COVID Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

Looking for information on the coronavirus? You’re in the right place! Read on to discover everything you need to know about the meaning of COVID-19.

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Unless you have been hiding out in a bunker over the last few years, you’ve likely heard a thing or two about the coronavirus disease — aka, COVID-19. 

Caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, COVID was discovered in December 2019 and has since taken the lives of over six million individuals worldwide. 

Interested in learning more about COVID? Read on to discover our complete guide on COVID. 

What Is the Definition of COVID?

You likely already know that COVID (ˈkō-​vid) is an acute respiratory illness. Just to ensure that you truly understand what our word of the day means, let’s take a look at a few dictionary definitions:

  • The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “covid” as a noun that refers to a disease caused by a coronavirus — especially Covid-19. 
  • According to the National Cancer Institute, COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 
  • Gillings School of Global Public Health says COVID is an acronym — with “CO” standing for “corona,” “VI” representing “virus,” and “D” for “disease — for coronavirus disease

Many folks are under the impression that the Chinese city of Wuhan is responsible for the outbreak of COVID; however, there is not enough evidence to support this theory. That said, scientists identified the first human coronavirus back in 1965. 

Why Is It Called Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a big group of viruses with crown-like protrusions on their surface. The word “Coronavirus” comes from the Latin word coronam, which means “crown.” 

That said, there are many types of coronavirus, such as:

  • 229E — can cause the common cold 
  • MERS-CoV — causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) 
  • SARS-CoV — leads to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS)

What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed a fever in addition to other symptoms of acute respiratory illness, such as:

  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

Although not as common, here are a few more symptoms patients have experienced with the illness:

  • Skin rashes
  • Brain fog
  • Hoarseness
  • Pink eye 
  • Light sensitivity
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • New confusion
  • Bluish lips or face

If you experience any of the symptoms above, call your doctor or a health care provider — especially if you have issues breathing. Severe cases may require hospitalization, with medical treatment that might consist of intravenous (IV) medications, assisted ventilations, and supplemental oxygen. 

How Does COVID-19 Spread?

COVID spreads by respiratory droplets released into the air when someone with the virus coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes. These itty-bitty droplets can be inhaled by a person nearby, which causes them to get sick, too. 

In other words, COVID is highly transmissible. What’s worse, the virus can spread even when someone is infected but has no symptoms — this is known as asymptomatic transmission. 

When someone is infected and hasn’t developed any symptoms yet, it’s referred to as presymptomatic transmission, another way the coronavirus can spread. 

Related Terms and Definitions

As you continue on your journey to understand COVID, you’ll likely come across a ton of new words that may cause some confusion if you don’t know what they mean. 

To prevent this from happening, we’ve put together a quick list of related terms and definitions for you to review below: 

  • Epidemiology — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), epidemiology is a branch of medical science that handles the incidence, distribution, and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations
  • Pandemic — An epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread over a large region
  • Pfizer — The name of an American multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporation responsible for making the first COVID-19 vaccine 
  • Omicron Variant — A variant of SARS-CoV-2 that was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by South Africa on November 24th, 2021 
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) — A viral respiratory illness caused by the Middle East respiratory-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV) 
  • Immunity — The ability to resist infection
  • Antibodies — Disease-fighting proteins in the body that play a key role in the immune system
  • Delta — The name of a highly transmissible COVID-19 variant that was first detected in India in 2020
  • Asymptomatic — The absence of symptoms
  • Novel Coronavirus — A new, previously unidentified strain of coronavirus

Take your time to memorize these related terms, or feel free to come back to this guide in the future if help is needed! 

Bottom Line

In short, COVID is the acronym used when referring to the covid-19 pandemic. “CO” stands for “corona,” “VI” stands for “virus,” and “D” stands for “disease.” This virus is highly transmissible, so it’s best to avoid close contact with sick people.

If you feel a little under the weather, don’t panic — simply find a COVID-19 testing center. Wear a face mask and practice social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19 until you get your test results back, especially if you know that you previously came into contact with an infected person.

If it comes back positive, get in touch with your health care provider as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. If it comes back negative, on the other hand, simply take it easy and get some rest until your health improves.


  1. Principles of Epidemiology | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 
  2. Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers | U.S Federal Drug Administration
  3. Definition of COVID-19 | UNC 
  4. Definition of COVID-19 | NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms
  5. Covid | Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary