Author Archive


New words – 12 May 2014

May 12, 2014


transient electronics noun electronic circuits that dissolve or decompose when they are no longer needed or in use

The money for Rogers’ transient electronics work comes mainly from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a Department of Defense unit that funds some of the wildest ideas in science.

[Smithsonian (US culture and science magazine) Dec. 2013]

the sharing economy noun an economy driven by peer-to-peer lending and other such initiatives, often enabled by the Internet

You’ve most likely seen news stories about the ‘sharing economy,’ with seemingly every blogger and op-ed columnist offering a take on its significance.

[ 07 October 2013]

trolleyology noun the examination of the philosophical problem that requires a choice that one person be sacrificed in order to save several people

After several decades maturing in university philosophy departments, trolleyology has burst into the public eye with two new books coming out at once.

[New York Times Book Review (US weekly book review) 24 November 2013]


New words – 5 May 2014

May 5, 2014


ransom spam noun spam emails that introduce ransomware to your computer

Ransom spam tricks you into thinking there is a problem with your computer and wanting to charge you to unlock or fix your PC.

[ 15 November 2013]


infinity scroll noun a page on the Internet that keeps on loading more ads and links as you scroll it down, so that you never reach the end

Infinity scroll keeps looping (start over and over)

[ 20 December 2013]

power-up noun a reward in a computer game that gives the player an advantage

And that got entrepreneurs excited: if everyone’s so keen on power-ups and achievements, why not have them do something beneficial in the pursuit of those things?

[GQ (UK men's magazine) Nov 2013]

splinternet noun a (possible future) internet that is split into many parts because of national or commercial interests, laws, restrictions, etc.

If countries proceed with data localization and similar efforts, the Internet will be broken up into a ‘splinternet’ of smaller national and regional pieces, with barriers around each of the splintered Internets, he added.

[ 14 November 2013]

Search giant Google Inc on Wednesday warned that U.S. spying operations risk fracturing the open Internet into a ‘splinter net’ that could hurt American business.

[ 13 November 2013]


New words – 28 April 2014

April 28, 2014


evo devo robo noun evolutionary developmental robotics – robotic design drawing on biological development and natural selection

Most robots [...] physical form remains fixed [...] But it doesn’t have to be that way, say pioneers of ‘evo devo robo’.

[Smithsonian (US culture and science magazine) Dec. 2013]

neuromorphic adjective able to behave like or copy the behavior of the biological synapses of the human brain

I.B.M. and Qualcomm, as well as the Stanford research team, have already designed neuromorphic processors, and Qualcomm has said it is coming out in 2014 with a commercial version.

[New York Times (US broadsheet) 29 December 2013]

hutch up phrasal verb to move in with someone else at an early stage in a relationship

Young Londoners ‘hutch up’ to curb rental costs

[ 19 November 2013]


New words – 21 April 2014

April 21, 2014


eyebomb verb to stick small, googly eyes on inanimate objects, thereby turning them into an amusing approximation of a face

Try This Halloween Decorating Idea: Eyebomb with Googly Eyes

[ 11 October 2013]


gelfie noun informal a selfie photograph taken at the gym

While us mere mortals wouldn’t dream of sharing a picture of ourself looking red-faced and sweaty pumping iron, it seems the gelfie is a popular picture choice among stars keen to flaunt their athletic abilities.

[ 07 November 2013]

yogi noun a photograph of themselves taken by someone doing yoga, often for the purposes of posting on a social networking website

[...] the Oxford English Dictionary people announced that ‘selfie’ was to be the official word of the year. Little did they know that all the coolest, on-trend people had already moved on to ‘yogis’ (yoga + selfie) and ‘belfies’ (bum + selfie).

[The Guardian (UK broadsheet) 07 December 2013]


New words – 14 April 2014

April 14, 2014


dead-cat hole noun informal the space between the top of a car tyre and the body of the car

US models will have larger dead-cat holes than European ones. Cat lovers can gripe to the EPA,

[Car & Driver (US automotive magazine) Oct. 2013]

banking desert noun a neighbourhood or other area where there are no banks

From our member station WYSO, Lewis Wallace reports on a recent branch closure in Dayton, Ohio, that creates a banking desert nearly five miles wide.

[NPR: Morning Edition (US news and public affairs) 13 November 2013]

concierge medicine noun a sector of medical practice where extra attention is given to wealthy patients able to pay a high price

Members of the affluent classes routinely question the merits of doctors who do take insurance. [...] This psychology, along with cost-cutting strategies pursued by insurance companies [...] have driven the field of concierge medicine.

