Author Archive


New words – 9 June 2014

June 9, 2014


vanity height noun extra height added on to a skyscraper merely to look impressive, having no useful purpose

Let’s take a look at a few of the skyscrapers that have the highest vanity heights.

[ 31 October 2013]







swacket noun a sweater-like jacket

‘I put on a swacket.’ ‘A swacket. What’s a swacket?’ ‘It’s a sweater jacket.’ ‘Oh wow. Is that what all the kids are doing now?’ ‘Yes. That is how I was told to dress, yes. I am wise, I listen to my girlfriend.’

[Colbert Report (US comedy and satire) 15 November 2013]

Tabata noun a form of exercise which alternates short periods of high-intensity exercise with short rests

Get fit with only 4 minutes of exercise four times a week. Yes please! Tabata is comprised of [sic] an aerobic and anaerobic workout, meaning it will give you both a cardio and a muscle workout.

[Grazia (UK celebrity magazine) 02 December 2013]


New words – 2 June 2014

June 2, 2014


shop and frisk idiom an occasion when a shopper who just make a high-cost purchase is stopped and questioned by a police officer

That discomfort and the fear of what has been called ‘stop and frisk’ sometimes keeps [fashion writer Clair] Somers at home, where she says she can always shop online.

[NPR: All Things Considered (US news and public affairs) 30 October 2013]

Jay Z, Barney’s, and the Shop-and-Frisk Problem

[New Yorker Blog: Currency (US business news, headline) 16 December 2013]

social supermarket noun a supermarket intended for people living in poverty where cut-price food is sold. The food is cheap because it has damaged packaging or incorrect labelling.

Britain’s first ‘social supermarket’ opens its doors on Monday, offering shoppers on the verge of food poverty the chance to buy food and drink for up to 70 percent less than normal high-street prices

[ 09 December 2013]

olinguito noun a newly discovered mammal dwelling in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador. It is in the same family as the raccoon.

The newfound baby olinguito, discovered by members of the conservation group SavingSpecies, is about the size of a kitten, so small that it can be grasped in one hand.

[ 29 December 2013]


New words – 26 May 2014

May 26, 2014


ecorithm noun an algorithm that interacts with the environment

Dr. Valiant proposes that natural selection is supplemented by ecorithms, which enable organisms to learn and adapt more efficiently.


[New York Times (US broadsheet) 01 October 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]

nanomembrane noun an exceedingly thin, or nano sized, sheet of a material such as silicone

The discovery allowed him to implant silicon ‘nanomembranes’ just about anywhere: plastics and rubber, for his tattoo-like electronics, and silk, for the dissolvable ones.

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


New words – 19 May 2014

May 19, 2014


CPT abbreviation celebrity party tongue; the current craze for celebrities to be photographed sticking out their tongues

If 2012 was the year of the Insta-pout, 2013 is the year of the CPT.

[Grazia (UK celebrity magazine) 21 October 2013]

The CPT or the celebrity party tongue is the new selfie. Mylie, Cara and even Alexa think its (sic) fun to slap out their tongue when they get papped.

[ Oct 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]

earthscraper noun a pyramid-shaped multi-storey building which is constructed underground, with its ‘roof’ at ground level

Since laws limit the height of new structures in Mexico City, an architect has proposed building a 65-story Earthscraper.

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


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


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