‘New Words For Now’ Brings Levity to the Lockdown

A light-hearted new charitable initiative is built around a new vocabulary that describes our strange COVID world. 

NewWordsForNow.com benefits mental health in Canada.

Smeyeling. Footwhere. Masknesia. These are just a few of the new words being used to describe the daily situations—some humorous, some annoying—that Canadians are encountering during the pandemic.

From our constant attempts to smile using only your eyes, to uncertainty about whether we’re properly following the directions in public places, to the realization we’ve left our mask at home, the pandemic has created a whole new set of new circumstances for everyday life.

Now, a new initiative called “New Words for Now” is providing new expressions that sum up this strange and sometimes confusing era. They include:

Zoomates: The name given to the people we spend time with on video chat;
Smeyeling: Smiling with your eyes because that’s all you’ve got to work with;
Masknesia: Realizing you’ve left your mask at home;
Footwhere: That feeling you get when you’re unsure how to follow the directions in public places;
Sighfive: Disappointed you can’t make contact when high-fiving;
Fognocle: When your eyewear gets steamed up from your mask.

There are six phrases in total, and they’re featured on merchandise including sweatshirts, tote-bags, notebooks, and masks being sold at NewWordsForNow.com. All of the proceeds will go towards supporting Canadian mental organizations including CAMH and Jack.org.

Each item features a charming illustrated representation of a particular phrase created by Toronto designer and illustrator Sara Kralovanszky.

Developed by Mixtape, a Toronto advertising agency, “New Words for Now” is taking a whimsical approach to addressing the toll the pandemic is taking on Canadians mental well-being as it approaches nearly one year since it was first identified in Canada.

“What we're all facing with this pandemic is new and difficult, and we don't even have the words we need to talk about it. New Words For Now sets out to change that in a light-hearted way that recognizes we're all going through the same thing.” said Mixtape’s Creative Director Greg Shortall. “Hopefully one day we can look at these items as a memento of these strange times. Almost like a badge of honour: ‘I was there and I got the t-shirt’ – or in this case, the crewneck sweater.”

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