New words – 12 October 2015

October 12, 2015


climate justice noun the holding to account of those responsible for climate change and reparation for those most affected by it

I just finished reading the pope’s message to the world on climate justice.I feel energized and have joined a group of people at my church, St. Joseph University Parish, who feel the same.

[www.buffalonews.com 29 June 2015]

When the General Synod is held in July its members will be asked to vote on holding a day of prayer and fasting for ‘climate justice’.

[www.independent.co.uk 19 June 2015]

carbon bomb noun a set of conditions that will likely give rise to a catastrophic increase in carbon emissions in the future

The ‘carbon bomb’ stored in the thawing Arctic permafrost may be released in a slow leak as global warming takes hold, rather than an eruption, according to new research.

[www.theguardian.com 09 April 2015]

fracklog noun oil or gas that will be fracked when oil and gas prices are higher but that for now, remain in the ground

The number of wells waiting to be hydraulically fractured, known as the fracklog, has tripled in the past year as companies delay work in order to avoid pumping more oil while prices are low.

[www.bloomberg.com 23 April 2015]

About new words


Tree huggers and climate change deniers

October 8, 2015

by Colin McIntosh​
tree huggers
The climate debate is one that has predictably generated a large amount of new vocabulary, some of it originally specialized scientific terminology that has been taken up by the media and is now common currency. Some of these terms are new additions to the Cambridge English Dictionary.

The two opposing sides in the climate change debate have given each other labels that encapsulate their very different outlooks. Tree hugger is the epithet applied to someone who is very ​interested in ​protecting the ​environment, usually used with a humorous intention by those who disagree with giving it special protection. And tree huggers can label their opponents climate change deniers, i.e. people who refuse to accept that the earth’s climate is warming, or, if they do, that this is due to human influence. Read the rest of this entry »


Take the rough with the smooth (Idioms to describe dealing with problems)

October 7, 2015

by Kate Woodford​
Readers of this blog will know that from time to time, we focus on frequent idioms. This week, we’re looking at idioms that we use to describe the way we deal with – or fail to deal with – problems and difficult situations.

Starting with the positive, if you are in a difficult situation and you take it (all) in your stride (UK)/take it in stride (US), the situation does not upset or worry you: Sarah often has problems with staff but she takes it all in her stride. Someone who weathers the storm or rides the storm is not harmed during a difficult period. You might say this of a person whose reputation is not damaged despite difficulties: For a while, the scandal threatened to destroy the president, but somehow he weathered the storm. Meanwhile, to get/come to grips with a difficult situation or task means to succeed in starting to deal with it: This is a problem that the government really needs to get to grips with. Read the rest of this entry »


New words – 5 October 2015

October 5, 2015

face training

face training noun a system of facial exercises designed to tone the facial muscles and improve the skin

[…] everyone from Drew Barrymore to Jennifer Lopez has apparently embraced the anti-ageing technique of ‘face training’.

[Grazia (UK celebrity magazine) 15 June 2015]



functional training noun a fitness method that involves movements that would be used in everyday activities, such as lifting, chopping or climbing

But from a fitness perspective, functional training is actually pretty great.

[The Guardian (UK broadsheet) 25 April 2015]

fitspo noun informal short for ‘fitspiration’; the inspiration to get fit and strong (and to look fit and strong, especially in selfies posted online)

Fed on a diet of health blogs and images labelled as ‘fitspo’, we risk confusing what is healthy with what attracts the most clicks.

[www.theguardian.com 20 April 2015]

About new words


Out of Africa

October 1, 2015

by Colin McIntosh​
out of africa
A recent discovery off the coast of the island of Taiwan, made by local fishermen, is causing scientists to re-examine their ideas about early humans. The skull of a male human, now nicknamed Penghu Man, was found to differ significantly from the skulls of the Homo Erectus species previously known in the area at the same time. Did the new jaw belong to a new species? Or was it the property of an individual of the species Homo sapiens, recently arrived in China from Africa? This is just one of the stream of news stories that appear regularly in the media, reflecting a natural human curiosity about where we come from. This area of popular science has a large literature and a growing readership.

Several new words from the terminology of palaeoanthropology have recently entered the Cambridge English Dictionary, reflecting this increased interest.

Some of these are derived from the Latin word homo, meaning ‘man’ or ‘human’. The word Homo itself is applied to the ​genus (a group of species) that ​includes ​modern ​humans and other ​extinct ​human ​species. Hominin and hominid have had an interesting change in meaning, now reflected in the Dictionary. Previously the word hominid was used to refer to a member of a human species; this meaning has now been taken over by hominin. Hominid is now used by scientists to include all of the great apes, including gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos (a new entry to the Dictionary, reflecting their acceptance as a separate species from chimpanzees), and orang-utan, as well as humans. Read the rest of this entry »


Lectures, lessons and seminars: words and phrases for talking about studying (2).

September 30, 2015

by Liz Walter​
I passed my exams
As promised last time, this post continues the theme of study, and once again there are many differences between British and American English.

In the UK, the school year is divided into three periods, called terms. In the US, the school year can be divided into two periods, called semesters, or three periods, called trimesters. Many US universities have summer periods, so their year is divided into quarters. Students have a timetable (UK)/schedule (US) to tell them the times of their classes. To talk about what is taught in a particular subject area, we use the words syllabus or curriculum.

The person in charge of a school is called the headteacher in UK English and the principal in US English. Read the rest of this entry »


New words – 28 September 2015

September 28, 2015


dolla noun slang money

Can I have some dolla?

[Heard in conversation (UK teen) 29 June 2015]





peak adjective slang very bad

You’ve got seven exams this week? That’s peak!

[Heard in teenage conversation 03 June 2015]

cheeky adjective informal used to describe something that is considered fun but slightly illicit

David supported Cruz at his football match and found time for a cheeky pint.

[www.express.co.uk 09 June 2015]

Liam Payne can’t resist a cheeky cigarette before joining Niall Horan to fly to New York for SNL.

[www.mirror.co.uk 27 May 2015]

About new words


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