New words – 14 January 2019

Mint Images / Mint Images RF / Getty

anxiety consumerism noun [U]
UK /æŋˈzaɪ.ə.ti.kənˈsjuː.mə.rɪ.zəm/ US /æŋˈzaɪ.ə.t̬i.kənˈsuː.mɚ.ɪ.zəm/
the situation in a society where a large number of products designed to ease anxiety are available to buy

Have you heard of the latest trend hitting the retail industry? It’s called anxiety consumerism … The past few years have seen a jump in sales for products such as adult coloring books and essential oils and diffusers. And more recently, for products like fidget spinners and weighted blankets – this time with marketing aimed more towards the younger group suffering from this mental health condition.
[, 27 September 2018]

magic point of sale noun [C]
a shop or e-commerce site where customers can use new technologies such as augmented reality to browse and test products before they buy them

In 2018, consumers expect to summon retail experiences as they would a genie from a lamp, called forth from a smartphone, personal assistant, smart speaker, or even from the physical environment itself. That means summoning an on-demand magic point of sale that allows them to engage with your brand, browse products, test and purchase in innovative new ways.
[, August 2018]

care commerce noun [U]
UK /keəʳ.ˈkɒm.ɜːs/ US /ker.ˈkɑː.mɝːs/
the services offered by companies that allow the products they sell to last longer

Stores will help consumers to preserve their purchases, known as care commerce … Brands are beginning to capitalise on this trend. Nike has installed sneaker dry-cleaning and engraving services in its Moscow flagship and French luxury brand Hermès has popped up around the globe with … laundrettes offering a free dry cleaning and dyeing service for owners of its iconic silk scarves.
[, 21 December 2017]

About new words

I’m hoping to become a vet: talking about our future lives

Topic Images Inc./Topic Images/Getty Images

by Liz Walter

It is common to ask young people about their hopes and plans for the future. This post looks at some words and phrases you can use to respond to such questions.

We often use the general phrases I’m hoping/planning to … or I’d like to … :

I’m hoping to become a vet.

I’d like to live abroad for a few years.

Continue reading “I’m hoping to become a vet: talking about our future lives”

New words – 7 January 2019

AlexZabusik / iStock / Getty Images Plus

groomsmaid noun [C]
a female friend of a man who is getting married who has special duties at the wedding

Actress Christina Hendricks has landed an odd job at her former Mad Men castmate Michael Gladis’ upcoming wedding – she’ll serve as a “groomsmaid”. The actress will dress like one of bride-to-be Beth Behrs’ bridesmaids, but take care of all the last-minute things Gladis needs. “I’m sort of there as one of the best men…,” she tells talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
[, 10 April 2018]

buddymoon noun [C]
a honeymoon to which the married couple’s friends are invited

One honeymoon option becoming increasingly popular is the buddymoon, or a honeymoon where you bring your gang along for the ride. And while many brides are hesitant to take the most romantic trip of their lives … with their friends, others are embracing the trend and starting off their new life not only alongside their soulmate, but with the others in closest to them.
[, 24 November 2017]

sten do noun [C]
a party or other celebration for a man and woman who are going to get married, to which both the bride’s and groom’s friends are invited: a blend of ‘stag do’ and ‘hen do’

We are choosing to have a sten do, because our interests lie in similar activities, and we feel that the premise of traditional hen and stag dos is outdated. So many of our friends have reminded us that it’s our last night of freedom. We’re already committed to each other, and living with one another – what would we do on a hen or stag do that we wouldn’t normally do together?
[Metro, 16 May 2018]

About new words

Bad Hair Day (Words and phrases that describe hair)


by Kate Woodford

Do you know the phrase bad hair day? It refers to a day when your hair looks unattractive but is also used for a day when everything goes wrong. This connection between bad hair and failure suggests that, for many of us, hair is very important! Accordingly, we have lots of ways to describe it. If you’d like some interesting English expressions for hair, read on! Continue reading “Bad Hair Day (Words and phrases that describe hair)”

New words – 31 December 2018

Colin Hawkins / DigitalVision / Getty

hypebeast noun [C]
a young person who is obsessed with buying the latest expensive designer clothes

For those who do not understand this world, spending hundreds on a white T-shirt with a small logo on it might sound like a vain waste of money, but it is the hypebeasts that might be having the last laugh. Many savvy young teenagers are making a fortune online, often queuing in the rain for hours to buy items on the day they’re released in store … then immediately selling them on at a profit on eBay.
[, 9 January 2018]

bundle buying noun [U]
a way of buying clothes where a number of garments that go well together are personally selected for the buyer and posted out to them

So, does this signal the end of personal style? Not at all. Think of bundle buying instead as saving time and streamlining your wardrobe – deal with the basics and you have more time to be creative.
[Grazia, 13 February 2018]

Zozosuit noun [C]
UK /ˈzəʊ.zəʊ.suːt/ US /ˈzoʊ.zoʊ.suːt/
a close-fitting garment covered in sensors that takes precise measurements of the wearer’s body and can then be used to buy items of clothing custom-made to the correct size

