype thinking

A brainstorming session that takes place using video-conferencing technology. 

Same as a normal brainstorming session but without the option of kicking Gavin from Marketing underneath the table to stop him from banging on.

Coughin’ dodger

Someone who physically recoils at the tiniest throat-clear from 20ft away, as if you’d just gone over and personally injected them with the Black Death. 

The type of person for whom the two-and-a-half metre baseball bat needs inventing.

Elephant in the Zoom: The glaringly obvious issue during an online meeting that nobody has the courage to mention – how many doughnuts has Sharon taken on board? (file image)


The tendency of the internet to assault you with social media photo after social media photo from tedious middle-class smugsters desperate to show off the amazing rock-salt focaccia they’ve just made.

Elephant in the Zoom

The glaringly obvious issue during an online meeting that nobody has the courage to mention. 

Shouldn’t someone tell Colin the truth about that lockdown moustache of which he’s clearly so proud? 

Can Jessica’s curtains really be that colour, or is the contrast on her webcam playing up? And just how many doughnuts has Sharon taken on board?


What happens when your curve-fattening gets completely out of hand. 

There’s only so much Camembert and vintage port your body can stand before your ankles rise up — and indeed out — in rebellion.

Hoard senseless

What you find yourself doing in Sainsbury’s when you notice that a particular item — artichoke hearts, for example — are down to their last couple of tins on the shelf. 

This is despite the fact that you haven’t eaten, purchased or thought about artichoke hearts since 1987.

Fancy a quarantini during locktail hour? A quarantini is a cocktail using ingredients that happen to be at the back of your booze cupboard (file image)


The secret but very real joy you’re experiencing at not having had to go anywhere, speak to anyone or do anything (not even change your clothes) for the past six weeks.

Jerk From Home

THIS refers to that certain type of man in your office who wears novelty socks, quotes Monty Python films at length and refers to emails as ‘electric letters’. 

He’s still doing all these things, but remotely rather than in person. 

This makes them, as if you could ever have thought this possible, even more annoying than usual.

(There’s also Shirking From Home — the person who never did any work in the office, now not doing any work in their kitchen.)

Krueger cut

Self-administered haircut performed during lockdown, with results so disastrous that you might as well have let Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare On Elm Street hack away at your bonce with his blade-tipped fingers.

Locktail hour

The time at which you allow yourself to have the first alcoholic drink of the morning. Day! We meant day.

A Krueger cut is a haircut performed during lockdown – you may as well have let Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare On Elm Street hack away with his blade-tipped fingers (file image)


Checking your Facebook and Twitter for the latest death tolls, depressing headlines and expert forecasts of how many years it’ll be before your grandchildren are allowed to wave at you through reinforced glass from a distance of no less than 300 yards.


State of having been locked down for so long that you repeatedly cry out, ‘Oh, for God’s sake, when is this nightmare ever going to END?!’

Pinot fridgio

The temptation you feel whenever you open the fridge to get the milk for a cup of tea, but then notice that chilled bottle of white lurking so provocatively at the back. 

(Also try Furlough Merlot.)


Cocktail with ingredients carefully chosen for their quality of being ‘the ones that happen to be at the back of your booze cupboard right now’. 

Baileys and Pernod Against The Wall, anyone? How about a Cointreau and rhubarb gin chaser? 

Come on, you’ve nothing to lose but your inhibitions. And possibly stomach lining.

’Rona’ loner

Revoltingly smug person ‘secretly enjoying not having to speak to people’ — yet insists on reminding everyone about it 24/7.

Believe it or not nemesis-scrolling has nothing to do with stalking your enemies. In fact, it means checking Facebook and Twitter for death tolls and depressing headlines (file image)


The great fall in global morale experienced whenever the President of the United States reveals his latest thinking on the causes of, or possible solutions to, the coronavirus pandemic.


‘Accidentally’ forgetting to include your know-it-all uncle on the list of people you tell about the family’s online quiz next Wednesday night.


The outbreak of meaningless and badly thought-through opinionating that always occurs in response to any new coronavirus development/statistic/forecast/Presidential press conference.


Humourless pronouncements, delivered every day at 5pm by the government’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, about the need to do exactly what he says, at the time that he says, in the manner that he says — because he knows where you live.


What your current spouse or partner will be the minute this lockdown is over.


The selfish so-and-sos who went out and bought all the Dr Oetker on day one of quarantine, thereby depriving the rest of us of the chance to bombard Instagram with carefully-filtered snaps of our resplendent ciabattas.


Ruining everyone’s spirits in an online meeting by telling them the latest predictions you’ve heard about how we’ll all be locked-down until 2028 at the earliest, and even then it’s only going to be people under the age of 12 in Kettering who’ll be allowed out.

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