New Chinese Vocabulary for Covid-19

What does it all mean?

We live in a post-Covid world now. The Covid pandemic has not only completely changed our way of life, but also changed our language habits. Some specific vocabularies have been gradually formed, the speed of vocabulary change reached the highest point during the Covid pandemic.

Recently, it's been a difficult time for many of us in Shanghai. During this hard time, most people try their best to stay positive, take good care of themselves, spend more time with loved ones and learn new skills or improve our knowledge. Spend the time learning new vocabularies and lockdown keywords and using them while talking to your neighbors is also a good choice.

Commonly Used Keywords During Lockdown

Snatch Groceries

抢菜 | qiǎng cài

The phrase "抢菜" goes viral during the lockdown. It describes the action that people put their efforts (e.g. stay up late) to get groceries online or offline due to the shortage of supplies.

Group Purchase

团购 | tuán gòu

Since many apps for snatching groceries stopped working, the phrase "团购" became extremely popular. People live in one community try to order food in groups. They would have to rely on a "团长" (tuán zhǎng, group purchase leader) to have their food delivered to door once it's arrived at the gate of the community.

Disinfection and Sterilization

消杀 | xiāo shā

The word "消杀" has been commonly used in daily communication. "消杀" is not a new word, "消" has to be short for "消毒" (disinfection) and "杀" must be short for "杀菌" (sterilization). Reducing "消毒杀菌" to "消杀" is a logical conclusion that sounds like a degree higher.

Auto translation of "消杀" on WeChat


捅 | tǒng

The verb "捅" describes the action of taking a Covid test. For example, "捅鼻子" stands for nose swab, while "捅喉咙" represents throat swab.

Community Party

小区派对 | xiǎoqū pàiduì

Since the lockdown, most people in Shanghai are forced to stay at home for a long period. "小区派对" is the event neighbors organize in their community, coming out to their balconies, dancing and singing together. Some communities even livestream their parties.


解封 | jiě fēng

"解封" means exit the lockdown. Shanghai has announced plans to reopen gradually after spending more than six weeks in lockdown and stamping out COVID-19 transmission in 15 of its 16 districts. The opening will be rolled out in phases, with city authorities saying "normal life" will resume on June 1.