New words – 18 March 2019

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Mamri noun [C]
/ˈmæmrɪ/
abbreviation for middle-aged man with a running injury: a man who takes up running in middle age and suffers an injury, often due to his belief that he is fitter than he actually is

Men were 45 percent more likely than women to be injured. The scientists put this down to the Mamris’ tendency to follow homemade over-ambitious training plans which put too much strain on their creaking bodies … ‘Men tend to get injured due to training errors, increasing pace and distance too quickly when they are training for an event’.
[Runner’s World (forums), 4 June 2018]

pyjama paralysis noun [U]
/pɪˈdʒɑː.mə.pəˈræl.ə.sɪs/
a condition in which an ill person, especially someone in a hospital, develops certain health problems as a result of spending too much time in bed and not enough time moving around

The chief nursing office for England, Professor Jane Cummings, has called on all health and care organisations in the country to take part in the campaign to end so-called “pyjama paralysis”. The #EndPJparalysis challenge aims to achieve one million patient days of relevant patients being dressed in day clothes and moving around over a 70-day period.
[Nursing Times, 17 April 2018]

sausage tax noun [C]
UK /ˈsɒs.ɪdʒ.tæks/ US /ˈsɑː.sɪdʒ.tæks/
an amount of money added to the price of processed meats, such as bacon and sausages, and paid to the government with the aim of reducing the consumption of these foods and therefore the associated health problems

A new meat tax may be on the way, which is already being dubbed the ‘sausage tax’, in a bid to encourage us to eat less processed meat. Under the proposed tax, a £2.50 packet of sausages would cost £4.47 which, like the recently introduced sugary drinks tax before it, would in theory drive down sales of sausages and bacon.
[The Telegraph, 7 November 2018]

About new words

Don’t hold your breath! The language of planning, part 2

Utamaru Kido/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Last month we looked at the language of planning and making arrangements. Sadly, not everything in life goes according to plan (=happens as intended) and it is wise to keep this in mind when making arrangements! This post, then, focuses on planning words and phrases that relate to problems.

A contingency is something that you know might happen in the future which would cause problems and require further arrangements:

We must prepare for all contingencies.

A contingency plan is a plan that can be used if a problem arises (=happens):

Fortunately, a contingency plan was in place for dealing with such emergencies. Continue reading “Don’t hold your breath! The language of planning, part 2”

New words – 11 March 2019

Bettina Mare Images / Cultura / Getty

blokebuster noun [C]
UK /ˈbləʊk.bʌs.təʳ/ US /ˈbloʊk.bʌs.tɚ/
a book, usually one that sells a large number of copies, aimed particularly at men

Readers weary of blokebusters … will be relieved to learn that a new novel by Kate Atkinson is also due out on Thursday … An early review in London’s Evening Standard described it as a ‘terrific page-turner’.
[The Times, 2 September 2018]

coming-of-old adjective
UK /ˌkʌm.ɪŋ.əv.ˈəʊld/ US /ˌkʌm.ɪŋ.əv.ˈoʊld/
referring to a book or literary genre that focuses on the growth of a main character as they enter old age

She added: ‘It’s a coming-of-old tale which is a totally new genre, we are all living for longer, we have all this extra time and that’s what Beth’s story tells. Everybody can take something from the story. Very few books can be given to your mum, your granny and your children, it works across generations.’
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 14 October 2018]

ambient literature noun [U]
UK /ˌæm.bi.ənt.ˈlɪt.rə.tʃəʳ/ US /ˌæm.bi.ənt.ˈlɪt̬.ɚ.ə.tʃɚ/
books that are read on an electronic device such as a tablet and which use information about the current date and time, the reader’s location, weather conditions etc. to personalise the experience for the reader

But what say the reading purists? Those who recoil from the mere sight of a Kindle and love nothing more than the smell of a dusty library book. Is ambient literature too far removed from the real pleasures of reading? The initial creators of the genre think that to preserve literature in the digital age, it is crucial to move it forward and appeal to younger, digital-native readers.
[Metro, 10 October 2018]

About new words

It slipped my mind: words and phrases connected with forgetting

UpperCut Images/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

Back in 2015, my colleague Kate Woodford wrote a post about words connected with remembering. Today’s post looks at the opposite: words and phrases for forgetting.

