New words – 1 September 2014

September 1, 2014


raingarden noun a planted sunken area of garden that absorbs rainwater runoff from roofs, drives, etc.

Financial incentives drove up numbers of green roofs in Germany 19-fold in just 12 years. In Melbourne, Australia, a five-year scheme is establishing 10,000 “raingardens” — flower and vegetable beds underlain with sandy soil to help water filter away.

[www.telegraph.co.uk 03 January 2014]

greenhouse noun the part of a car that includes the roof and windows

While the production version carries over many cues from the concept [version of the car], the higher-set greenhouse from the Impreza reveals the truth: There’s no new platform beneath that flared bodywork.

[Car and Driver (US automotive magazine) Jan 2014]

frost-quake noun an earthquake-like phenomenon brought on by extreme cold. It is caused by the expansion of moisture in the ground as it freezes, leading to the sudden release of energy and an accompanying loud boom.

In fact, they are merely hearing the after-effects of the frost quakes – or cryoseism – which are more commonly found on a glacier in the polar regions.

[www.dailymail.co.uk 05 January 2014]

About new words


Victory! (Winning words)

August 27, 2014

by Kate Woodford
With the 2014 Commonwealth Games recently taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, our thoughts have turned to sporting success and we’re looking at the idioms and collocations (=word combinations) that are used to describe victory.

When a person or team succeeds in winning a game or competition, they may be said to gain a victory over their opponent(s): The Welsh side gained a victory over their rivals. Another way of saying this is that the game ends in triumph for one side: The game ended in triumph for Argentina. If they win with ease, they are sometimes said to cruise to victory: Juventus were never really in trouble as they cruised to victory over their Spanish rivals. An individual or side that cruises to victory may also be said to run rings around their opponents or (informal) wipe the floor with them: United rang rings around/wiped the floor with City. A victory in which the winning person or team is very much better than their opponent may be called a convincing win/victory or a comfortable win/victory: United began their tour with a convincing victory over LA Galaxy./Murray warmed up for Wimbledon with a comfortable victory over his opponent. Read the rest of this entry »


New words – 25 August 2014

August 25, 2014


kninkles plural noun wrinkles above the knee

No more kninkles (that’s knee wrinkles): Now there’s a £300 lunchtime lift that promises to banish that saggy skin.

[www.dailymail.co.uk 26 February 2014]



thutts plural noun informal an undefined area between the thighs and the buttocks, caused by excessive weight and lack of muscle tone

First there were cankles. Then there was back fat. Last week we were told about swoobs, mere moments after we’d come to terms with our big fat thutts.

[www.dailymail.co.uk 30 January 2014]

bio cremation noun a process for disposing of the body of a deceased person using water and potassium oxide

A greener way to go is ‘bio cremation’, in which the body is completely broken down by heated water and potassium hydroxide.

[AARP the Magazine (US over-50s magazine) Jan 2014]

About new words


Mad as a box of frogs? Phrases that suddenly become popular.

August 20, 2014

by Liz Walter
In 2009, the UK was shocked, angered and entertained in almost equal measure when revelations about the expense claims of our MPs appeared in the media. Amidst the accusations of greed, a few examples became iconic, such as the MP who claimed for cleaning the moat around his home or the one who bought a floating duck house for £1,645 and expected the taxpayer to foot the bill.

Of course, this behaviour increased the perception that our MPs are out of touch with the realities of ordinary life, and it seemed for a while as though nobody could speak about the affair without uttering the phraseThey just don’t get it.’ That phrase, more than any other, seemed to sum up the feelings of the nation and was repeated to the point of tedium.

A phrase that is currently enjoying popularity is miss the memo. Someone who is surprised not to know about something may say ‘Oh, did I miss the memo?’ or ‘I seem to have missed the memo’. Read the rest of this entry »


New words – 18 August 2014

August 18, 2014


fly grazing noun the practice of leaving animals to graze on private land without first obtaining permission

New law to tackle fly grazing problem in Wales granted

[www.farmersguardian.com 28 January 2014]






canned hunting noun the hunting of animals which have been bred to be hunted. The animals are kept within a confined space and cannot escape.

‘Canned hunting’ of white lions is despicable – and it must stop
South Africa’s president must put an end to this cold-blooded slaughter, says Ripper Street star Jerome Flynn

[www.theguardian.com 11 March 2014]

lulz-farming noun gathering humorous content to put on a website

Now there are employees of large corporations paid to manage the social accounts of their companies, using official feeds to act like crazy students, having their antics reported on lulz-farming websites, reposted and retweeted by thousands of personal accounts.

[Computer Shopper (UK computer magazine) March 2014]

About new words


Reported speech – how to say what someone told you

August 13, 2014

by Liz Walter
We often need to tell people what someone else has said to us:

He said he wanted to come with us.

She told me she hadn’t seen the document.

This is what the textbooks call ‘reported speech‘, because you are reporting what has been said to you.

To use reported speech correctly, you have to be careful about what tense you use. The basic rule is that you look at the tense the speaker used, then you go back one tense to report it.

So, for instance, if someone says something in the present tense, you report it in the past tense: Read the rest of this entry »


New words – 11 August 2014

August 11, 2014


whip noun slang a car

I don’t know about you guys, but my whip is basically the Millennium Falcon aka hella old and beat up, but it gets the job done.

[http://four-pins.com/ 24 February 2014]

ULEV abbreviation an ultra-low emission vehicle (one that emits less than 75g of CO2 per kilometre)

Learn more about ULEVs [The Guardian (UK broadsheet) 15.03.14]

In January, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg led the formal unveiling of Go Ultra Low, a £2.5m campaign encouraging UK motorists to adopt Ultra Low Emission Vehicles – or ULEVs, for short.

[www.telegraph.co.uk 19 February 2014]

range-extended adjective describes a vehicle that combines an electric motor with a petrol engine that keeps the battery charged

Today, I regularly hear plug-in fans moan, complain and generally be mean about people who make the choice to go with a range-extended EV like the Vauxhall Ampera or a plug-in hybrid like the Toyota Prius Plug-in over electric-only cars like the Nissan LEAF and Renault Zoe

[www.thegreencarwebsite.co.uk 17 January 2014]

About new words


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