Posts Tagged ‘English’


New words – 4 January 2016

January 4, 2016


wavy adjective slang stylish

You can be wearing wavy garms or wavy kicks.

[Heard in conversation (UK teens) 05 Jul 2015]





basic adjective informal unattractive, unpleasant and unsophisticated

Festival headdresses. Basic is the only word applicable here. [The Guardian (UK broadsheet) 04 July 2015]

calm! exclamation slang good; cool

‘Your ticket’s arrived.’ ‘Calm!’

[Heard in conversation (UK teens) 05 July 2015]

About new words


Since, for and ago: talking about periods of time

December 30, 2015

by Liz Walter​
since for ago
It often seems that small, common words cause the most mistakes, and I certainly hear my students making errors with words like since, for and ago. This post therefore looks at some common errors connected with talking about periods of time and explains how to avoid them.

First, let’s look at the difference between since and for. They are both used to say how long something has been happening, but while since is followed by a precise time or a date, for is followed by a length of time: Read the rest of this entry ?


Look it up!

December 29, 2015

by Colin McIntosh​
The British dictionary tradition has differed from the American tradition in various ways, one of which is the treatment of words with a capital letter, like Brazil, Edinburgh, and John F. Kennedy.

British dictionaries traditionally made a distinction between content that was lexical and content that was encyclopedic. Lexical content (words, in other words) was the job of the dictionary, whereas encyclopedic content (countries, cities, dead white men) was the job of the encyclopedia. Nowadays, with the advent of search engines like Google, where all types of information are accessible, people tend not to distinguish between the two, and the internet is simply seen as one huge, amorphous source of information. This obviously has meant a big change in dictionary users’ expectations.

One enormous difference for dictionary makers in the digital age is that we can see what our users are looking up (or searching for, in the new parlance). When Samuel Johnson or James Murray published new dictionaries in past centuries, they had no idea if their users were looking up words they’d added, or if they were looking up words that hadn’t been included. Now we can run regular checks of “words searched for” and “words not found”. Read the rest of this entry ?


New words – 28 December 2015

December 28, 2015

digital amnesia

digital amnesia noun the inability to remember basic things, such as telephone numbers, dates, etc. as a result of over-reliance on mobile phones, the Internet etc for storing information

The problem, dubbed ‘digital amnesia’ is a result of our brains adapting to an age where our phone, and the internet, is always available, scientists say.

[ 01 July 2015]

pocket dial verb informal to call someone by accident with a phone that is in your pocket

How many times have you answered your phone only to find out that someone has ‘pocket dialed’ you by accident.

[ 28 July 2015]

ride-hailing service noun an on-demand car service for which people use a smartphone app to arrange a ride

Uber, the ride-hailing service, lost a round in its fight for legality in Brazil.

[ 20 September 2015]

About new words


Shopping for the festive season

December 23, 2015

by Liz Walter​
shopping festive
With Christmas fast approaching, many of us will be busy buying presents, whether we are Christians or not, so in this blog I’m going to look at some vocabulary connected with gift shopping.

If you are a well-organized person, you will probably want to get ahead by starting your shopping early. That way, it is easier to find bargains, for example by having the time to compare prices or by looking out for special offers. Some people even use the January sales to stock up on items for the following year.

Others prefer to leave everything to the last minute. They may end up paying exorbitant prices because lack of time means lack of choice, and they risk discovering that the items they wanted to buy are out of stock. They will probably also need to find stores that offer a gift-wrapping service, since they are unlikely to have the time to buy wrapping paper and wrap the presents themselves. Read the rest of this entry ?


The generation gap

December 22, 2015

by Colin McIntosh​
generation gap
It’s a feature of younger generations through the centuries that they feel the need to give themselves an identity through their ideas, their fashion, their politics, and their language. Leaving aside their language for another post, let’s look at the labels they’ve given themselves, that they’ve given others, and that others have given them, many of which are new additions to the Cambridge English Dictionary.

The Beat Generation, born in the US in the 30s, were probably the trailblazers. Young people who thought that personal experience was more important than accepted norms, they created the pattern for future generations of disaffected youth. Like their British equivalents, the Angry Young Men, the Beats tended to have a literary focus, although the term could also be used with a wider reference.

The boomers, or baby-boomers, born in the baby boom after the Second World War, were the ones who, in Harold MacMillan’s famous phrase “never had it so good”, and they’re still thought of in this way by succeeding generations who had it worse. They’re now being blamed for high property prices, the debt crisis, and impossible university tuition fees. Read the rest of this entry ?


New words – 21 December 2015

December 21, 2015


bruh noun slang used as a form of address, usually between male friends

I’ve been working out a bit, and I thought it’d help me see the gaaainzz (do you even lift, bruh?).

[ 02 July 2015]



unspo noun informal, humorous ideas and images relating to unhealthy or unsuccessful lives

A snap of congealed macaroni cheese; a post-gym selfie, complete with blotchy face.So far, so unglamorous. Welcome to the world of ‘unspo’ – the growing backlash against online inspiration.

[Grazia (UK celebrity magazine) 13 July 2015]

rando noun informal a random person, i.e. someone who is not known, not invited, etc.

This feature also makes it easier than ever to share that group photo you got some rando to take.

[ 27 August 2015]

About new words

Cambridge Conversations

Commenting on developments in the English language


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