COVID-19 Terminology

One of the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that as a community we have become familiar with a whole range of technical terms that we never previously would have had much use for. Some of these terms are newly coined (‘social distancing’, for example) while others were restricted to the domains of science and medicine until recently (like the term ‘coronavirus’ itself). This terminology collection is an attempt to compile these terms in the case of Irish. We hope that this resource will be of benefit to translators, journalists, educators and anyone wishing to discuss technical aspects of the pandemic through the medium of Irish.

The terminology research was conducted in Terminologue, a terminology management system developed by the Gaois team. The basic English and Irish terms were recorded there and comprehensive Irish data was added - domains, definitions, examples of usage, sources and grammatical information. Irish terms were found primarily in the media, in government publications and in European Union publications. Our goal was to give as accurate an insight as possible into the terms being used in written Irish to discuss COVID-19 and its impact.

This is a descriptive collection rather than a prescriptive one. For this reason more than one Irish term is often listed under the same entry. The Irish terms have a source listed if they are to be found in one of the major lexical or terminological resources – www.té, www.focló or A usage example is provided for most terms. These are real examples and the source is provided as a hyperlink. The definitions were written by the Gaois team except where otherwise specified.

Gaois is grateful to the Terminology Committee at Foras na Gaeilge for supporting the project and approving a number of new terms on our behalf.

This project received funding from the DCU COVID-19, Research and Innovation Hub. We will be adding to this collection from time to time. Keep an eye on the @gaois_ie Twitter account for the latest news. Feedback is welcome via Twitter or at