Social Distancing

Two things. 

First, I predict that when the Oxford Dictionaries and Merriam-Webster reveal their word of the year, they will choose “social distancing” as their ‘word of the year’.  I know that might come as a surprise to some people because “social distancing” is actually two words, but that sort of rule-breaking has not swayed scholars in recent years. 

Secondly, “social distancing” has become a popular phrase that I am already tired of. The phrase, ‘social distancing’ reeks of Orwellian creepiness.  To me, it is misleading and confusing. 

“Quarantined” is a very elegant and succinct word, and it more accurately describes what we are experiencing now and it ties us to our past.  Not so long ago, if you contracted malaria, you were quarantined.  If you succumbed to bubonic plague, you were quarantined.  If members of society wanted to inhibit the spread of disease, you were quarantined, or you could choose to quarantine of your own accord, if you were concerned of spreading a disease.

Let’s investigate the origin of the word quarantine, shall we?

Quarantine: From Latin quadrāgintā

From Italian quarantina (“forty days”), the period Venetians customarily kept ships from plague-ridden countries waiting off port,[1] from Latin quadrāgintā (“forty”)

A period of 40 days. A sanitary measure to prevent the spread of a contagious plague by isolating those believed or feared to be infected.

Is that too much to ask?

Be safe, be prepared and stay in touch with those you hold dear.  This time will pass and we will have new challenges to occupy our time. 

2 thoughts on “Social Distancing

  1. Social distancing is the wrong description for what their asking people to do. Physical distancing is what their asking us to do. Yes quarantine is the other part but has nothing to do with their use of the phrase social distancing.


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