Flying in the face of common sense (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 2)


by Kate Woodford

This is the second of our two-parter on useful idioms and phrases that include the word ‘face’. Part one looked mainly at phrases for describing expressions on the face. This post doesn’t have a particular theme but instead looks at a variety of ‘face’ phrases used in contemporary English. Continue reading “Flying in the face of common sense (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 2)”

New words – 19 July 2021

Artur Debat / Moment / Getty

robotaxi noun [C]
UK /ˈrəʊ.bəʊ.tæ US /ˈroʊ.boʊ.tæ
a taxi that is driven without being controlled directly by humans

AutoX already has more than 100 robotaxis deployed in five Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Wuhan. Over the next year, it aims to double its reach to more than 10 local cities. Whether the company can pull humans from behind the wheel in other markets depends on local regulators, Xiao said.
[, 8 December 2020]

Vaxi Taxi noun [C]
a taxi that picks people up from their home and takes them to a clinic for their Covid-19 vaccination, with the person sometimes being vaccinated while they are sitting in the taxi

A new “Vaxi Taxi” scheme which sees black cabs transport people to pop-up coronavirus vaccine clinics in London has been launched. The pilot scheme, funded by the Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation, aims to help ferry supplies and patients to temporary clinics set up in faith and community centres across the capital … “We are aiming to have pop-up vaccination clinics across London eventually, with a fleet of Vaxi Taxis to help set them up in community centres and faith centres,” said Dr Raymond.
[, 21 February 2021]

eVTOL adjective, noun [C]
UK /i.ˈviː.tɒl/ US /i.ˈviː.tɑːl/
abbreviation for ‘electric vertical take-off and landing’: an electric aircraft that is able to take off and land vertically, going straight up and straight down from and to the ground

Some might call eVTOL aircraft “flying cars,” but they’re more accurately called electric helicopters. A regular helicopter is a VTOL (as in it takes off up-and-down vertically, rather than rolling down a runway like an airplane), and if you make it electric, then it’s an eVTOL. Basically, every modern consumer drone from DJI or Skydio is a miniature eVTOL. Those small drones are good at carrying small cargo like cameras or vaccines, but now eVTOLs are getting bigger. Much bigger.
[, 20 April 2021]

About new words

The icing/frosting on the cake: differences between British and American idioms


by Liz Walter

Differences between US and UK English are particularly pronounced in informal and idiomatic language. There are lots of idioms that are used in one variety but not the other, for example go pear-shaped (to fail or go wrong) is used in British but not American English and strike pay dirt (discover something valuable) is American but not British. Continue reading “The icing/frosting on the cake: differences between British and American idioms”

New words – 12 July 2021

Oscar Wong / Moment / Getty

voice shopping noun [U]
UK /ˈvɔɪs.ʃɒp.ɪŋ/ US /ˈvɔɪs.ʃɑː.pɪŋ/
the activity of buying things online by talking to a smart device such as a phone or voice-controlled speaker

The growth of voice shopping stemmed out of Amazon’s Echo and has revolutionized the tech world since. However, voice shopping comes with a challenge because it does not involve visuals in most cases. So, customers stick to more mainstream products like food items, low-cost electronics, and homeware which do not require much visual research.
[, 9 May 2021]

microdelivery noun [C]
UK /ˈmaɪ.krəʊ.dɪˌlɪv.ᵊr.i/ US /ˈmaɪ.kroʊ.dɪˌlɪv.ɚ.i/
the act of delivering to someone’s house a single item, normally food or drink, very soon after they have ordered it online

For some, it would be mortifying to order a pint of milk or single avocado from a shop within walking distance. But a boom in ultra-fast microdeliveries, with customers promised goods on their doorstep in minutes, shows many customers feel otherwise.
[, 23 May 2021]

live shopping noun [U]
UK /ˌlaɪv.ˈʃɒp.ɪŋ/ US /ˌlaɪv.ˈʃɑː.pɪŋ/
the activity of buying something online from someone who is selling goods or products in real time on a social media platform

There’s good reason for tech companies to believe live shopping could be big in the US: it’s already massive in China. … Plus, with a pandemic shutting down retail storefronts, the transition to online shopping has only intensified. Live shopping could become a tenet of retail, especially when coupled with the reach and enthusiasm of influencers.
[, 22 October 2020]

About new words

Cluttered and homely (Words to describe buildings and homes, Part 2)

Justin Lambert/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In part 1 of our ‘describing buildings’ post, we focused mainly on adjectives to describe the size of buildings. This week, we’re looking inside the building and, amongst other things, considering words that are used to describe its décor (= style of its furniture and decoration). We’re also focusing on the state of the building. Continue reading “Cluttered and homely (Words to describe buildings and homes, Part 2)”

New words – 5 July 2021

Thomas Barwick / Stone / Getty

sew bro noun [C]
UK /ˈsəʊ.brəʊ/ US /ˈsoʊ.broʊ/
a young, fashionable man who enjoys sewing and making his own clothes

Meanwhile, Google searches for “sewing machines” had increased four-fold in the US. But while the stereotypical sewer has often been an older woman, this has been turned on its head completely: young men, who are now officially known as “sew bros”, are taking hold.
[, 6 May 2021]

royalite noun [C]
a junior member of a royal family whose lifestyle is seen as more relaxed than that of the monarch and other senior royals

