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Cleavage proves divisive in Cambridge’s words of 2014

December 19, 2014

by Alastair Horne​​​​​
wordsof2014
Other dictionaries may choose faddish novelties as their words of the year, but here at Cambridge, we like to do something different. We look for the words that have seen sudden surges in searches over the course of the year – words that have been baffling users of English and driven them to their dictionaries for explanation.

Some of the most remarkable rises in search frequency occur when a popular news story involves obscure words or phrases – items that are unlikely to have featured in a student’s vocabulary notebook. Sometimes these words are obscure because they are technical: September’s vote on Scottish independence saw a massive rise in searches for the words ‘devolution’ and ‘referendum’, as our users tried to understand precisely what the vote involved. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

December 17, 2014

by Kate Woodford​​​​
letscelebrate
With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, we thought it a good time to look at the language of parties and celebrations. First, let’s start with the word ‘party’ itself. To have or throw a party or, less commonly, to give a party is to arrange a party: We’re having a party to celebrate the end of the exams. If you provide the place where the party happens, often your home, you may be said to host the party: Rosie has offered to host the party at her place. A party for someone who is leaving a place or a company is often called a farewell party or a leaving party: We’re having a farewell party for a member of staff. An office party is a party for a company’s colleagues. Meanwhile, a party that you throw for a person who knows nothing about it in advance is a surprise party: It’s a surprise party so it’s all top secret.

A celebration is a party or other social event on a special day or occasion: There were lively New Year celebrations all over town. The verb celebrate is also used, meaning ‘to take part in a special social event’: We always celebrate our wedding anniversary by going out to dinner. If you celebrate in style, you celebrate in a place that is expensive and attractive: For those who like to celebrate in style, there are the castle function rooms. To mark the occasion means ‘to celebrate a particular event or day’: It’s not every day you turn twenty-one. I think we need to mark the occasion! Read the rest of this entry »

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New words – 15 December 2014

December 15, 2014

cinderella_surgery

cinderella surgery noun cosmetic surgery to the feet

We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

[www.dailymail.co.uk 25 April 2014]

 

 

nocebo noun a harmless substance that creates harmful side effects in patients (as a result of the patient believing it to be harmful)

Some patients may develop symptoms and side effects purely because they’ve been told about them, known as the so-called ‘nocebo effect’.

[http://www.health24.com/ 01 April 2014]

fear extinction therapy noun a post-traumatic stress treatment that involves reliving a traumatic event in safe conditions in order to unlearn an automatic feeling of alarm

The problem is that ‘fear extinction’ therapy […] works well with recent memories but not so well with deeply entrenched, long-term horrors.

[Smithsonian (US culture and science magazine) May 2014]

About new words

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Is Joe there, please?: phrases to use on the phone

December 10, 2014

by Liz Walter​
phrases_phone
Sometimes really simple things can be difficult to do in other languages, because you need to know the exact words and phrases that people use. Making phone calls can be like that. How do you say who you are? How do you check who you are talking to? How do you ask someone to take a message for you?

Firstly, what should you say when you answer the phone? The most common thing is simply to say hello. However, in a more formal situation, you may want to give your name:

Hello, Max Roberts speaking.

If you are answering the phone in a company, it is common to say the company name or the name of the department you work in:

Hello, Cambridge Building Supplies. Max speaking.

            Hello, international sales. Read the rest of this entry »

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New words – 8 December 2014

December 8, 2014

reverse_showrooming

reverse showrooming noun the practice of researching a product online and then going into a store in order to buy it

Brick and mortar retailers have been noticeably on the decline over the past few years due to stiff competition from online retailers. Fortunately, ‘reverse showrooming’ is helping these many retailers develop an all new strategy for to [sic] responding to many of these challenges.

[www.fusionrms.com 14 April 2014]

the reputation economy idiom the purchase and sale of services based on a consumer’s or vendor’s reputation, which is determined by consumer evaluations of a business or vendor evaluations of a consumer

It’s this interesting new relationship between consumers and business. We’re calling it the reputation economy, and the street goes both ways.

[WNYC/PRI: The Takeaway (news and information) 09 May 2014]

digital redlining idiom discrimination against a customer by a business based on ratings the customer received in the past

The White House […] had a big-data report that was out last week that specifically calls for new privacy laws to combat, potentially, discrimination by data, and there’s a new term that’s coming out for this, which is ‘digital redlining’.

[WNYC/PRI: The Takeaway (news and information) 09 May 2014]

About new words

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A nice, relaxing bath (Adjective order)

December 3, 2014

by Kate Woodford​​​
nicerelaxingbath
When we want to describe something, one adjective sometimes just isn’t enough! There may be two – or even three – things we want to say about something or someone. What order, then, do we put these two or three adjectives in? Consider the following:

He’s such a sweet little boy!

She seemed like a nice, polite girl.

It’s a really lovely, bright shade of blue.

There was a horrible, stale smell in there.

Notice the adjectives that are used first in each of these sentences – sweet, nice, lovely, horrible. They are all subjective descriptions – words that show our feelings or opinions about something. They do not actually tell us any precise facts about the boy, the girl, the shade of blue or the smell. They don’t, for example, tell us how big the children are or anything about the precise qualities of the shade of blue or the smell. These subjective adjectives, then, are the ones that go first. In other words, whatever your first feeling or opinion about something or someone, (Are they nice, nasty, gorgeous, unpleasant, etc.?), say this first! Read the rest of this entry »

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New words – 1 December 2014

December 1, 2014

SOLE

SOLE abbreviation self-organized learning environment; an environment in which learners use technology to teach themselves collaboratively without a teacher

An excellent SOLE Toolkit is available to download for free from the TED website, which provides a framework for primary school children between the ages of 8–12 years old.

[http://noseyparka.me.uk/ 08 April 2014]

FTW abbreviation slang for the win; internet abbreviation indicating enthusiastic emphasis

Kongregate Recruitment for Akatsuki (naruto FTW!), post your thoughts on the discussion board or read fellow gamers’ opinions.

[www.kongregate.com 13 April 2014]

OP abbreviation original poster; used to denote the first person who writes on an online thread

Holy crap… because of your link, people replied to the original post from 5 months ago and the OP saw it and agreed to do
a new one.

[www.reddit.com 22 April 2014]

About new words

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