COVID-19 Glossary

Agnotology : made up of the private prefix a- from greek gnôsis, knowledge and the suffix -logy from greek logos, studies, science, speech. Agnotology or science of ignorance is a neologism created in 1992 by robert proctor, lecturer of the history of sciences (at the university of stanford) to refer to the study of the different forms of ignorance and particularly the way the society maintains, produces, or spreads it. Agnotology analysis the cognitive mechanisms which lead to the formation of doubt among the population, notably the methods used by lobbies when the interests are threatened by scientific revelations.[1].

Animosity : the feeling of malice, the desire to harm somebody, a systematic attitude of antipathy towards others.[2].

Objectification : the fact of treating a person like a thing, reducing man ti the state of an object[3]. Synonym of sub-substantification and refication, it is a mental process transforming abstract concepts into concrete realities, into objects.[4].

Christianophobia : critic, opposition, mistrust, hostility, discrimination, repression, and persecution put toward christianity.

Covid-19 : refers to the coronavirus disease 2019, caused by a virus of the coronaviridae family, the sars-cov-2. This infectious disease is a zoonosis whose origin is yet to be found, which emerged in december 2019 in the city of wuhan, in the province of hubei, china and then spread abroad creating a world-wide epidemic. The covid-19 is a respiratory disease which can be a fatality for old people and for people suffering from chronic diseases[5]. . It is transmitted through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or during a breath[6].

Credibility : it is the character of what is credible, that is what we could believe, what is susceptible to be raw, something or somebody to which credit can be given, who is reliable, trustworthy. The credibility of a media is built from the policies and procedures implemented to allow consummers to form an opinion in the quality, impartiality and accuracy of the proposed information and to use it with confidence, knowingly[7].

Disinfodemia : formed from the prefix « dis- » and from the suffix « -infodemia », it is the same as « epidemic » and « pandemic » originating from the greek word « épi » (for “ épidémie ”) meaning “on top” and “démos” meaning “people” resulting to “which circulates among the people”. The covid-19 pandemic of disinformation which has a direct effect on the lives and livelihood of thousands of people around the world. Lies and disinformation are proven fatal and their ability to sow confusion on the personal and political choices which contribute to saving lives[8].

Disinformation : the act of giving out false information (purposely communicating false information aimed at cheating). So, it is a communication process which makes use of medias to transfer partially wrong information either with the aim of cheating or influencing the public opinion and encouraging them to act a certain way[9].

Hate speeches : it is an expression used to describe a general speech which is extremely negative and represent a risk for social peace. According to the ministers of the council of europe, hate speeches includes all forms of expressions which spread or justify racial hate, xenophobia, anti-semitism or any form of hate based on intolerance which incites or makes the apology[10]. It is also an abusive language targeting characteristics of specific groups such as the ethnic group, the religion, the genre/type, the sexual orientation (warner hirsch berg 2012).

Hate : a violent feeling that makes you want to hurt someone, to rejoice in the evil that is happening to them[11].

Hoax : English word meaning hoax, farce, false alarm, derived from the magic incantation hocus-pocus, abracadabra, used in conjuring tricks.  Although in English the plural is hoaxes, in French the generally accepted plural is hoax because the word has entered everyday language and the “x” is a plural mark.  The term hoax is an Anglicism which designates a false or unfounded rumor which develops in the form of a chain, spread mainly by internet, via email, blogs and social networks.  A hoax is often initiated intentionally or even maliciously.  It is relayed by people more often in good faith who do not bother to verify its veracity.  A hoax takes the form of a message received, of serious appearance, of a moving, revolting or disturbing character and which invites the Internet user or the interlocutor to share it with his acquaintances.  if the Internet user or the interlocutor considers the sender to be someone they trust or if he does not take the time to verify the information, he is thus contributing to its spread, which can then be very rapid and qualified as viral.[12].

Infodemia : the etymology of this word is the same as epidemic or pandemic which comes from Greek and means pan, all, demos, people.  The concept of infodemia was first introduced in 2003 by an American reporter for the Washington Post to denounce false information related to the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic.  Infodemia is the overabundance of information, of widely varying veracity, concerning a public order problem and particularly a topical one ;  which hinders its resolution by preventing the general population from finding reliable information and acting accordingly.

Information : from the latin informare, to shape, form, information is the action of informing, of being informed, of imparting knowledge of a fact or of researching it (example : news press) ; information is news, information, documentation on something or someone brought to the attention of someone (example : newsletter) ;  it is also news, the news disseminated by the media : radio press, television, internet.  Finally, in computer science and telecommunications, information is an element of knowledge (voice, data, image) capable of being stored, processed or transmitted using a medium and a standardized codification method.[13]

Infox : portmanteau created from information (info) and intoxication (intox).  With the misleading information phrase, it was proposed in october 2018 by the french language enrichment commission to become the equivalent of english fake news in the french language.  The term fake news is a neologism for deceptive information deliberately designed to mislead and be disseminated in the mass media in order to reach a large audience.  Synonyms : disinformation, hoax, lie, rumor, hoax, canard, deceit.  The spread of infox is facilitated by the speed of dissemination and the amplification effect of the internet (social networks, blogs, messaging, etc.) Those who are at the origin of these attempts at disinformation seek to take advantage of it.  Which can be political, financial, ideological, strategic if it is a state, etc.[14]

