Flaring up or bubbling over? Phrasal verbs to express emotions, part 2.

Nick Dolding / Cultura / Getty Images

by Liz Walter

My last post was about phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs connected to sadness and happiness. This post will look at some other emotions.

Let’s start with anger. If someone suddenly becomes angry, we can say that they flare up. Blow up is similar and often describes an even angrier outburst. We use the preposition at if that anger is directed at a particular person: Continue reading “Flaring up or bubbling over? Phrasal verbs to express emotions, part 2.”

New words – 14 October 2019

Looking through...
sanjeri / iStock / Getty Images Plus

property noir noun [U]
UK /ˌprɒp.ə.ti.ˈnwɑːʳ/ US /ˌprɑː.pɚ.t̬i.ˈnwɑːr/
a style of crime fiction where the plot involves the people who live in a particular neighbourhood and the houses they live in

A clever enjoyable follow-up to Our House, Candlish’s award-winning first venture into property noir, this is scarily plausible.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 1 November 2018]

yarden noun [C]
UK /ˈjɑː.dən/ US /ˈjɑːr.dən/
a small yard behind a house that has been turned into a garden

I wanted my yarden to be a quiet place of refuge, somewhere to relax in a slouchy chair after work, with a beer and a book, somewhere to get lost in my slippers on a Sunday morning and, after tweaking out a few weeds, discover that my cup of tea was stone cold and a couple of hours had passed… And as well as a marvellous, lush space, I also wanted to grow my own produce.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 9 February 2019]

Dimby noun [C]
/ˈdɪmbɪ/
abbreviation for develop in my back yard: someone who sells their house or land they own to a property developer

Of course, becoming a Dimby won’t work for everyone struggling to sell – you’ll usually need land on which to develop, and it helps if you have a single-storey property among taller buildings, or a detached home in a built-up area.
[Sunday Times, 27 May 2018]

About new words

Sitting on the fence and turning a corner (Everyday idioms in newspapers)

newspapers.jpg
John Lamb/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

The idioms and phrases in this week’s post are taken from a range of national newspapers that were published during the course of a weekend. We write a newspaper idioms post every couple of months in order to keep you supplied with up-to-date, commonly used English idioms.

One newspaper reports on the front page that a major British company is ‘on the brink of’ collapse. To be on the brink of or teetering on the brink of, something, (especially something bad), is to be very close to doing it. The same paper writes that the leader of a political party has ‘come under fire’ from within his own party. To come under fire is to be severely criticized.

In the sports pages of that paper, we read that a Formula One champion is set to ‘play hardball’ with his rivals. If a person plays hardball, they are very determined to defeat someone, using force if necessary. On another page of the sports section, a journalist observes that the story of an athlete who has successfully recovered from cancer will ‘strike a chord’ with very many people. If something strikes a chord with you, you understand it and respond to it emotionally, usually because something similar has also happened to you.

Another broadsheet insists that a UK party leader must ‘stop sitting on the fence’ in relation to Brexit. To sit on the fence in a debate is to not support one side or the other. A guest columnist in the same paper claims that he is a ‘dab hand’ at making tasty dishes with kale (= a dark green cabbage). A dab hand is someone who is very good at a particular activity.

A third newspaper comments that many people now have a low opinion of politicians, assuming that they entered politics only to ‘feather their nests’. To feather your (own) nest is to deliberately make yourself rich, usually by doing something dishonest. In an article on ‘ethical fashion’, a campaigner claims that the fashion world has finally ‘turned a corner’ and is now serious about environmental issues. If a situation turns a/the corner, it improves after a difficult period.

Finally, all the newspapers report that people in their millions have ‘taken to the streets’ to protest against climate change. Take to the streets is a phrase that newspapers often use simply to mean ‘demonstrate’.