[New York Times (US broadsheet) 08 December 2013]


New words – 7 April 2014

April 7, 2014


unplugged wedding noun a wedding at which no one is allowed to bring phones so that there will be no photos posted to facebook or instagramming

Unplugged weddings are becoming very popular here in the UK and have great advantages for all involved in the wedding. An unplugged wedding simply means that you’ve politely asked your guests not to use phones, cameras or other devices during your wedding or at least during the wedding service or ceremony.

[ 03 October 2013]

dark sky park noun a nature reserve that is protected from light pollution by night

International dark sky parks are areas where the night sky is protected and lighting controls are in place to prevent light pollution.

[ 06 December 2013]

quietway noun a backstreet, cycle-dedicated road which cars are not allowed on

Mayor Boris Johnson’s Vision for Cycling document also proposes the introduction of so-called Quietways on ‘low-traffic back streets’ for cyclists to use

[ 14 November 2013]

About new words


New words – 31 March 2014

March 31, 2014


digital dementia noun impairment of brain function as a result of overuse of screens, leading, for example, to inability to recall phone numbers/dates of birth/PINs, etc.

So that means that many of us, including kids who grew up with technology and those of us who adopted it in our later lives as part of living in the modern world, may not be destined to digital dementia indefinitely after.

[ 12 November 2013]

digital water cooler idiom informal a social network on which people talk about something such as a TV show or sports event

In recent months [Facebook and Twitter] have engaged in an escalating battle [...] to claim the title of the nation’s digital water cooler as they woo networks and advertisers.

[New York Times (US broadsheet) 02 October 2013]

About new words


New words – 24 March 2014

March 24, 2014


brodog noun slang a young man who watches sports and hangs out in bars with other similarly-minded young men

SNOW! Snow? Snow. … Or if you’re a brodog, you might be currently scheming on some confrontation [snowball fight] at Dupont Circle, since that’s now tradition.

[Lunchline with Clinton Yates (Washington Post blog) 10 December 2013]

dead-cat hole noun informal the space between the top of a car tire and the body of the car

US models will have larger dead-cat holes then European ones. Cat lovers can gripe to the EPA.

[Car & Driver (US automotive magazine) Oct. 2013]

dog shaming noun the practice of taking a picture of your dog with a sign (usually around its neck) explaining its misdemeanour and then posting it on the Internet

Internet ‘dog-shaming’ craze undermines pets’ dignity, say vets who claim unfortunate canines look terrified in online photos.

[ 08 November 2013]

About new words


New words – 17 March 2014

March 17, 2014


anti-vaxxer noun a derogatory word for a person who refuses to have their child vaccinated for a particular disease

Why would the FDA appoint a known anti-vaxxer to their committee?

[ 17 November 2013]

digital autopsy noun a non-invasive autopsy which involves 3-D scanning, rather than the cutting open of the corpse

The UK’s first dedicated digital autopsy centre opens in Sheffield on Wednesday, heralding a potential revolution in the way postmortems are conducted.

[ 27 November 2013]

electroceutical noun electrical stimulation used to provide pain relief

They see a chest of medical devices: ‘smart stents’ that report on how well an artery is healing; a pump that titrates medicine into hard-to-reach tissue; ‘electoceuticals’ that fight pain with electrical pulses rather than drugs.

[Smithsonian (US culture and science magazine) Dec. 2013]

About new words


New words – 10 March 2014

March 10, 2014

soldier_dogEDC abbreviation explosive detection canine: a dog trained to sniff out explosives

This is where MSA security trains what are known in the security trade as explosive detection canines, or EDCs.

[Smithsonian (US science and society magazine) Aug. 2013]

GPU abbreviation graphics processing unit; a processor used primarily for 3D functions

Here they let you know whether your smartphone use requires a quad-core processor, whether to value CPU over GPU and how to get the perfect balance between a thin handset and a long lasting battery.

[ 09 August 2013]

HDR abbreviation High Dynamic Range: a software system for photography that generates a single image incorporating the best light and focus from several consecutive photos of the same scene

But there have been barriers to using HDR. The primary issue is that moving subjects change position from shot to shot in a series.

[New York Times (US broadsheet) 08 August 2013]

ICYMI abbreviation in case you missed it (internet/text etc., abbreviation)

ICYMI: Here’s an amazing video of a man named Jason Mortensen coming to after having surgery and realizing that he’s married to a beautiful woman.

[ 11 September 2013]

About new words


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