People often ask us for conversational English on this blog. They want to learn the sort of phrases that they can use to chat informally with friends. Of course, we can chat about so many different subjects, it’s hard to know which particular areas of the language to look at. However, one thing that we all need from time to time is the language for starting a conversation with a friend that we haven’t seen for a while. Continue reading “It’s been a while… (Starting a conversation with an old friend)”
ringxiety noun the phenomenon of seeming to hear or sense a non-existent message or call on your phone
Do YOU have ‘ringxiety’? Being insecure about relationships leads people to hear ‘phantom calls’, researchers say
[www.dailymail.co.uk 05 February 2016]
If you find yourself reaching to answer your phone only to find that it had never rang [sic] you could be suffering from ‘ringxiety’,
according to academics.
[www.telegraph.co.uk 04 February 2016]
peak stuff noun the point at which consumers in developed countries cease to desire or require so many new acquisitions
If having more no longer satisfies us, perhaps we’ve reached ‘peak stuff’
[http://www.theguardian.com 31 January 2016]
Ikea senses room to grow amid ‘peak stuff’
[http://www.ft.com (article title) 18 January 2016]
postmateriality noun in the digital age, after materials such as film and tape stopped being used to record sound and images
We have a generation now that’s kind of coming to age postmateriality.
[NPR: All Things Considered (US news and information) 15 February 2016]
by Liz Walter
The other day I was teaching a lesson on things that make us afraid. We started by looking at the common ‘synonyms’ afraid, scared and frightened. One of the things I frequently do with my students is ask them for other words in the same word family because this is a skill they are likely to need in English exams. Continue reading “Scared, frightened, afraid and terrified: talking about fear”
gringe noun a grown-out fringe (of hair)
‘A side-swept ‘gringe’ like Kate’s is good because it is forgiving and easy to grow out if the woman who has it isn’t a fan.
[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ 09 March 2016]
beardruff noun informal dandruff in or from a beard
Got Beardruff? Stop Beard Itch In It’s [sic] Tracks With These Tips
[http://libertygrooming.com 17 March 2016]
footcial noun a beauty treatment for the feet
Dubbed ‘handcials’ and ‘footcials’ because they use the same techniques as facials, the experience leaves people’s entire body feeling relaxed.
[MNS email (US real estate email update) 08 January 2016]
This week, we’re looking at the surprising number of idioms in English that relate to sleep and rest. Try to stay awake till the end!
Starting with the morning, if you say that someone is in the land of the living, you mean that they are awake. This is a humorous phrase, sometimes used of someone who has finally woken up after a lie-in (= a time when they have stayed in bed in the morning later than usual):
I was hoping to speak to Klara. Is she in the land of the living, do you know? Continue reading “I slept like a log. (Sleep idioms)”
set-jetting noun travelling to places because they have been the locations for films or TV programmes
Set-jetting is the latest travel trend that puts you on the set of your favorite movies, TV shows or even book settings.
[www.abc2news.com 08 February 2016]
teraproject noun an extremely large project, especially one costing over a trillion dollars
The problem, in the Age of the Teraproject, is that governments are still really, really bad at managing even mere billion-dollar projects.
[www.theglobeandmail.com/ 02 January 2016]
STEAM abbreviation the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math considered as a group
In recent years there’s been an increasing emphasis on encouraging STEM education – science, engineering, technology, and math – but other advocates have advocated STEAM, which adds art into the mix.
[WNYC: Leonard Lopate Show (US culture and current affairs talk show) 08 January 2016]
by Liz Walter
August is a month for holidays in many countries, so I thought it would be nice to look at some phrasal verbs and other multi-word verbs connected with going on holiday. (By the way, holiday is a British English word – Americans take vacations.)
One very simple phrasal verb connected with holidays is go away. If we ask someone ‘Are you going away this summer?’, we are asking about their holiday plans; it is not a general enquiry about them going somewhere. We use get away in a similar way:
I hope to get away for a few days soon. Continue reading “Phrasal verbs for the holiday season”
Some works of fiction achieve remarkable popularity by creating entire alternative worlds that seem to exist fully formed; a few even have their own languages, or conlangs. And often, particularly in the genres of fantasy, science fiction, and children’s literature, these books create new vocabularies to talk about their new worlds. Many of these words only exist in the realms of fantasy, but some gain a new life and are taken up in the real world. When this happens, they are added to the Cambridge Dictionary. Continue reading “A life beyond fiction”
sliver building noun an extremely tall, narrow skyscraper
It seems that we are seeing more super-tall buildings, including those sliver buildings on fifty-seventh street in midtown.
[WNYC: Leonard Lopate Show (US culture and current affairs) 21 January 2016]
shadow flipping noun the practice of selling a house and then re-selling it several times before completing the contract
An angry former homeowner who believes he’s a victim of ‘shadow flipping’ is speaking out about a Richmond real estate investor, who has been sued by several other homeowners, in the hopes he can serve as a warning to others in our overheated housing market.
[http://bc.ctvnews.ca/ 11 February 2016]
nanotecture noun small-scale, experimental architecture
Take a look at 11 other examples of ‘nanotecture’ – from the small, to the not-so-small.
[http://www.bbc.co.uk/ 28 March 2016]
This week we’re looking at the wealth of phrasal verbs in English that relate to money, including those used for having and not having money, those for saving money and those for spending it. Starting with a very common phrasal verb, if you pay off a sum that you owe to a bank or person, you give them all of it: I’m hoping to pay off the debt within two years. Continue reading “How much did that set you back? (Money phrasal verbs)”