a woman sitting in a car with storm clouds and lightning outside - she is holding her nose as though she is about to sneeze

New words – 26 September 2022

a woman sitting in a car with storm clouds and lightning outside - she is holding her nose as though she is about to sneeze
Jens Rother / iStock / Getty Images Plus

thunder fever noun [U]
UK /ˈθʌn.də fiː.vəʳ/ US /ˈθʌn.dɚ fiː.vɚ/
a more serious form of hay fever that people can experience when there is a high pollen count and thundery weather at the same time

A high pollen count mixed with thunderstorms will trigger a weather phenomenon called “thunder fever” this week, causing problems for allergy sufferers, forecasters have warned. The combination of warm weather, strong winds and thundery downpours brought to the UK as a result of the now-downgraded tropical storm Alex are to blame for the conditions expected to affect the country in the coming days.
[independent.co.uk, 9 June 2022]

digital amnesia noun [U]
UK /ˌdɪdʒ.ɪ.tᵊl æmˈniː.zi.ə/ US /ˌdɪdʒ.ə.t̬ᵊl æmˈniː.ʒə/
a condition where people become less able to remember things because they are used to looking everything up on the internet

Experts say smartphone addiction could impair the brain’s ability to retain new information and form new memories. This leads to ‘digital amnesia’. What is ‘digital amnesia’? It is basically a phenomenon where brains are losing their ability to remember quickly as people are becoming increasingly reliant on technology.
[news18.com, 5 January 2022]

dental desert noun [C]
UK /ˌden.tᵊl ˈdez.ət/ US /ˌden.t̬ᵊl ˈdez.ɚt/
an area where there are not enough dentists to give everyone who lives there dental care, or where it is very difficult to get affordable or state-funded dental care

Parts of England, including Suffolk, are becoming “dental deserts”, with no access to NHS dentistry for residents, an MP has told Westminster. Mr Aldous said the lack of available NHS dental appointments was a “national crisis”, although the issue in his own constituency was “acute”. “There are now parts of the country, particularly in rural and coastal areas, though not confined there, that are dental deserts.”
[bbc.co.uk, 10 February 2022]

About new words

three boys leaping in the air and shouting as they play in a park

Bouncy and boisterous (Language relating to energy, Part 1)

three boys leaping in the air and shouting as they play in a park
Nick David/Stone/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Some of you reading this post will have enjoyed a break from your work or studies over the summer months. You might (I hope!) be feeling refreshed and ready to throw yourself into your work (=start working with energy and enthusiasm). With this in mind, I thought I’d take a look at words and phrases that relate to energy – and a lack of it! Part 1 will look at adjectives in this area and Part 2 will focus on nouns and phrases. Continue reading “Bouncy and boisterous (Language relating to energy, Part 1)”

two people using e-scooters in a city

New words – 20 September 2022

two people using e-scooters in a city
Luis Alvarez / DigitalVision / Getty

micromobility noun [U]
UK /ˈmaɪ.krəʊ.məʊˌbɪl.ə.ti/ US /ˈmaɪ.kroʊ.moʊˌbɪl.ə.t̬i/
the use of small electric vehicles such as e-scooters, normally used for travelling short distances within towns and cities

Micromobility devices may be privately owned, but are often shared-use vehicles that are maintained by a municipal government or private entity. Micromobility devices are particularly appealing to residents of densely populated areas, as they provide quick and convenient transportation to nearby destinations such as grocery stores, shops, or entertainment venues.
[digi.com, 10 March 2022]

moth motorway noun [C]
UK /ˌmɒθ ˈməʊ.tə.weɪ / US /ˌmɑːθ ˈmoʊ.t̬ɚ.weɪ/
a way of guiding endangered species of moth to an area where they will be able to survive

Scientists are to create “moth motorways” to provide an easier journey for insects migrating north as they try to escape the effects of climate change. University researchers combined data with computer simulations in an attempt to predict the movement of moths in a changing climate … “Utilising predictions like these would enable us to effectively create ‘moth motorways’, helping endangered species reach more suitable regions more quickly in their bid to survive.”
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 22 May 2022]

hoverbike noun [C]
UK /ˈhɒv.ə.baɪk/ US /ˈhʌ.vɚ.baɪk/
a vehicle that travels in the air and looks like a motorbike

