The Latest Lockdown Lingo

As national restrictions are replaced by a disappointingly similar tier system, we look at the words that are already driving us to distraction.

In June, OGN asked if you were fully conversant with the new terminology and phraseology, but matters have moved on from the days of Quarantinis and furlough Merlot. However, the drinking parlance (with or without food) is still prevalent. Either way, there’s one thing we can all still agree on: an irritation with the new lockdown-lite lingo we’ve had to try and master in the run-up to Christmas. Terms that meant nothing even a few weeks ago are now being bandied around as if the reality they describe is in any way normal (aka “new normal”).

As England leaves Lockdown2 and finds itself, for the most part, in something weirdly akin to another lockdown, and we're so far past 'circuit breaker' (a phrase that flummoxed numerous electricians), here's a guide to the latest lingo so you don't feel confused when you go to the pub. Or anywhere else.

Covid Cuffing: Hurriedly locking down a potential romantic partner so you can face the coming winter together. You’ll need to be prepared to move in with them immediately, however, if you wish to consummate the relationship.

Virtual Santa: Real Santa is too dangerous this year. He might give your children coronavirus. Nobody wants a virus thrown in as part of their grotto experience, especially not if it’s one of those irritatingly expensive ones where you feel ripped off even before your kids have opened their tiny breakable gift. The solution, sort of? Companies are offering virtual “meet Santa” experiences (on zoom, or some other screen arrangement) as a replacement to the sitting-on-a-male-stranger’s-knee experience. Even though it’s not entirely clear how they’ll get the tiny breakable gift to your child...

Wet Pubs: This is a traditional boozer that hasn’t gone gastro. If you’ve come to the pub seeking an overpriced foodie confection, you’re in the wrong place. Not least because it will be closed in the toughest tiers, since it’s been deemed far more dangerous than a not-wet pub. Why? Frankly, we have no idea but it seems likely to be down to an absence of any...

Substantial Meals: This, of course, is something you wouldn’t find in a wet pub. Oh how we laughed when we discovered, courtesy of Environment Secretary George Eustice, that this could include a scotch egg. That’s right, a boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat will protect you from the ghastly virus. How we laughed! We should have cried, but that wouldn't be terribly British, but all seemed OK when Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, weighed in to confirm that scotch eggs were, indeed, classified as a substantial meal. Provided they were served at a table. You couldn't make this stuff up! But it's true.

Christmas Bauble: No, not something you hang on the tree. This is the jargon some wags (no, not footballers' wives and girlfriends; but possibly) are using to describe your household and the two others you’re legally allowed to “bubble” with this Christmas. In any event, it's not to be confused with a Christmas Bublé”. As in Michael. Look, nobody promised any of this was going to be fun.

Sex Ban: Health Secretary Matt Hancock has decreed that in tears (sorry, tiers) two and three we can only sleep with people we already live with; a state of affairs otherwise known as marriage.

Lockdown history:

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