Coronavirus rhyming slang. Some jottings on the words spawned by the pandemic

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Title: Coronavirus rhyming slang. Some jottings on the words spawned by the pandemic
Authors: Lillo, Antonio
Research Group/s: LEXIS (Grupo de Investigación en Léxico y Sintaxis) | Lexicología y Lexicografía (LyL)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Filología Inglesa
Keywords: Rhyming slang | Coronavirus
Issue Date: 5-Dec-2022
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Citation: English Today. 2023, 39(3): 224-229.
Abstract: This paper discusses the emergence of new rhyming slang (henceforth RS) for the concepts surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Given that RS is not currently at its most productive (see Thorne, Reference Thorne2014: x–xi; Green, Reference Green2017: 1; Burridge & Manns, Reference Burridge and Manns2022), it may be surprising to learn that a new set of words has been created to refer to a new reality of pandemic life. In this respect, it is worth noting that RS serves one of the main purposes of slang in general (see Partridge, Reference Partridge1970: 6) which is to function as a coping strategy for the primal fears of disease and death. The coping function of slang (see Benczes & Burridge, Reference Benczes, Burridge and Allan2019: 75–76; Burridge & Manns, Reference Burridge and Manns2020) is indeed one of the major reasons for the proliferation of light-hearted slangisms over the past couple of years (Thorne, Reference Thorne2020), including a host of blends (Roig–Marín, Reference Roig–Marín2021a, Reference Roig–Marín2021b)– upwards of 40 per cent of all new coronavirus-related words (Moldovan, Reference Moldovan2020)– and a whole glut of synonyms for COVID–19, the latter a subject I have dealt with elsewhere (Lillo, Reference Lillo2020).
ISSN: 0266-0784 (Print) | 1474-0567 (Online)
DOI: 10.1017/S0266078422000347
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - LEXIS - Artículos de Revistas
INV - Lexicología y Lexicografía - Artículos de Revistas

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