Coronavirus has been all over the news recently, but what does the word mean? The origin is well documented: the term was first used in a 1968 edition of Nature magazine, where a team of eight microbiologists suggested that the family of diseases "be called the coronaviruses, to recall the characteristic appearance [sc. recalling the solar corona] by which these viruses are identified". Corona is the Latin word for "crown" (we can recognize this in words like coronation, coronary, and Corona beer); through Ancient Greek korone, that ultimately traces to Proto-Indo-European sker, meaning "turn" or "bend". The official name for the disease, Covid-19, is an abbreviation for Coronavirus Disease 2019, the year when the pandemic started, and the official name for the pathogen itself is SARS-CoV-2, for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2.
Adam Aleksic, a rising sophomore studying linguistics and government at Harvard University, has been described as the internet's sixth most famous etymologist. He also has disturbing interests in politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.