social distancing

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Swiss "Keep Your Distance" social distancing sign

Alternative forms[edit]



social distancing (uncountable)

  1. (epidemiology) The practice of maintaining physical distance between people to reduce the spread of communicable diseases by isolating those with such diseases in quarantines, maintaining space between individuals, and prohibiting certain activities.
    • 2004, United States Department of Homeland Security, “Biological Incident Annex”, in National Response Plan, page 7:
      The Governor of an affected State implements isolation and/or social-distancing requirements using State/local legal authorities.
    • 2006, World Health Organization Writing Group, “Nonpharmaceutical Interventions for Pandemic Influenza, International Measures”, in Emerging Infectious Diseases, volume 12, number 1, →DOI, page 81:
      Nonpharmaceutical interventions outside of healthcare settings focus on measures to 1) limit international spread of the virus (e.g., travel screening and restrictions); 2) reduce spread within national and local populations (e.g., isolation and treatment of ill persons; monitoring and possible quarantine of exposed persons; and social distancing measures, such as cancellation of mass gatherings and closure of schools); 3) reduce an individual person’s risk for infection (e.g., hand hygiene); and 4) communicate risk to the public.
    • 2006 February 6, Donald McNeil Jr., “States and Cities Lag in Bird Flu Readiness”, in The New York Times[1]:
      Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine, the medical arm of the National Academy of Sciences, was more pessimistic. “We’re completely unprepared,” Dr. Fineberg said, adding that if an epidemic struck in the next year, the quarantine-based strategy called social distancing “is likely to be all we’re going to have as a strategy.”
    • 2020 April 8, “Network News: Crossrail heads the construction projects placed on hold”, in Rail, page 12:
      A spokesman confirmed that work would continue on projects such as the construction of a grade-separated junction at Werrington [...] where compliance with government advice and "social distancing can be guaranteed".
    • 2020 November 4, Paul Bigland, “At no point have I felt unsafe...”, in Rail, page 47:
      All I spot are lots of anglers on the canal at Wigan, indulging in a sport where social distancing is de rigueur!
    • 2021, Neil Arwin Mercado, “Death, huge crowd shut down Angel Locsin’s birthday community pantry”, in Philippine Daily Inquirer:
      A huge crowd—visibly not observing social distancing—turned up Friday at the birthday community pantry organized by actress Angel Locsin in Quezon City.


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  • Swedish: social distansering (calque)



social distancing

  1. present participle and gerund of social distance

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