Author Archive


New words – 19 October 2015

October 19, 2015


unicorn noun a start-up technology company with a value $1 billion or more from fundraising

The PayPal group’s close ties with the current crop of unicorns — a collection of some of the most valuable technology start-ups ever seen — suggest its influence is undiminished.

[New York Times (US broadsheet) 01 April 2015]


PayPal Mafia noun former PayPal executives involved with new technology start-ups

For now, however, the collective résumé of the PayPal Mafia is largely unblemished.

[New York Times (US broadsheet) 01 April 2015]

return-free filing noun a possible method of tax-return filing in the US in which the Internal Revenue Service would precalculate taxes for individuals using information already supplied by employers and financial institutions

Mr. Ventry said that if return-free filing were operated nationally, tens of millions of people with simple tax situations might have to do just a few minutes of work at tax time every year.

[ (New York Times) 15 April 2015]

About new words


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.

[ 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’.

[ 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.

[ 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.

[ 23 April 2015]

About new words


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.

[ 20 April 2015]

About new words


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.

[ 09 June 2015]

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

[ 27 May 2015]

About new words


New words – 21 September 2015

September 21, 2015


simulator sickness noun a nauseous feeling caused by moving your head too fast while playing a virtual reality, simulation, game

Certainly, while you’re wearing a VR headset you can look around in a game, but the faster you move your head the more prone you might be to simulator sickness.

[WNYC: The Takeaway (news and current affairs) 16 June 2015]

courtsider noun a person who attends an elite tennis match and covertly sends live information to betting syndicates about the points being scored

This has led many other syndicates to employ courtsiders. Steve High says he has been told reliably that 75 people were at last year’s Wimbledon final, ‘sending information back or betting on their own’.

[ 22 April 2015]

megagame noun a very large board game which is played by very many people, or a role-playing game with many players and lasting for several hours

Welcome to the world of Megagames: 300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game

[ 02 May 2015]

About new words


New words – 14 September 2015

September 14, 2015


micro-condo noun a very small apartment

While the tiny house movement has been well documented, a bigger idea for smaller living space is on the rise: that of the micro-condo or tiny apartment.

[ 21 April 2015]



last-time buyer noun a middle-aged person looking to downsize to a more modestly sized property

The ‘last-time buyers’ stuck with 7.7 million spare rooms: Huge shortage of retirement housing and bungalows leaves over-55s in unsuitable properties

[ 02 June 2015]


nail house noun a house that the owners refused to sell to a developer and that still stands when the area around it is developed

One ‘nail house’ in Wenling, Zhejiang province, had a main road built around it when the owner refused to move

[ 08 June 2015]

About new words


New words – 7 September 2015

September 7, 2015


HEN noun a happy empty nester: a mother who is enjoying the freedom of having had children leave home

Having the house to themselves was another reason to celebrate being a HEN – a third said their home was now a ‘calmer place’.

[ 02 June 2015]

But one handle (a new one that’s presumably been dreamed up by a young ad man somewhere in W1) has reduced me to spitting in anger. Apparently, according to the newspapers this week, I am one of a new breed of HENS. Yes, that’s me, I’m a hen.

[ 15 June 2015]

FOGO abbreviation informal fear of going out; a light-hearted term to talk about not wanting to go out with friends

First we had FOMO (fear of missing out); only for it to be replaced by FOGO: fear of going out.

[Grazia (UK celebrity magazine) 15 June 2015]

TBF abbreviation to be fair: text abbreviation

She apparently answered, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ We’d have said the same TBF.

[Grazia (UK celebrity magazine) 15 June 2015]

About new words

Cambridge Conversations

Commenting on developments in the English language


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