This 12 months, if we’re fortunate, shall be all about “safety”, particularly the quantity of it we will count on to accumulate towards varied strains of Covid-19 from varied vaccines. Will it quantity to a sort of common shielding of people who find themselves then allowed to go about their regular enterprise?
The phrase comes from the Latin protegere, that means “to cowl in entrance”, like a defensive wall or navy defend, and has since been adopted to explain different boundaries, equivalent to solar cream or contraceptives, that customers hope shall be dependable.
It has additionally been adopted as a threatening euphemism, as within the mob idea of “safety cash”, or extortion, although to name the excessive costs charged for a number of the coronavirus vaccines “safety cash” would likely be too cynical.
Within the outdated days, “safety” may additionally imply diplomatic reasonably than pharmacological immunity – exemption from arrest or different inconvenience on the orders of a monarch or different energy. Maybe within the post-Brexit world, these Britons who want to journey overseas might want to carry, as medieval emissaries as soon as did, a “letter of safety”, or vaccination certificates. Little doubt it, like our new blue passports, might be printed in Poland.
• Steven Poole’s A Phrase for Each Day of the Yr is printed by Quercus.