Coronavirus, COVID (in capital letters), finde or desescalada are some of the more than 2,500 terms that have been incorporated or modified in the Spanish Language Dictionary, as announced this Tuesday by Paz Battaner, director of the Dictionary and academic of the RAE. These words and others such as quarantine (“to put someone in quarantine”, according to the new definition) are the Academy’s response to the many queries it received during the first months of 2020.
The entry of COVID in the Dictionary with capital letters shows a certain exceptionality. RAE sources explain that the commonly used acronyms that function as common names are incorporated into the Dictionary with capital letters and once their use becomes popular they change to lower case. It did not happen with UFO, which was included for the first time in the 2001 edition and in lower case. In this case, covid is a word that has spread among Spanish speakers in the last 10 months.
COVID, a feminine or masculine term, is defined as “acute respiratory syndrome produced by a coronavirus” and it is clarified that the acronym comes from English (coronavirus disease). The word coronavirus is explained as “a virus that produces various respiratory diseases in humans, from colds to pneumonia or IDOC”. Confinement has added a meaning: “Temporary isolation and generally imposed on a population, person or group for health and safety reasons”.