New words – 16 January 2017

ALLVISIONN/iStock/Getty Images Plus
ALLVISIONN/iStock/Getty Images Plus

escape room noun [C] UK /ɪˈskeɪp ˌruːm/ US /ɪˈskeɪp ˌrʊm/
an activity that involves locking people in a room and giving them a set amount of time to escape by solving a series of puzzles

Escape rooms are very much the trendy way to gather your friends and family for a night out. You can put their puzzle skills to the test as the clock counts down every last second of your frantic attempts to emerge victorious from a locked room.
[Daily Record 22 October 2016]

night czar noun [C] UK /ˈnaɪt.ˌzɑʳ/ US /ˈnaɪt.ˌzɑːr/
a person who has been given special powers by the government to deal with a city’s night-time activities and events

Newly appointed London night czar Amy Lamé has described the challenge of reducing the number of live venue and nightclub closures as her “total priority” in a conversation with Music Week. 
[www.musicweek.com 7 November 2016]

micro-adventure noun [C] UK /ˈmaɪ.krəʊ.ədˌven.tʃəʳ/ US /ˈmaɪ.kroʊ.ədˌven.tʃɚ/
a short, exciting activity, such as a trip or experience

Bored of the 9 to 5? A micro-adventure could be just the thing.
[www.adaptnetwork.com 22 November 2016]

About new words

Let’s call it a day. (Everyday idioms in newspapers)

by Kate Woodford

Darrin Klimek/DigitalVision/Getty
Darrin Klimek/DigitalVision/Getty

As regular readers of this blog will know, now and then we like to focus on frequent idioms – that is, the sort of idioms that you are likely to hear or read in current English. One way in which we do this is by looking at the idioms that are used in a range of national newspapers published on the same day. Here, then, are the common idioms that we found in papers on Monday, December 12th.

One broadsheet newspaper has an article on all the ways that companies nowadays try to make their employees happy at work. According to the author, companies go to great lengths (= use a lot of effort) to make the office environment fun. Elsewhere, the same paper reports that a new movie has swept the board at an international award ceremony. When someone or something sweeps the board, they win all the awards that are available. Continue reading “Let’s call it a day. (Everyday idioms in newspapers)”

New words – 9 January 2016

LittleBee80/iStock/Getty
LittleBee80/iStock/Getty

breadcrumber noun [C] UK /ˈbred.krʌməʳ/ US /ˈbred.krʌmɚ/
someone who contacts another person very infrequently

For anyone who’s ever dated, or maintained any kind of relationship in the digital age, you have probably known a breadcrumber. They communicate via sporadic non-committal, but repeated messages – or breadcrumbs – that are just enough to keep you wondering but not enough to seal the deal (whatever that deal may be.)
[New York Times 10 July 2016]

inconvenience fee noun [C] UK /ˌɪn.kənˈviː.ni.əns.fiː/ US /ˌɪn.kənˈviː.n.jəns.fiː/
an amount of money paid to make up for causing someone problems or trouble

Mariah Carey is demanding a $50 million dollar inconvenience fee from her ex-fiancé James Packer. Now that the couple has broken up, Mariah feels as though she wasted her time with the Australian businessman and wants to be compensated for the time she lost.
[www.celebdirtylaundry.com 31 October 2016]

sleep divorce noun [U] UK /ˈsliːp.dɪ.vɔːs/ US /ˈsliːp.dɪ.vɔːrs/
an arrangement where a couple chooses to sleep in separate beds or bedrooms

Relationship counsellor Dr Nandini Roy says, “I’ve seen many women and men say that though they love their partners a lot, sometimes they … would love to sleep separately. To keep your relationship going, you should consider sleep divorce whenever you feel the need to sleep alone.”
[The Times of India 23 March 2016]

About new words

Turning over a new leaf: idioms and phrases for the New Year

by Liz Walter

Lewis Mulatero/Moment Mobile/Getty
Lewis Mulatero/Moment Mobile/Getty

New Year is a time when we often take stock of our life (think about what is good or bad about it). We may feel that we should draw a line under the past (finish with it and forget about it) and make a fresh start. This post looks at idioms and other phrases connected with this phenomenon.

If we decide to stop doing something we consider to be bad and to start behaving in a better way, we can say that we are going to turn over a new leaf. We might decide to kick a habit such as smoking (stop doing it), have a crack at (try) a new hobby, or even leave a dead-end job (one with no chance of promotion) or finish a relationship that isn’t going anywhere. Continue reading “Turning over a new leaf: idioms and phrases for the New Year”

New words – 2 January 2017

baona/E+/Getty
baona/E+/Getty

adulting noun [U] UK ‘æd.ʌlt.ɪŋ US ə’d.ʌlt.ɪŋ
doing things that are associated with being an adult

A few nights ago, I got home from work and sat on my bed, scrolling through Twitter. I didn’t get far in my timeline before I saw a tweet from a twentysomething who said she was “adulting” because she cooked herself dinner. Ugh.
[Cosmopolitan 20 June 2016]

bird’s nest parenting noun [U] UK ˌbɜ:dz.nest.ˈpeə.rən.tɪŋ US ˌbɝ:dz.nest.ˈper.ən.t̬ɪŋ
an arrangement where the children of a couple who have separated remain in the family home and their parents take it in turns to live with them there

Instead of moving the children each weekend or each month, ‘bird’s nest parenting’ sees the mother and father do the rotating in and out of the home – while the children remain the constants.
[www.dailymail.co.uk 17 October 2016]

sharenting noun [U] UK ‘ʃeə.rənt.ɪŋ US ‘ʃe.rənt.ɪŋ
using social media excessively to share information about one’s children

In the United States, according to a survey, 90 per cent of two-year-olds have a presence on social media … The UK is going the same way. There is a commensurate rise in concern that sharenting — obsessive peacocking about your offspring’s looks, sporting achievements and toilet-training schedule — could be damaging. 
[The Times 05 November2016]

About new words

Mixed feelings. (the language of being unsure)

by Kate Woodford

Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty
Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty

Some of the time we are absolutely certain about our opinions and feelings, but now and then we are not. This post looks at the words and phrases that we use to express the fact that we are unsure, either of the way we feel or the way we think.