For every working royal, though, there’s a royal-slash-socialite, or “royalite”: a minor member of the family treading the fine line between private citizen and representative of Her Majesty. “They will be expected to uphold the values of the Crown and not let the side down,” says Victoria Arbiter, CNN’s royal commentator … Meanwhile, over in Europe, royalites are somewhat less constrained by the concept of duty — the greater the distance to the top job, the more room there is to play.
[, 9 May 2021]

geriatric millennial noun [C]
someone born between the years 1980 and 1985

The first time I heard “geriatric millennial” I thought it was an oxymoron. Sarcastic, even. But as I thought more deeply about it, I realized how perfectly it describes so many of us. Geriatric millennials are a special micro-generation born in the early 1980s that are comfortable with both analog and digital forms of communication. They were the first generation to grow up with technology like a PC in their homes.
[, 22 April 2021]

About new words

He’s digging his heels in: words and phrases to describe stubborn behaviour

Tony Arruza/Corbis Documentary/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

We all know how frustrating it is when someone completely refuses to do something we want them to do or to accept an opinion we are sure is correct. It turns out that English is surprisingly rich in words and phrases to describe this sort of person or behaviour! Continue reading “He’s digging his heels in: words and phrases to describe stubborn behaviour”

New words – 28 June 2021

Reggie Casagrande / The Image Bank / Getty

lockdown foot noun [U]
UK /ˌlɒk.daʊn.fʊt/ US /ˌlɑːk.daʊn.fʊt/
a condition resulting from someone having spent lockdown at home in bare feet or slippers, allowing their feet to change shape and making it difficult or painful to wear normal shoes again

Have you got “lockdown foot”? We’ve all re-shaped our feet going barefoot at home so here are 5 simple ways to get back into shoes without damaging yours. Thanks to being mostly housebound, we’ve all been living in slippers or barefoot – and according to one expert, it’s had a major effect on the state of our feet.
[, 18 May 2021]

bungalow leg noun [U]
UK /ˌbʌŋ.gəl.əʊ.leg/ US /ˌbʌŋ.gəl.oʊ.leg/
a condition where the leg muscles have become weak through living in a single-storey house and not having to climb stairs

To many people, moving to a bungalow makes good sense — if aching or immobile joints become a problem then a life without stairs is not only simpler, but also much safer. However, experts warn that making that move too early can actually hasten the decline associated with old age, leading to a phenomenon now being dubbed ‘bungalow leg’.
[, 3 May 2021]

headline stress disorder noun [U]
UK /ˌhed.laɪn.stres.dɪˈsɔː.dəʳ/ US /ˌhed.laɪn.stres.dɪˈsɔːr.dɚ/
a feeling of stress and anxiety caused by reading or watching a lot of negative or worrying news

COVID-19 pandemic headlines can be frightening, especially after watching for an extended period. Consider limiting your news and social media time to prevent “headline stress disorder”. Compartmentalize your media time to only a few minutes a day to minimize the anxiety, depression, and overwhelm that too much media can bring.
[, 12 April 2021]

About new words

On the face of it (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 1)

IAN HOOTON/SPL/Science Photo Library/Getty Images Plus

by Kate Woodford

It’s recently come to my attention that there’s a huge number of English phrases and idioms containing the word ‘face’. There are so many that this is the first of two posts, as ever focusing on the most frequent and useful. I hope you enjoy it! Continue reading “On the face of it (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 1)”

New words – 21 June 2021

Tara Moore / Stone / Getty

reverse lie-in noun [C]
UK /rɪˌvɜːs.ˈlaɪ.ɪn/ US /rɪˌvɝːs.ˈlaɪ.ɪn /
a time when you go to bed much earlier than usual then get up early the next morning

I decided I had had enough of being permanently exhausted, and always wishing I could have a lie-in. I had to accept that, as a 40-year-old mother, my days of lie-ins are behind me. So … every day, I have a reverse lie-in. A reverse lie-in, for those who have no idea what I’m talking about, involves going to bed extremely early. And I mean extremely early. Toddler early. We’re talking 8pm here, at the latest.
[, 15 May 2021]

sleepcast noun [C]
UK /ˈsliːp..kɑːst/ US /ˈsliːp.kæst /
a podcast containing sounds and voices that are designed to give you a good night’s sleep

And now available on your Headspace app are sleepcasts. Each one offers a tour of a dreamy landscape, with voice actors as guides, providing details in soft, comforting tones … Each sleepcast is set in the evening or at night, and many involve water – lagoons, rain, rivers, ponds, oceans. You can make adjustments within the app to dial up the background ambient noise, make the narration quieter or louder, or turn the narration off completely.
[, 14 May 2020]

sleep sticker noun [C]
UK /ˈsliːp.stɪk.əʳ/ US /ˈsliːp.stɪk.ɚ/
a small electronic device that sticks to your chin and records information about the quality of your sleep

Sleep apnoea and sleep disordered breathing affects 49 per cent of men and 23 per cent of women. Step forward the Sunrise sleep sticker, a one-use, certified medical-grade 3g sensor that sits on your chin (yes, really) while you sleep. A big step up from regular sleep trackers, it tracks data [and] compiles a report shared via an app the next day.
[, 6 January 2021]

About new words