It is surprising that for such an important concept, there aren’t really any direct, one-word synonyms for the verb ‘forget’. A slightly formal way to talk about forgetting is to say that you have no memory/recollection of something:

We lived in Russia when I was a baby, but I have no memory of that time. Continue reading “It slipped my mind: words and phrases connected with forgetting”

New words – 4 March 2019

 

Maskot / GettyImages

voiceprint noun [C]
/ˈvɔɪs.prɪnt/
the unique characteristics of a person’s voice, used as a form of identification

The companies behind this technology say that a voiceprint includes more than 100 unique physical and behavioural characteristics of each individual, such as length of the vocal tract, nasal passage, pitch, accent and so on. They claim it is as unique to an individual as a fingerprint, and that their systems even recognise people if they have a cold or sore throat.
[The Guardian, 22 September 2018]

cyberhoarding noun [U]
UK /ˈsaɪ.bəhɔː.dɪŋ/ US /ˈsaɪ.bɚhɔːr.dɪŋ/
a psychological condition where someone finds it impossible to delete unwanted or old data from their computer or other device

You might laugh, but cyberhoarding has become a problem for me and many others. It is one of several new mental health problems that researchers believe is being fuelled by the internet and social media. A new team, named the European Problematic Use of the Internet Research Network, this week said it would examine the condition to measure its long-term impact on web users.
[The Telegraph, 10 October 2018]

predictalitics noun [U]
UK /prɪ.dɪk.tə.ˈlɪt.ɪks/ US /prɪ.dɪk.tə.ˈlɪt̬.ɪks/
a process in which a computer examines all the data available on someone and uses it to predict what diseases they are at risk of

As part of the NHS’s 100,000 Genome Project volunteers are being proactively screened to build up one of the largest DNA databases in the world, which researchers and clinicians will be able to use to fine tune this ‘predictalitics’ technique.
[The Telegraph, 7 May 2018]

About new words

Setting up and mapping out – the language of planning part 1

Cavan Images/Cavan/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

January and February seem like the right months of the year for a post on the language of planning. Since there’s so much useful vocabulary in this area, this will be a two-part blog post.

Starting with near-synonyms for ‘arrange’, a handy phrasal verb is set up. To set up a meeting or similar event is to organize it:

We need to set up a meeting.

I’ve set up interviews with both candidates.

You might also say that you line up an event or number of events: We’ve lined up some great speakers for you this week. 

To schedule a formal or an official event is to arrange for it to happen at a particular time:

The flight was scheduled to arrive at 8:45.

We have a meeting scheduled for 10 a.m.

If you reschedule something, you agree on a new and later time or date for something to happen: I’ve rescheduled Tuesday’s meeting for Wednesday.

If you plan in detail a period of time or future project, you might say that you map it out: He’s got his career all mapped out ahead of him

If you make temporary arrangements which may change in the future, you might describe them as provisional: These dates are only provisional.

You could say the same thing by saying that you will pencil in the arrangement: Okay, let’s pencil in a meeting for next Thursday at 11.

A related phrase is not set in stone, meaning ‘not fixed’: These dates may change nearer the time – they’re certainly not set in stone.

To say that you make a provisional plan definite, you might use the phrasal verb firm up: We’ll need to firm up the details of the agreement.

To call or write to someone in order to say that a formal arrangement is certain is to confirm it: Provisionally, we’ll say February 20th for the meeting, then, but confirm it later.

To anticipate something when you are planning is to expect that it will happen: I don’t anticipate any problems with this stage of the project.

If you allow for something that might happen, you consider it when planning and make arrangements for it: We have to allow for the possibility that the project might be delayed.

Meanwhile, if you reckon on or count on something happening, you think it is very likely and make plans that depend on it happening: We’re reckoning on selling 3,00 units a week.

Part 2 of this post will look at planning for potential problems.

New words – 25 February 2019

Gen Nishino / DigitalVision / Getty

dooring noun [U]
/ˈdɔː.rɪŋ/
a type of road traffic accident caused by someone in a car opening the door without checking it is safe to do so, causing a collision with another road user

I found 10 sources in cities in North America, plus one from Australia, that include dooring incidents, unlike official crash data. These police, hospital, insurance or EMS reports indicate that dooring accounts for 12 to 27 percent of urban car-bike collisions, making it one of the most common crash types.
[cyclingsavvy.org, 29 August 2018]

mistake fare noun [C]
UK /mɪˈsteɪk.feər/ US /mɪˈsteɪk.fer/
a very low price charged for a flight, the result of an error in the listing on the airline’s website