 

 

 

New words – 7 October 2019

The silhouette of a passenger plane flying in sunset.
Moostocker / iStock / Getty Images Plus

flight shaming noun [U]
/ˈflaɪt.ʃeɪ.mɪŋ/
the act of making someone feel guilty about travelling by air because of the impact on the environment

Yet with growing pressure and heightened concern around global heating – plus potentially higher taxes in future on flights, to counter carbon emissions, and the social effect of “flight shaming” – it is possible there will be a more substantial shift in the coming years in the way holidaymakers travel.
[www.theguardian.com, 9 June 2019]

Green Friday noun [C]
/ˌgriːn.ˈfraɪ.deɪ/
an alternative to Black Friday, when consumers are encouraged to shop less and/or to buy sustainable products instead

Blind consumerism is clearly a huge problem. Often times, the customer will settle on a product that lacks an ethical supply chain or a positive impact in the interest of getting the best deal. By celebrating Green Friday, we’re offering our customers a chance to get a killer deal on some great products made from sustainable materials with an ethical supply chain AND plant 10 trees for each item purchased.
[www.tentree.com, 16 November 2018]

net zero adjective
UK /net.ˈzɪə.rəʊ/ US /net.ˈzɪə.roʊ/
describes a situation where the amount of carbon emissions put into the atmosphere is no more than the amount removed, thereby not allowing climate change to get worse

Theresa May has sought to cement some legacy in the weeks before she steps down as prime minister by enshrining in law a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, making Britain the first major economy to do so. The commitment … would make the UK the first member of the G7 group of industrialised nations to legislate for net zero emissions, Downing Street said.
[www.theguardian.com, 11 June 2019]

About new words

He’s pulling your leg! Idioms with ‘pull’.

laflor/E+/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

There are a surprising number of commonly used idioms that contain the verb ‘pull’. This post will look at some of the most useful ones.

Let’s start with the idiom in the title. If you accuse someone of pulling your leg, you mean that you believe they are teasing you by saying something that isn’t true. If we think that someone is teasing us in that way, we might say Pull the other leg/one!’, or even the longer version Pull the other one – it’s got bells on!. This shows that we don’t believe them.

She’s just pulling your leg – she doesn’t really expect you to do all the cooking.

You have a pet lion? Pull the other one!

We use ‘pull’ in several idioms connected with people making an effort and doing what they should do. If someone pulls their weight, they do their share of the work and if you pull out all the stops, you make as much effort as possible to ensure that something is successful or impressive.

Anyone who doesn’t pull their weight will have to leave the project.

They pulled out all the stops to make sure the president enjoyed his visit.

On the other hand, if someone tells you to pull your socks up, they are saying in an angry way that you should do something better.

You need to pull your socks up and start taking your studies a bit more seriously!

There are two nice ‘pull’ idioms connected with stopping things. If you pull the plug on an activity, you stop it, often by not spending any more money on it, and if you pull the rug from under someone’s feet, you suddenly stop supporting them or do something that causes serious problems for them:

They decided to pull the plug on their latest venture after disappointing sales in the first year.

We were planning a surprise party for their anniversary but they pulled the rug from under our feet by announcing they were going away on a cruise.

If you say that someone didn’t pull their punches, or didn’t pull any punches, you mean that they say something in a very direct way, without trying to be kind or tactful:

She told me exactly what she thought of my novel and she didn’t pull any punches.

And finally – a rather painful image! – if you say that doing something is like pulling teeth, you mean that it is very difficult and often slow to do:

Getting my boss to agree to any change is like pulling teeth.

I hope that learning these useful idioms won’t be like pulling teeth, so try to pull out all the stops to learn them!

New words – 30 September 2019

Ceneri / E+ / Getty Images

panda parenting noun [U]
UK /ˌpæn.də.ˈpeə.rᵊn.tɪŋ/ US /ˌpæn.də.ˈper.ᵊn.t̬ɪŋ/
a way of raising children that involves encouraging them to be independent and behave responsibly from a young age and allowing them to make mistakes in order to learn

Wojcicki credits the success of her three grown-up daughters to Panda Parenting. As children they could swim independently at two, went to the shops on their own at four, and walked to school alone at five. As adults they are the CEO of YouTube, a professor of paediatrics, and co-founder of genomics company 23andMe who’s worth around $440million.
[kidspot.com.au, 16 May 2019]

frankenbee noun [C]
/ˈfræŋ.kən.biː/
a bee that has had some of its genes changed scientifically so that it is resistant to dangers such as pesticides and viruses

So, what can be done about the pollination of crops that might cost farmers all over the world billions of dollars in losses? For many, the answer is to build a more resilient bee. Frankenbees, or genetically modified superbees, would be less susceptible to viruses, mites, and, yes, even pesticides.
[www.earthlyperspective.com, 1 November 2018]

therapet noun [C]
/ˈθer.ə.pet/
an animal, usually a dog, that is specially trained to calm people who are stressed or anxious, or to visit ill or elderly people

