Hot under the collar? Idiomatic phrases with ‘hot’.

by Liz Walter

mikroman6/Moment/Getty Images

Sitting in my office in Cambridge UK, with cold, windy weather outside, it is nice to think about phrases containing the word ‘hot’. There are quite a lot of them, and this post looks at some of the most useful ones.

Let’s start with the phrase in the title. If someone is hot under the collar, they are angry and look as though they might lose their temper soon. We often use the verb get or become with this phrase. Continue reading “Hot under the collar? Idiomatic phrases with ‘hot’.”

New words – 2 December 2019

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micro-scheduling noun [U]
UK /ˈmaɪ.krəʊ.ʃedjuːlɪŋ/ US /ˈmaɪ.kroʊ.skedʒuːlɪŋ/
the activity of planning your time in a way that accounts for what you will do in every minute of the day

The CEOs have said it: scheduling meetings, lunch breaks and workouts is no longer enough. To hit peak productivity, micro-scheduling is the best option: in other words, planning every minute of your day, down to checking your phone and making tea. It’s all the rage in Silicon Valley: Bill Gates and Elon Musk both split their days into five-minute chunks. And New York-based entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk reportedly plans his day out to the second.
[standard.co.uk, 21 February 2019]

timeboxing noun [U]
UK /taɪm.bɒk.sɪŋ/ US /ˈtaɪm.bɑːk.sɪŋ/
a technique to manage your time more efficiently that involves planning what you are going to do in every minute of the next week

There are various timeboxing apps and templates out there … but I start by using Google calendar to schedule a week full of tasks. Everything, from what time I start writing to when I walk the dog, is neatly mapped out.
[The Guardian, 12 October 2019]

FONC noun [U]
UK /fɒŋk/ US /fɑːŋk/
abbreviation for “fear of not chilling”: a worried feeling that you may miss the opportunity to stay at home and relax, because you are too busy and are going out a lot

You know you have FONC when your busy schedule causes mild panic about when you’ll have time to treat yourself to some necessary R&R. “It’s kind of the opposite of saying yes to everything,” says Kott … “It’s like, I’d rather be home chilling or chilling with friends. If there’s a really busy week, or a really busy few days of the week in a work sense, then I try to allow space for relaxation,” she says.
[standard.co.uk, 21 February 2019]

About new words

Learning Synonyms

by Kate Woodford

Many of our About Words blog posts aim to provide our readers with a range of interesting words and phrases for saying the same or a similar thing.  We’re talking, of course, about synonyms – or near-synonyms. This week, we’re still focusing on this approach to vocabulary expansion but we’re looking at the way that Cambridge Dictionary +Plus can help with the process. Continue reading “Learning Synonyms”

New words – 25 November 2019

vm / E+ / Getty

laughter club noun [C]
UK /ˈlɑːf.tə.klʌb/ US /ˈlæf.tɚ.klʌb/
an organization of people who meet regularly to laugh together as a form of therapy

It’s no joke. Laughter clubs exist all over the country. They’re run by “certified laughter leaders” – often psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists – who are trained in the healing benefits of laughter. These workshops can help you connect with others as you get in a good laugh.
[www.rd.com/health/wellness, no date]

entertrainment noun [U]
UK /en.təˈtreɪn.mənt/ US /en.t̬ɚˈtreɪn.mənt/
fitness classes that combine exercise with entertainment, designed to make exercise more fun

So, how do we navigate this confusing world of entertrainment? How to sort off the marketing gimmicks from the genuinely useful concepts? Firstly, it’s worth repeating Beverley’s line: movement is good for you, and if fun, faddy classes help get you working out, then that’s probably a good thing. Don’t beat yourself up about loving entertrainment if it works for you.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 22 March 2019]

sober bar noun [C]
UK /ˈsəʊ.bə.bɑːʳ/ US /ˈsəʊ.bə.bɑːr/
a bar where no alcoholic drinks are served

Many of the wave of sober bars are new, and it remains to be seen whether they will continue to proliferate and thrive. In Auckland in 2015, an alcohol-free bar shut down after just five weeks. But there’s no doubt that interest in non-alcoholic adult beverages is increasing across the beverage industry, and that’s unlikely to stop soon.
[bbc.com/worklife, 19 July 2019]

