physical distancing

noun

Definition of physical distancing

: the tendency to avoid close contact with others Body language exposes our relationship to others. There is the confident demeanor of the self-assured, the plodding gait of the downhearted and the physical distancing that characterizes fear.— Marcia Manna … JFK was notable for his physical distancing—part of his immense, glamorous reserve. He hated crowds—of course, with good reason—while expertly playing them like a grand piano.— Robert Whitcomb specifically, medical : the practice of maintaining a greater than usual physical space between oneself and other people or of avoiding direct contact with people or objects in public places during the outbreak of a contagious disease in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection : social distancing The main thing that we can all do, is what is called social distancing. I like to use the phrase 'physical distancing.' … Now you're going to be spending much more time in your house, spending time away from people … to limit transmission of the COVID virus. Physical distancing takes away the idea we can still talk to loved ones … — Adam Rosh The WHO added that they were now using the term "physical distancing" rather than "social distancing" to describe the importance of maintaining space between people in order to avoid the spread of the virus. — Manon Dark Additionally, Kroger will begin implementing new physical distancing measures to help enhance customer and associate safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting Tuesday, Kroger stores are limiting customers to 50% of building code capacity. WRDW.com

First Known Use of physical distancing

1965, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about physical distancing

Time Traveler for physical distancing

Time Traveler

The first known use of physical distancing was in 1965

See more words from the same year

Statistics for physical distancing

Cite this Entry

“Physical distancing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/physical%20distancing. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Comments on physical distancing

What made you want to look up physical distancing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!