physical distancing


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.

First Known Use of physical distancing

1965, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for physical distancing

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The first known use of physical distancing was in 1965

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Dictionary Entries Near physical distancing

physical distance

physical distancing

physical double star

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Cite this Entry

“Physical distancing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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