The therapets … will be easy to spot in their high-vis jackets and bandanas. They will mingle with passengers and staff to work their animal magic, both landside and airside throughout the terminal. The crew are already regular visitors to nursing homes, schools, prisons and universities, where they have helped improve mental health and well-being, alleviate stress and calm nerves.
[www.eveningexpress.co.uk, 29 April 2019]

About new words

Dreary and mind-numbing: interesting ways of saying ‘boring’

John Slater / DigitalVision / Getty Images

by Kate Woodford

We recently looked at different ways of saying ‘interesting’. Sadly, not everything in life is fascinating, absorbing or gripping. Now and then, something that we watch, read or in some other way experience is, well… boring. However, if you read this post, you’ll at least be able to use interesting words and phrases to say that things are boring! Continue reading “Dreary and mind-numbing: interesting ways of saying ‘boring’”

New words – 23 September 2019

Westend61 / Getty Images

Whexit noun [C]
/ˈweksɪt/
the act of leaving a Whatsapp group, usually because you are annoyed with one or more of the other members

Finally … there’s always the possibility of making a Whexit – a well-timed “[insert name here] has left the group” is the equivalent of throwing a cocktail in someone’s face and flouncing out of the room, and just as fabulous.
[Grazia, no date]

edgelord noun [C]
/ˈedʒ.lɔːd/
someone who says offensive or controversial things on social media in order to shock people

What’s different about ProZD, who’s otherwise known as the voice actor and YouTuber SungWon Cho, is how everything he makes is just nice. … “I think I’m just a nice guy,” says Cho. “I don’t feel the need to be a sort of edgelord, who tries to offend people — that’s just not in my nature,” he says. “I just make what I like to make.”
[www.theverge.com, 12 July 2019]

offence archaeology noun [U]
UK /əˈfens.ˌɑː.kiˈɒl.ə.dʒi/ US /əˈfens.ˌɑːr.kiˈɑː.lə.dʒi/
the act of searching through someone’s old posts on social media websites to find offensive comments they have made in the past

Regardless of who it is directed at, offence archaeology is an ugly practice. It assumes the worst in people and unscrupulously takes comments out of context. One line taken from a conversation or a joke between friends may bear little relation to its intended meaning. Ransacking social media in search of something outrageous allows those pointing the finger to avoid difficult arguments while simultaneously assuming the moral high ground.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 25 June 2019]

About new words

Weighed down or perking up? Phrasal verbs to express emotions, part 1

jayk7 / Moment / Getty Images

by Liz Walter

Phrasal verbs are a very important part of English (even if students hate them!) and I have written several posts explaining useful ones. I realised recently that there is a surprisingly large number of phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs relating to emotions. Today I am going to concentrate on happiness and sadness. My next post will cover some other emotions, and a final post will present a selection of phrasal verbs for talking more generally about emotions. Continue reading “Weighed down or perking up? Phrasal verbs to express emotions, part 1”

New words – 16 September 2019

TARIK KIZILKAYA / E+ / Getty Images

life extensionist noun [C]
/laɪf.ɪkˈsten.ʃᵊnɪst/
someone who tries to find ways of making people live longer to the point when they become immortal

Life extensionists have become a fervent and increasingly vocal bunch. Famously, the community includes venture capitalists and Silicon Valley billionaires … who consider death undesirable and appear to have made so much money they require infinite life in which to spend it.
[The Observer Magazine, 23 June 2019]

patient influencer noun [C]
UK /ˌpeɪ.ʃᵊnt.ˈɪn.flu.ən.səʳ/ US /ˌpeɪ.ʃᵊnt.ˈɪn.flu.ən.sɚ/
someone who is paid by a pharmaceutical company to review or promote its products on social media sites such as Instagram

With respect to Instagram advertising, this can be problematic because a consumer might associate a product with an influencer’s entire feed rather than the information presented in a single ad. To add insult to injury, some patient influencers — who have every financial incentive to promote their products “authentically” — may omit critical health information, thus deceiving potential patients.
[www.vox.com, 15 February 2019]

gender health gap noun [C]
UK /ˌdʒen.də.ˈhelθ.gæp/ US /ˌdʒen.dɚ.ˈhelθ.gæp/
the inequality in the way that men and women experience the healthcare system

The gender health gap is varied and complex — it’s less a case of outright sexism, more entrenched societal values — but, ultimately, the statistics suggest women’s lives are being put at risk.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 22 May 2019]

About new words