About new words

When disaster strikes: ways of describing bad events

Caspar Benson/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

First, apologies for the gloomy subject! However, we can’t read the news without being aware of terrible things that happen in the world, and there is a rich selection of vocabulary to describe them, including some nice collocations. Continue reading “When disaster strikes: ways of describing bad events”

New words – 18 November 2019

facial fingerprint noun [C]
UK /ˌfeɪ.ʃᵊl.ˈfɪŋ.gə.prɪnt/ US /ˌfeɪ.ʃᵊl.ˈfɪŋ.gɚ.prɪnt/
the pattern of lines and other markings on someone’s face that is different in every person and can be used for identification purposes

Unless you have an unshakeable faith in the incorruptibility of our own state – which, judging by the wider mood, most of us don’t – it seems bafflingly reckless to offer up your face to be logged. Yet more than 150 million people, so far, have downloaded FaceApp. Millions more have handed over their facial fingerprints in order to unlock their smartphones more easily, or to activate Apple’s cute little Animojis.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 18 July 2019] Continue reading “New words – 18 November 2019”

Comical and hysterical (Words that mean funny)

Melody A/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Kate Woodford

‘A day without laughter is a day wasted,’ said Charlie Chaplin, the comic actor and filmmaker. Whether or not you agree with him, you’ll almost certainly want to describe, in English, things that are funny. In this week’s post, we’ll provide you with a range of words to help you do just that. Continue reading “Comical and hysterical (Words that mean funny)”

New words – 11 November 2019

Dougal Waters / DigitalVision / GettyImages

breatharian noun [C]
UK /breθ.ˈeə.ri.ən/ US /breθ.ˈer.i.ən/
someone who believes that by doing a special type of breathing exercise they can get all the nutrients they need from air and do not have to eat solid food

Audra Bear identifies as a breatharian and claims she fasts for up to 97 days because food gets in the way of her enjoyment of life. Despite the dangers and lack of any scientific backing whatsoever that it works, Audra, 25, insists that it is good for her. She has tried various diets over the years including being a vegan then a raw vegan for four years before taking on so-called pranic living and breatharianism.
[Metro, 28 June 2019] Continue reading “New words – 11 November 2019”

Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2019

Our Word of the Year 2019 is . . . upcycling.

This word was chosen based on the Word of the Day that resonated most strongly with fans on the Cambridge Dictionary Instagram account, @CambridgeWords. The word upcycling – defined as the activity of making new furniture, objects, etc. out of old or used things or waste material – received more likes than any other Word of the Day (it was shared on 4 July 2019). Continue reading “Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2019”

New words – 4 November 2019

Morsa Images / DigitalVision / GettyImages

microworker noun [C]
UK /ˈmaɪ.krəʊ.wɜːkəʳ/ US /ˈmaɪ.kroʊ.wɝːkɚ/
someone whose job is to carry out a number of small but important tasks online that need human input and cannot be done by a computer

Two years ago she swapped her dental practice for online work as part of the global army of hidden “microworkers” – performing tasks that machines alone cannot. Think of a day in your “digital life”. Whether it’s your phone’s search engine recommending relevant restaurants or a music app’s suggested playlist – none of this would be possible without microworkers.
[www.bbc.co.uk/news, 2 August 2019]

slashie noun [C]
/ˈslæʃ.i/
someone who has several different jobs at the same time, from the use of the slash (/) in, for example, writer/dog walker/barista

Sam Gray is a so-called “slashie” … She’s a former teacher living in Torquay, and currently works five different jobs. In addition to her own dog-grooming business, Toodles, Sam works as a private tutor, teaches crochet and sells patterns, works security for nightclubs and bars and works two 12-hour night shifts at a local arcade.
[www.bbc.co.uk/news, 22 April 2019]

micro-bonus noun [C]
UK /’maɪkrəʊ.ˌbəʊnəs/ US /’maɪkroʊ.ˌboʊnəs/
a small amount of money made available by a company for employees to give to their colleagues as a reward for good work

Former employees of businesses that use the micro-bonus peer-to-peer system aren’t quite of the same opinion, with claims it’s “open to abuse”, as well as the fact that it can result in a popularity contest and diminish the value of the work you do, by making it seem like you’re purely working for tips.
[www.executivegrapevine.com, 17 May 2019]

About new words