One of the unexpected phenomenon spawned by the pandemic has been the widespread adoption of the word “jab” as a synonym for shot.

It’s a British word, but it has American origins as a recent article in the Wall Street Journal pointed out.

The Journal notes that the word has its fans (Walter Shapiro at the New Republic) and its critics (journalist Matthew Yglesias and Politico reporter Josh Gerstein).

The reason you are seeing jab so often points to a deeper instinct among writers in general and journalists in particular to avoid what “journos” call “word echos.”

A word echo is when a writer uses the same word twice in close proximity. That’s what I did in the preceding paragraph when I wrote “journos” so as to not repeat journalists.

Sometimes the desire to avoid word echos leads to madness. For example, some financial journalists writing about gold call it “the yellow metal” on second reference.

As the coverage of Covid proliferated, writers sought different ways to say the same thing.

Jab didn’t enter the Covid lexicon when the pandemic first broke. It started to show up in November 2020 and skyrocketed a month later when the first vaccine was administered in mid-December.

We know that because its visible on Bloomberg’s news trends function: Run {NT JAB <GO>} on the terminal.

Sadly, news analytics also show that the surge in news articles that cite jab has been followed by a steady decline.

Presumably, that is due to a slowdown in vaccinations