COVID-related new words in French dictionaries

A metalexicographic and corpus-based analysis


  • Giovanni Tallarico University of Verona



neology, monolingual dictionaries, French, COVID-19


Research at the intersection of neology and lexicography is attracting more and more attention worldwide. Although differences in this respect may be substantial, dictionaries are not always particularly responsive, as far as the inclusion of new words or meanings is concerned. However, major events such as the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated the process in lexicography for several major European languages. In a fast-changing world, reactivity appears to be a must. However, this new-found enthusiasm for new words does raise some methodological questions, such as the scope of a general dictionary and the criteria for word additions. This article analyzes French lexicographic neologisms related to COVID-19 in Le Petit Larousse Illustré and Le Petit Robert by focusing on lexical incorporation in macrostructures, word-formation processes, and definitions. It also draws comparisons with Wiktionnaire entries, in order to show how responsive and accurate French dictionaries are in recording and describing COVID-related new words.

Author Biography

  • Giovanni Tallarico, University of Verona

    Giovanni Tallarico is Associate Professor in French linguistics at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Verona. His research areas include monolingual and bilingual lexicography, neology, terminology (especially concerning tourism), and translation studies. He is Main Proposer and Chair Candidate of COST Action CA22126 – European Network On Lexical Innovation (ENEOLI;, funded by the European Union for 2023–2027.


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How to Cite

Tallarico, G. (2023). COVID-related new words in French dictionaries: A metalexicographic and corpus-based analysis. Lexicography, 10(2), 138-160.