Sometimes we don’t understand how we feel about something because we seem to experience two opposite emotions or reactions at the same time. A very common phrase for this is mixed feelings/emotions: I had mixed feelings about leaving home – in some ways sad, but also quite excited.

The same idea can be expressed by the adjective ambivalent:

Many were ambivalent about the experience, expressing both positive and negative views. Continue reading “Mixed feelings. (the language of being unsure)”

New words – 26 December 2016

coreylynntucker/RooM/Getty
coreylynntucker/RooM/Getty

Broga™ noun [U] UK ˈbrəʊ.gə US ˈbroʊ.gə
a type of yoga designed to appeal to men

Men who crave the benefits of yoga, but recoil at sharing the experience with a room full of women are turning to Broga, a rugged take on the 3,000-year-old practice of movement and breath.
[www.reuters.com 27.04.2015]

AFOL noun [C] UK eɪ.ˌef.əʊ.’el US eɪ.ˌef.oʊ.’el
abbreviation for adult fan of Lego™: an adult who enjoys building models from Lego™

Chrys B. of Heathcote, Australia had an interest in LEGO in her early teens but endured a Dark Age that lasted a number of decades until she discovered the Star Wars LEGO range. It was after attending Brickvention 2012 that she decided she really was an AFOL.
[www.thebrickroomblog.com August 2016]

droneboarding noun [U] UK ‘drəʊn.bɔːd.ɪŋ US droʊn.bɔːrd.ɪŋ
the activity or sport of moving over snow standing on a snowboard and being pulled by a drone

Droneboarding is the newly developed practice of using a drone to drag around someone on a snowboard. [A] video filmed in late January shows a standard-sized human being dragged around on a snowboard by a very large drone.
[www.yahoo.com 03.02.2016]

About new words

Getting into the holiday spirit? Idioms and phrases for family gatherings

by Liz Walter

KidStock/Blend Images/Getty
KidStock/Blend Images/Getty

At this time of year, many people around the world gather with their families to celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and other festivals. Relatives come to stay with you, share large meals, and give presents. It sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But when families get together, there can be tension, too. This post looks at some common idioms and phrases that we use to describe what can happen when families have a little too much togetherness.

In our dreams, we imagine cosy family meals with the kids on their best behaviour and everyone being careful to steer clear of (avoid) those topics they know will cause Great-Uncle Henry to go off on one (UK )/go off on someone (US). We want our parties to go (UK) / go off (US) with a bang  (be very successful) so that everyone has a whale of a time (enjoys themselves very much) and Great-Uncle Henry forgets his usual complaints and turns into the life and soul of the party (becomes happy and sociable). Continue reading “Getting into the holiday spirit? Idioms and phrases for family gatherings”

New words – 19 December 2016

cyano66/iStock/Getty Images Plus
cyano66/iStock/Getty Images Plus

the internet of me noun [S]
UK ˌɪn.tə.net əv ‘miː US ˌɪn.t̬ɚ.net əv ‘miː
a system of objects with computing devices in them that are able to connect to each other using the internet and exchange personal data about their owner

eBay’s founder has invested in a startup that claims to use data aggregation to create the “internet of me” … The startup’s app collects data from its users’ social networks, including pictures and posts.
[www.wired.com 27 September 2016]

device mesh noun [S] dɪˈvaɪs meʃ
a network of electronic devices that can find information and communicate with other people and organizations using the internet

We’re still using mobile devices, but we’ve now added tablets and smart watches to the ever-multiplying list of end-points we use to access applications and information. [Analyst company] Gartner refers to this trend as ‘the device mesh’…
[www.itproportal.com 30 April 2016]

trust score noun [C] UK ‘trʌst ˌskɔː US ‘trʌst ˌskɔːr
a way of communicating with a computer to prove who you are without the need for a password

Google wants to get rid of your password. The company has proposed a system it calls “trust scores” to remove the need to remember usual numerical and linguistic credentials using a ‘Trust API’ … The API would factor in a number of personal identifiers including the way your voice sounds, facial recognition, location in relation to known Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices and typing speed. 
[www.wired.com 25 May 2016]

About new words

It’s the thought that counts. (The language of giving and receiving gifts)

by Kate Woodford

karandaev/iStock/Getty Images Plus
karandaev/iStock/Getty Images Plus

With the holiday season fast approaching, many of you will be braving the crowds in shops and shopping malls in order to find the perfect gift for a family member or friend. With presents very much on our mind, we thought it might be interesting to look at the language of gifts and giving.

For people that you know well, you will probably want to give a gift that is thoughtful and personal. If you can’t find what you are looking for in the shops, you might decide against a store-bought present and instead give a homemade gift. Or you might choose a gift token (or gift voucher), allowing the family member or friend to choose what they want for themselves, though you may think this approach lacks the personal touch (=the quality of being chosen specially for one person). Continue reading “It’s the thought that counts. (The language of giving and receiving gifts)”