A line to visit the church of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (Pau BARRENA / .)

Since the coronavirus pandemic began in January in a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, a question has been recurring about what is the right way to talk about the disease: is it “el COVID-19 ″ or “la COVID-19 ″ ?.

Although in feminine it may sound weirder and is used less frequently, the truth is that we have read and heard it that way, especially in the Spanish media and newspapers, which consider it to be a feminine word. « The illness.

And that is why the RAE, once again, has had to clarify what it had already advanced in the month of May last: that both forms are valid.

And it is that the public body of consultations of this institution on Twitter assured: « The acronym‘ COVID-19 ′ that gives name to the disease normally used in masculine (« COVID-19 ») due to the influence of the genus « coronavirus » and other viral diseases (« Zika », « Ebola »), which take the name of the virus that causes them », begins in his explanation that he has three parts.

And continues: « But the use in feminine (“the COVID-19”), as the WHO does in its pages in Spanish, is justified for being a ‘disease’ (‘disease’ in English) the nucleus of the acronym (‘Coronavirus disease ‘). Both are considered valid ”.

The third tweet of the RAE thread concludes: “Its lexicalization as a common name with the form‘ covid ‘, lowercase and omitting the numerical part of the acronym, follow the same pattern ”.

In March, at the start of the pandemic, quarantine, confinement and pandemic were the three most searched words in the Dictionary of Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), which broke a historical record with 100 million digital inquiries, representing an increase in inquiries from the 30% compared to February.

The situation caused by the pandemic of coronavirus -which is not yet in the Dictionary- was the trigger for linguistic consultations, which, in 58%, are carried out via smart-phone.

« By trend, the searches related to the current exceptional situation are the majority », they explained from the RAE, and among the most searched words are state, virus, epidemic, confine, watch, contingency, decimate, care, raise awareness, chinstrap, confined, escalate, mediate, unemployment, face mask or innocuous.

Just like coronavirus neologisms, the words are not in the dictionary either de-escalated, de-scale, sanitize or covid, and it is surprising that other concepts with a large number of searches are hoax, democracy, fascism or demagogy, as well as grass or cat.

Of the 100 million queries, most come from Spain, Mexico, and Argentina, and the United States, with its large Spanish-speaking population, ranks seventh, newspaper El Mundo reported.


100 million queries: the most searched words in the SAR during the pandemic

The caustic response of the SAR to a query about the « gender » of brown that went viral