New words – 20 August 2018

Anton Petrus / Moment / Getty

hotumn noun [C]
UK /ˈhɔː.təm/ US /ˈhɑː.tᵊm/
an autumn where the temperatures are warmer than usual for the season, thought to be at least partly caused by climate change

100-degree October temperatures? Welcome to ‘hotumn.’ We’re in the middle of a new, climate-changed kind of fall — one where you ask for that pumpkin spice latte iced, please … Scientists caution against attributing this year’s sweltering Sweatember and Hottober temps to climate change alone, but the long-term trend is clear: This certainly won’t be our last hotumn.
[, 25 October 2017]

bombogenesis noun [U]
UK /ˌbɒmb.əʊ.ˈdʒen.ə.sɪs/ US /ˌbɑːmb.oʊ.ˈdʒen.ə.sɪs/
the process by which a storm very quickly becomes more severe because of a sudden drop in atmospheric pressure

The eastern coast has experienced bombogenesis in the past, like the Superstorm of 1993, which is best known for a snowfall that covered parts of Alabama and went all the way to Maine. The NWS ranked it as “among the deadliest and most costly weather events of the 20th Century”.
[, 3 January 2018]

supercell noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.pə.sel/ US /ˈsuː.pɚ.sel/
a type of severe thunderstorm in which a column of rotating air is sucked upwards, and is usually accompanied by extreme weather conditions such as very heavy rain or hailstones

A frightening picture taken in Newcastle during the huge storms in June 2012 showed what was believed to be the North East’s first taste of a supercell. The freak storm caused flash flooding across the city, closed the Tyne Tunnel and left over 23,000 homes without power. Now five years later, it is feared one could strike again in our region.
[, 21 June 2017]

About new words

Falling out, lashing out and blurting out: phrasal verbs connected with arguing (1).

Peige Gahan / Corbis / VCG

by Liz Walter

We use phrasal verbs a lot, and it’s worth learning as many as you can. In this post, I will look at phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs connected with arguing – there is a surprisingly large number of them! It is often important to know what preposition to use after a phrasal verb, so pay particular attention to the prepositions highlighted in the example sentences.

Continue reading “Falling out, lashing out and blurting out: phrasal verbs connected with arguing (1).”

New words – 13 August 2018

maximkabb / iStock / Getty Images Plus

koselig noun [U]
UK /ˈkəʊsᵊlɪ/ US /ˈkoʊsᵊlɪ/
a Norwegian word for a quality of cosiness that comes from doing simple things such as lighting candles, eating nice food or spending time with friends in a warm, comfortable place

Long, cold evenings are a perfect excuse for being koselig… It] means warm and generous and companionable and a hundred other nice things. It’s when cafés offer you a blanket or sheepskin so you can linger outside and watch the Northern Lights. Or shops are lit with candles. Or complete strangers in a ski hut share a flask of hot chocolate with you.
[The Telegraph, 5 January 2018]

plogging noun [U]
UK /ˈplɒg.ɪŋ/ US /ˈplɑː.gɪŋ/
an activity involving jogging and picking up litter at the same time, from the Swedish word for ‘pick up’ (plocka) and the English word ‘jogging’

Plogging isn’t just fun to say, though. It’s good for your body, good for your mind and good for the environment around you. It means you’re doing something good for yourself and something good for the world, all at the same time.
[, 29 January 2018]

firgun noun [U]
UK /ˈfɪə.gʊn/ US /ˈfɪr.gʊn/
a Hebrew word for a feeling of happiness or pride in someone else’s success

So having “discovered” this new emotion in myself, I’ve spent the last number of weeks just noticing when it crops up in my daily life. I have noticed it is gentle and slow but has a significant bodily response and a quirky side. The people for whom I feel firgun are diverse and sometimes inexplicable. I feel firgun for the people closest to me but also people I barely know or only fleetingly come across.
[, 28 May 2017]

About new words

Raising your game and squaring the circle (Everyday idioms in newspapers)

Epoxydude / Getty Images

by Kate Woodford

The idioms and phrases in this post come from a range of national newspapers that were published on the same day. We write a post on newspaper idioms every couple of months with the aim of keeping you supplied with up-to-date, frequently used English idioms.

One tabloid, commenting on the plot of a well-known television soap opera, writes about the ins and outs of life on the fictitious square where the characters are supposed to live. The ins and outs of a situation or process are the detailed or complicated facts relating to it.

The television critic of another tabloid reviews a show that he thinks fails in its ambitious aims. He uses the British idiom to square the circle, meaning ‘to try to do something that is impossible’. In this paper, as with so many, it is the sports pages that contain the most idioms. A Welsh cyclist, it is reported, has the greatest prize in cycling within his grasp. To have something desirable within your grasp is to be in a position where you might now achieve it. A footballer says of his team that they are going to have to raise their game. To raise your game is to make an effort to improve the way you do something. The same footballer has his career described as a rags-to-riches football story. He started in low-level clubs and now plays in the top football league. Rags-to-riches usually describes a person who was poor but has become rich. Later, in the same sports pages, a much criticized young footballer is said to give short shrift to his critics. If you get or are given short shrift by someone, they give you little attention or sympathy.