Insult : word or expression, the purpose of which is to pass a negative and derogatory judgment towards a person or a group of individuals, by denigrating their physique, their intelligence, their private life or their entourage.[15]

Intox : used in colloquial language, the term intox (sometimes written intox) refers to the fact, figuratively to intoxicate, to deceive the spirits.  Its use has developed thanks to the « info ?  Propaganda ?  « from the program » double game « broadcast on france 2 in the early 1990s. Intoxication is a deliberate or insidious action which consists in propagating false, tendentious, untrue or unverified information by passing it off as true.  It is often used as the opposite of info, an apocope of the word information.[16]

Malinformation : true information but which is taken out of its context.  It is shared with the intention of harming and damaging the reputations of those targeted.[17]

Mind manipulation : refers to an attempt to take control of the mind and behavior of an individual or a group of individuals through the use of techniques of persuasion and mental suggestion that allow to bypass the critical sense of the  person, that is, their ability to judge or refuse information.  Mental manipulation differs from domination by the fact that it tries to get the victim (s) to behave on their own, as the manipulators intended and without them being aware of the external suggestion.[18]

Misinformation: true information, taken out of context.  The sharing author is unaware of its deceptive nature and does not intend to harm.[19]

Pandémie : from the greek pan which means « everything » and demos which means people, it is an epidemic spread to the entire population of a continent, or even to the whole world.[20]

Public policy  : a specific empirically grounded and analytically constructed social and political phenomenon based on experiences. It refers to the action of an authority or an institution holding full powers that are legitimized by the government with a view to regulating a specific sector.  It is the set of coherent and targeted decisions taken at different legal and action levels that sets the objectives that the actors are responsible for applying with a view to solving a social problem.[22]

Post-truth :

translation from post-truth english, a term that appeared in ralph keyes’ work the post-truth era published in 2004, composed of the latin adverb post, after then, since, and truth, from latin  veritas, the truth, the truth, the effective existence.  The term post-truth describes a situation in which emotions and opinions are given more importance than the reality of the facts.  It is based on the idea that it is easier to manipulate and influence public opinion by playing on emotions and demagoguery than it is to rely on hard facts.  It is often used to characterize certain electoral discourse that appeals to emotion, ignoring the facts, but especially to show the influence of social media and the internet on the choice of voters.  Traditional media are not the only source of information.  Accused of being the voice of the elites and of hiding the truth, they have lost the confidence of internet users who prefer to turn to « information » with which social networks overwhelm them and which are considered more credible because relayed by a person of our  entourage, real or digital.  Contradictory, taken out of context or sometimes misleading, this information is not analyzed for lack of time, means or the will to do so, putting the demand for truth in the background in the public debate in favor of emotions and  beliefs.

Prejudice : from the latin praejudicium, itself derived from praejudicare meaning to prejudge, it is a wrong, infringement of interests, damage caused to someone.

Propaganda : is the act of disseminating, propagating, making known, and gaining acceptance for a doctrine, an idea, an ideology, a political theory.  Its purpose is to influence public opinion, to change its perception of events, people, products, to convert, to mobilize or to rally supporters.  Propaganda takes the form of the dissemination of information that is always biased and distorted on a large scale, sometimes insidious.[25]

Racism : theory according to which certain races are superior to others.[26]

Vaccine : constitutes a therapy consisting of stimulating the immune system so as to elicit a specific response from the body against an antigen, whether viral, bacterial, cellular or even molecular.  Vaccines are obtained from harmless strains of viruses or bacteria, purified antigens or antigen analogs.  They are commonly used to prevent an individual from developing disease, but they can also be used once the condition has been established to direct an immune response against an invader.  The word vaccine comes from the fact that the first treatment of this type used the vaccinia virus (vacca = cow in latin) to immunize subjects against smallpox .[27]

Xenophobia :hostility towards a group of people or an individual considered alien to his own group.

[1] La Toupie (2020) consulté sur

[2] Dictionnaire français (2021) consulté sur

[3] (1951)

[4] Henri Piéron, Vocabulaire de la psychologie (1951)

[5] Julie Kern (2020) consulté sur 

[6]  World Health Organization (2021) Consulté sur

[7] La Toupie (2020) consulté sur

[8] Posetti.J, Bontcheva, K. (2019). Désinfodemie : déchiffrer la désinformation sur le COVID-19

[9] La Toupie (2020) consulté sur

[10] Conseil de l’Europe (2020) consulté sur  

[11] Le Robert

[12] La Toupie (2020) consulté sur

[13] La Toupie (2020) consulté sur

[14] La Toupie (2020) consulté sur

[15] Linternaute (2020) consulté sur

[16] La Toupie (2020) consultée sur

[17] Derakhshan, H. (2019). Une taxonomie de la guerre de l’information.

[18] La Toupie (2020) consulté sur

[19] Derakhshan, H. (2019). Une taxonomie de la guerre de l’information

[20] Larousse (2020) consulté sur

[21] Dictionnaire des politiques, Laury Boussaguet, Sophy Jacky, Pauline ravinet, ed les presses nationales des sciences politiques de Paris (2004)

[22] Politique des transports « un état des lieux de la recherche » Vicent Kaufmann, Julie Barbey

[23] La Toupie (2020)

[24] Linternaute (2021) consulté

[25] La Toupie (2020)

[26] (2020)

[27] Futura-sciences : définition vaccin (2021) consulté sur

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