Although Air New Zealand ended up cancelling and refunding the tickets, mistake fares over the last few years, from $225 round-trips to New Zealand to $66 one-ways from the Maldives, have frequently been honoured by airlines. The lucky flyers who enjoyed unbelievably affordable travel didn’t deploy any shifty tricks to get them, either.
[www.independent.co.uk, 9 February 2018]

vomit fraud noun [U]
UK /ˈvɒm.ɪt.frɔːd/ US /ˈvɑː.mɪt.frɑːd/
a type of deception where a driver of an Uber taxi falsely claims that a passenger has vomited in their car and adds an extra charge to the passenger’s bill for cleaning costs

One Uber driver, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Herald people have been committing vomit fraud for a long time. “Many people don’t review their emails or credit card statements, so the drivers wind up pocketing the $80 or $150,” she added.
[www.mirror.co.uk, 24 July 2018]

About new words

On the edge of my seat: talking about excitement

John M Lund Photography Inc/ DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

Today, I’m going to write about words and phrases for describing excitement. I’ll start with a very basic point that often causes trouble for learners of English: the difference between exciting and excited. Remember to use -ing adjectives for the things that cause a feeling, and -ed adjectives for the person experiencing the feeling:

Our trip to see the whales was really exciting.

Everyone was excited about seeing the whales. Continue reading “On the edge of my seat: talking about excitement”

New words – 18 February 2019

Jamie Garbutt / DigitalVision / GettyImages

DoggoLingo noun [U]
UK /ˌdɒg.əʊ.ˈlɪŋ.gəʊ/ US /ˌdɑː.goʊ.ˈlɪŋ.goʊ/
a special language used on the internet, especially on social media sites, to refer to and describe dogs and their behaviour

If you’re not already familiar with DoggoLingo, chances are you will be soon. This internet-based dialect was born on social media and has grown into a whole vocabulary for describing members of the canine species, from doggo to floof to pupperino. 
[www.petbusiness.com, 4 May 2017]

Continue reading “New words – 18 February 2019”

Hangry and bromance (Blend or portmanteau words)

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by Kate Woodford

Our Cambridge Dictionary Facebook page recently featured a post on portmanteau words or blends. These are words formed by combining two other words, such as Brexit (short for ‘British exit’) and brunch (a combination of ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’).

Some blends have existed for a long time. ‘Brunch’, for instance, originated as long ago as the late 19th century. Others were invented more recently. (Although it sometimes seems as if the word ‘Brexit’ has existed forever, it was actually invented as recently as 2012!) Here we look at relatively recent blends in the English language.

Let’s start with food and eating. The blend flexitarian (=flexible + vegetarian) reflects a recent trend away from meat eating. It refers to a person who eats mainly vegetarian food and only now and then eats meat: On page 5, ten health benefits of a flexitarian diet.

The word mocktail, (=mock + cocktail) which has been around a little longer, means ‘a cocktail containing no alcohol’: Customers can enjoy a range of cocktails and mocktails.

Meanwhile, a person who is feeling a little angry or impatient because they haven’t eaten for a while may now be described informally as hangry (= hungry + angry): Just before lunch, he tends to get a bit hangry.

As you might imagine, fashion has generated blends. Jeggings (= jeans + leggings) are tight trousers made from a stretchy material that looks like denim: I went for comfort – jeggings and a sweatshirt.

Skort or skorts (=skirt + shorts), meanwhile, refers to a pair of shorts with a piece of material across the front that gives the appearance of a skirt: I wear a skort for tennis.

Leisure also has a few recent blend words. In the UK, glamping (=glamorous + camping) refers to a more luxurious and stylish form of camping that involves comfortable chairs and beds, heating, etc: Browse our range of glamping options. 

A staycation (=stay + vacation) is a holiday that you take at home or near your home, rather than a long distance away: There’s always the more economical staycation option.

Cosplay (=costume + play) is the activity of dressing as and pretending to be a character from a film, comic book, etc: Cosplay conventions have become big business.

A blend that is often heard in relation to celebrities and other public figures is bromance. This informal term – a blend of ‘bro’/‘brother’ and ‘romance’ – refers humorously to a close, friendly relationship between two men. The apparent bromance between the two leaders has been remarked on in the press.

Continuing with men, the disapproving term mansplain (=man + explain) has emerged in the past few years. If a man mansplains to a woman, he explains something that she already understands: I’ve just had a guy mansplain my own job to me!

Have you heard or read any other blend words recently?