The flying motorbike is officially here! Japan’s new US$700,000 hoverbike, the XTurismo Limited Edition, targets supercar drivers – but it’s so loud that bystanders have to wear earplugs … The hoverbike joins other gadgets like jetpacks and flying taxis – but can it give Japan a technological edge over self-driving and electric cars?
[scmp.com, 27 October 2021]

About new words

photograph of a young woman thinking, with a colourful illustrated background of gears and a cartoon brain

Thinking outside the box: talking about creativity.

photograph of a young woman thinking, with a colourful illustrated background of gears and a cartoon brain
ismagilov/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

Today’s post is about the language we use to talk about being creative. Creativity – being able to think of new and unusual ideas – is central to human life, and there are lots of great words to describe it. Continue reading “Thinking outside the box: talking about creativity.”

A businesswoman sitting in front of her desktop computer in an office full of paperwork. She looks bored; she is resting her chin on her hand and not looking at her screen.

New words – 12 September 2022

A businesswoman sitting in front of her desktop computer in an office full of paperwork. She looks bored; she is resting her chin on her hand and not looking at her screen.
demaerre / iStock / Getty Images Plus

quiet quitting noun [U]
UK /ˌkwaɪ.ət ˈkwɪtɪŋ/ US /ˌkwaɪ.ət ˈkwɪt̬ɪŋ/
the activity of doing the minimum amount of work needed to keep one’s job but with no enthusiasm or commitment

Widely associated with employee burnout, the idea of ‘quiet quitting’ – where employees become disengaged from work and do the bare minimum of their duties – has recently attracted a flurry of attention … So, recognising quiet quitting, whether it is seen as a serious sign of employee dissatisfaction or simply the concept that work should not take over one’s entire life, is now more important than ever.
[peoplemanagement.co.uk, 8 August 2022]

anti-procrastination café noun [C]
UK /ˌæn.ti.prəˌkræs.tɪˈneɪ.ʃən ˌkæf.eɪ/ US /æn.t̬i.proʊˌkræs.tɪˈneɪ.ʃən kæfˈeɪ/
a café where people who have an urgent deadline can work, with employees checking regularly that they are working and not allowing them to leave until they have finished

I have a confession to make: I’ve never had a healthy relationship with deadlines. I never managed to kick the bad habits I picked up as a student, which have left me with perpetually dark circles under my eyes from frenetic, caffeine-induced all-nighters, so you can imagine how intrigued I was by the so-called anti-procrastination café.
[timeout.com, 30 May 2022]

momtern noun [C]
UK /mɒmˈtɜːn/ US /mɑːmˈtɝːn/
a woman who does work experience in a company with the aim of returning to paid employment after a period of staying at home with her children

The internship can be fully remote, hybrid, or in person, leaving the preference up to the mother. The job pays $25 an hour and interns will work on real client briefs for the agency. Weekly hours will vary for each momtern and be based on whatever works best for their schedule.
[www.mullenlowegroup.com, 16 June 2022]

About new words

funny picture of two children holding their father hostage, carrying signs saying "more TV" and "no more broccoli"

It serves you right! Talking about people who deserve bad things.

funny picture of two children holding their father hostage, carrying signs saying "more TV" and "no more broccoli"
marcduf/E+/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

The concept of fairness is an important one to most people – a common complaint of even very young children is, “It’s not fair!”. We enjoy a so-called “Hollywood ending” to a movie, when the good people triumph and the baddies get the punishment they deserve. So it’s not surprising that there are a lot of words and phrases connected with fairness. This blog looks at some of the most common ones. Continue reading “It serves you right! Talking about people who deserve bad things.”

a cup of coffee on a table with a loyalty card next to it

New words – 5 September 2022

a cup of coffee on a table with a loyalty card next to it
Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman / Moment / Getty

disloyalty card noun [C]
UK /dɪsˈlɔɪ.əl.ti ˌkɑːd/ US /dɪsˈlɔɪ.əl.ti ˌkɑːrd/
a card that is given to a customer by a group of similar businesses, used to reward the customer for buying goods at any of the businesses and not just one

