What Does OMICRON Mean?

OMICRON is a variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19).

On November 26 2021, the World Health Organization's (WHO) classified a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as "of concern" and gave it the designation OMICRON. The new variant was first detected on November 11, in Botswana, and was identified as having around thirty mutations, more than twice as many as the Delta variant.

In keeping with the convention of naming new variants of the coronavirus after letters of the Greek alphabet (in order to avoid stigmatizing countries where variants are first detected), the WHO selected the letter OMICRON, the 15th letter of the alphabet. Although the WHO had only used 12 letters of the Greek alphabet before the new variant emerged, it was decided to skip the 13th and 14th letters, Nu and Xi, because Nu sounds like "new" in English and Xi is a common Chinese surname (which is even shared by Chinese President Xi Jinping).

What Is the OMICRON Symbol?

Watch a video on how to use computer codes to insert symbols.

An OMICRON looks like the letter O. Of note, the word OMICRON literally means "little O." (This contrasts with OMEGA (Ω), which means "great O".)

Prior to its association with COVID-19, OMICRON was best known as a planet in the science-fiction animated TV series Futurama, created by Matt Groening (who also created The Simpsons). The Omicronians of planet Omicron Persei 8 were large aliens led by Emperor Lrrr (pronounced "Lurr"), who were bent on world domination.

Omicron Persei 8 - Futurama Predicting the Future

For a list of COVID-19 related definitions, check out our page of Coronavirus Terms.

Keep up to date with the COVID-19 situation at the WHO's official Coronavirus page.

Summary of Key Points

"SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Variant" is the most common definition for OMICRON on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Definition:SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Variant
4: Difficult to guess
Typical Users:
Adults and Teenagers

Image for OMICRON

When I write OMICRON, I mean this:

meaning of OMICRON
The OMICRON SARS-CoV-2 variant was first detected in Botswana.


An Academic Look at OMICRON

OMICRON is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. The OMICRON symbol is written or typed in uppercase as "O" and in lowercase as "o," exactly the same as the letter "o" in English.

Find out how to type all of the Greek letters on our Greek letter symbols page.

Example of OMICRON Used in a Text


See Also

How to get a lowercase omicron symbol How to get an uppercase omicron symbol BC (because, before Christ, before coronavirus, birth control) COVIDIOT (a person who acts irresponsibly during the coronavirus pandemic) FAUCI-OUCHIE (COVID-19 vaccination) H1N1 (swine flu virus) HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) HSV2 (herpes simplex virus 2) OMICOLD (disparaging term for omicron variant of sars-cov-2 virus)