In the first 10 hours after the Zozosuit launched in Japan in November 2017, roughly 230,000 orders were placed and since then there have been more than a million. The company says it expects to distribute up to 10 million suits by March 2019, not entirely unrealistic given that Zozosuit launches in the UK and 72 other countries and regions (including India, China, the US and Brazil) in the coming month.
[, 27 July 2018]

About new words

He decided, he was deciding, he’s decided: choosing the correct past tense

Emilija Manevska/Moment/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

English has several ways of talking about the past, and it can often be difficult to decide which one to use. In this post, I am going to look at three very common past forms: the past simple (he decided), the past continuous (he was deciding), and the present perfect (he’s/he has decided) and try to give some simple advice on which form to use. Continue reading “He decided, he was deciding, he’s decided: choosing the correct past tense”

New words – 24 December 2018

Pete Orelup / Moment / Getty

laze noun [C]
a lava haze: a toxic cloud formed when hot lava flows into cold seawater

Laze plumes can travel with the wind and can change direction quickly, which has prompted authorities to urge the public to avoid the area completely … Even being downwind of the entry point is not advised because the wispy edges of the laze can cause skin and eye irritation and difficulty breathing.
[, 21 May 2018]

firenado noun [C]
UK /faɪə.ˈneɪ.dəʊ/ US /faɪr.neɪ.doʊ/
a fire tornado: a strong, dangerous wind created by a large fire that forms itself into an upside-down spinning cone

Firefighters have captured the moment a “firenado” – a fire tornado resembling a twister – engulfed a plastics factory in Derbyshire. The cyclonic vista was created by a combination of turbulent air and intense heat, and was tackled by officers from services in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire.
[, 8 August 2018]

Hothouse Earth noun [C, U]
UK /ˌhɒt.haʊs.ˈɜːθ/ US /ˌhɑːt.haʊs.ˈɝːθ/
a situation where it will no longer be possible to control climate change, leading to large areas of Earth becoming uninhabitable

In a Hothouse Earth, global average temperatures would rise 4–5° C (7–9° F) and sea levels will rise 10–60 meters (33–200 feet) above today’s levels. This would be catastrophic for many aspects of modern civilization. Many agricultural regions would become too hot and arid to sustain crops, making it impossible to feed large swaths of humanity.
[, 9 August 2018]

About new words

Do help yourself! (The language of party food)

by Kate Woodford


The Christmas season is once again here and around the world, people who celebrate this festival are going to parties and gatherings with family, friends and colleagues. One important feature of most gatherings is food so we thought we’d take a look at the language in this area.

When you are hosting (=organizing in your home) a get-together of any type, you have to make decisions about catering (=providing food). How much and what type of food will you offer your guests? You might plan a proper dinner for people. This is sometimes called a sit-down meal, meaning that it is the sort of meal that people eat while sitting at a table: a sit-down meal at a wedding A meal in someone’s house in the evening used to be called a dinner party, though this now sounds a little formal. Nowadays, most people talk about having or asking their friends round/over for dinner: I thought I’d ask Jamie and Luisa round for dinner. Continue reading “Do help yourself! (The language of party food)”

New words – 17 December 2018

South_agency / E+ / Getty

social jetlag noun [U]
UK /ˌsəʊ.ʃᵊl.ˈdjet.læg/ US /ˌsoʊ.ʃᵊl.ˈdjet.læg/
the feelings of tiredness and confusion that people experience when they do not have a regular sleeping pattern, especially when they sleep for longer at weekends

The University of Adelaide sleep specialist Robert Adams said a growing body of research suggested poor sleep was taking a serious toll on Australians’ health and welfare. A study … found that 31% of survey respondents were suffering social jetlag. That is, the time of their sleep on work nights was more than an hour out of sync with sleeps on weekends or other days off.
[, 8 July 2018]

nap bar noun [C]
UK /ˈnæp.bɑːʳ/ US /ˈnæp.bɑːr/
a place where you can pay money to sleep for a short time during the day

Last year, a survey … revealed that Londoners are more sleep deprived than the rest of the UK. Now someone has gone and launched a nap bar where overworked, overtired city dwellers can get some much needed shut-eye.
[Time Out, 6 December 2017]

sleep pod noun [C]
UK /ˈsliːp.pɒd/ US /ˈsliːp.pɑ:d/
a space, often a small room with a comfortable chair or small bed, where you can sleep for a short time during the day

Upstairs, on floor two, are seven sleep pods stocked with amenities to lull you into the most restful nap you’ve ever had in New York City. The private rooms have ceilings with twinkling stars, soundproof curtains, live plants, essential oil diffusers, reading lights, noise-canceling headphones, and more. Guests can even upgrade for additional linens.
[, 2 March 2018]

About new words

Wildfires and mid-term elections: a look back at 2018 in the US

Liz Walter


In this, the second of two year-end posts, I look at words associated with some major events and trends of 2018 from the perspective of the US. I’ve picked just six topics from an action-packed year, and I’ve tried to go for variety rather than simply importance, since the purpose of these posts is to provide useful vocabulary, not to report on the news or provide an opinion on it. Continue reading “Wildfires and mid-term elections: a look back at 2018 in the US”