“Through the disloyalty card that is a part of the campaign, every card holder will earn a stamp for every coffee bought at any of the outlets. The card with the completed number of stamps will entitle the card holder to a free coffee at the first cafe they visited.” … The campaign is aimed to increase awareness of independent authentic coffee makers in the respective market and to increase targeted footfall in the respective participating cafes.
[jewelcoffee.com, 27 August 2021]

inactivist noun [C]
UK /ɪnˈæk.tɪ.vɪst/ US /ɪnˈæk.tə.vɪst/
a person who does not believe that political or social change is worth the effort

As many people now see climate change as the most important issue we currently face, anti-environmentalism has had a facelift. … Climate inactivists claim that government plans to tackle carbon emissions are overly ambitious, expensive and undemocratic. They form part of a growing movement that poses a serious risk to the UK achieving its climate goals.
[nesta.org.uk, 18 January 2022]

anti-ambition noun [U]
UK /ˌæn.ti.æmˈbɪʃ.ᵊn/ US /ˌæn.t̬i.æmˈbɪʃ.ᵊn/
the lack of any strong wish to achieve something

A recent Twitter thread from strategic researcher Victoria Buchanan examined a growing trend among young people on social media toward anti-ambition … Appearing to support this further, a Randstad report in April revealed that 56% of 18–24-year-olds surveyed would rather be unemployed than work in a job that restricts their lifestyle.
[hrmagazine.co.uk, 17 January 2022]

About new words

a little boy is crying as his mother holds and comforts him

Sobbing or pouring your heart out (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 3)

a little boy is crying as his mother holds and comforts him
Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In the last of these three ‘heart’ posts I’ll be looking at phrases for expressing emotions. There are quite a lot and I won’t be able to cover them all so if you can think of a useful ‘heart’ idiom or phrase on this theme that I haven’t included, do please leave a note below. Continue reading “Sobbing or pouring your heart out (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 3)”

photograph of three very tall, thin skyscrapers against an evening sky

New words – 29 August 2022

photograph of three very tall, thin skyscrapers against an evening sky
owngarden / Moment / Getty

superskinny noun [C]
UK /ˌsuː.pə.ˈskɪn.i/ US /ˌsuː.pɚ.ˈskɪn.i/
a very thin skyscraper

‘Superskinnies’ are changing urban skylines and the Steinway Tower in New York is the slimmest (so far), with a height-to-width ratio of 24:1. The views are staggering, as they should be at $26 million an apartment.
[thetimes.co.uk, 9 July 2022]

sidescraper noun [C]
UK /ˈsaɪd.skreɪ.pəʳ/ US /ˈsaɪd.skreɪ.pɚ/
a very long, narrow building that looks like a skyscraper lying on its side

If completed, the Mirror Line sidescraper will run from the Gulf of Aqaba, bisecting a mountain range that extends along the coast. The mirrored building will continue east through a mountain resort and complex housing Saudi’s government, WSJ report cited the planning documents.
[hindustantimes.com, 26 July 2022]

barkitecture noun [U]
UK /ˈbɑː.kɪ.tek.tʃəʳ/ US /ˈbɑːr.kə.tek.tʃɚ/
the art and practice of designing a house or the inside of a house around the needs of one’s pets

The key to good ‘barkitecture’ is that you can’t tell it’s designed for pets, says Nathan Cuttle, founder of New York-based Studio Nato. ‘We find that animal-centric design tends to be best when it’s incorporated as part of the greater design of the home,’ he explains. ‘This means finding ways to incorporate it into the furniture and the fabric of the home as much as possible.’
[livingetc.com, 19 June 2022]

About new words

close up of a woman's hands tearing a pink paper heart in half

Losing and breaking your heart (Heart senses and phrases, Part 2)

close up of a woman's hands tearing a pink paper heart in half
Jamie Grill/Tetra images/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In Part 1 of this ‘heart’ series, I looked at common ‘heart’ idioms and phrases for saying that someone is kind. In this post, I’ll consider various figurative senses of the word ‘heart’ and then focus on idioms and phrases that relate to love and romance. Continue reading “Losing and breaking your heart (Heart senses and phrases, Part 2)”