Monday, May 10, 2021

Getting a vaccination – a shot and a jab

Although I've long heard my British friends in Basel call vaccinations "jabs", I still think of mine tomorrow a "shot". Yet I've noticed that many North Americans online have been calling their vaccinations "jabs". To check if that's an Anglicism, I looked up "jab" in the OED – and in 1914, "jab" as "an injection with a hypodermic needle" was originally slang among American morphine and cocaine users. Yet my sense that, until recently, "jab" was primarily British English is confirmed by the 2012-2013 data in the GLoWBE corpus, which has "flu jab" more common in the UK (354 uses to 11), and "flu shot" in North America (862 uses to 67). (Andrew Shields, #111words, 10 May 2021)



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