The main pages of a regional freesheet report that the US president’s daughter has arrived in the UK hot on the heels of her father’s UK visit. To do something hot on the heels of something else is to do it very soon after. (American English uses the phrase hard on the heels.) The business pages of the same paper describe a company as being on the up. The British idiom on the up means ‘to be improving all the time’. In the sports pages, a cyclist’s ambitions to win a race are said to hang by a thread. If a situation hangs by a thread, a bad result is likely.

Finally, a journalist in a broadsheet expresses frustration with a political party and writes that they must rise to the occasion. To rise to the occasion/challenge is to prove that you can deal with a difficult situation successfully.

New words – 6 August 2018

AntonioGuillem / iStock / Getty Images Plus

back whisperer noun [C]
UK /ˈbæk.ˌwɪs.pᵊr.əʳ/ US /ˈbæk.ˌwɪs.pɚ.ɚ/
a person who helps someone control and manage their back pain without using conventional drugs

Over time, Jakobson Ramin’s squad of back whisperers – rehab, postural and ergonomic specialists, cognitive psychologists and experts in meditation and kinesiology – left her convinced that outwitting back pain requires changing your attitude, from “victimised” to “in control”.
[The Telegraph, 22 January 2018]

carb rinsing noun [U]
UK /ˈkɑːb.rɪns.ɪŋ/ US /ˈkɑːrb.rɪns.ɪŋ/
washing the inside of one’s mouth with a liquid containing sugar and then spitting the liquid out, an activity thought to give the body an instant boost of energy

The researchers, from Coventry University, tested 12 healthy men in their early or mid-20s and found that carb rinsing significantly improved jumping height, the number of bench presses and squats, sprint times over 10 meters, and their sense of alertness.
[The Guardian, 6 February 2018]

DASH diet noun [U]
abbreviation for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension: a way of eating that aims to reduce high blood pressure

One study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that a combination of the DASH diet and regular exercise can help hypertensive patients lower systolic blood pressure by up to 16 points in four months. Research also shows that the diet can help lower your LDL cholesterol, or the most harmful form of cholesterol.
[Men’s Health, 19 January 2018]

About new words

Day in day out: phrases with ‘day’

Nora Carol Photography / Moment / Getty Images

by Liz Walter

Back in March, I wrote a post about phrases containing the word ‘time’: Today, I’m going to look at another set of phrases connected with time, all of which contain the word ‘day’.

Continue reading “Day in day out: phrases with ‘day’”

New words – 30 July 2018

Robert Daly / Caiaimage / Getty

skip-gen trip noun [C]
a holiday taken by grandparents and their grandchildren, or by other family members two generations apart

Travel advisors are now seeing requests for “skip-gen” trips, where grandparents take grandchildren on epic holidays, leaving parents behind … Why now? As the baby boomers retire, two of their top priorities are family and travel. Skip-gen trips combine the two, and allow milestones to be marked, even if parents can’t take time off.
[, 22 August 2017]

last-chance tourism noun [U]
UK /ˌlæst.tʃɑːns.ˈtʊə.rɪ.zᵊm/ US /ˌlæst.tʃæns.ˈtʊr.ɪ.zᵊm/
visiting parts of the world that are endangered and so may no longer exist as a travel destination in the future

Call it the climate change effect. As travel experts look to the new year, they say last-chance tourism will emerge as one of the biggest trends fueling wanderlust. From millennials visiting pristine countries like New Zealand to spending time in the Arctic, visiting endangered destinations will continue to thrive in 2018.
[, 28 December 2017]

globo noun [C]
UK /ˈgləʊ.bəʊ/ US /ˈgloʊ.boʊ/
someone who lives or spends a lot of time in several different parts of the world

Globos are global citizens for whom home is anywhere, from the African Plain to the corner bedroom at Soho House, New York … Globo couples such as George and (French, English and Arabic speaking) Amal Clooney … fit in as easily at the White House as they do a British shooting party.
[, 2 December 2017]

About new words

Common idioms with the word ‘head’

JGI/Jamie Grill / Blend Images / Getty Images

by Kate Woodford

Last month we focused on idioms that included various parts of the body. This week, we look at idioms featuring the most productive part – the head! As ever, we only cover phrases that are frequent and current.

If there is a problem and you bury your head in the sand, you behave as if there is no problem because you do not want to deal with it: This is an environmental catastrophe and we’re just burying our heads in the sand. Someone or something that is head and shoulders above other people or things is very much better than them: There’s no comparison with the other teams – they’re head and shoulders above them. If you keep your head down, you deliberately try to avoid making someone angry, usually by saying little and keeping busy: He’s in a bad mood this morning. I’m just keeping my head down. A discussion that goes over your head is too difficult for you to understand: I must say, parts of the talk went over my head.

Continue reading “Common idioms with the word ‘head’”

New words – 23 July 2018

Prasit photo / Moment / Getty

a-commerce noun [U]
UK /eɪ.ˈkɒm.ɜːs/ US /eɪ.ˈkɑː.mɝːs/
the business of buying and selling goods using technologies such as augmented reality so that purchasers can see items in their real-life context before they buy them

Let’s then welcome … A-Commerce, which will soon replace the E-Commerce term. Through AR, retailers can now offer a more interactive and personal experience that will shift the way we shop forever. Of course, brick-and-mortar stores won’t disappear just yet. But for sure we are coming closer to see that happen one day.
[, 26 December 2017]

techlash noun [C]
a backlash (a strong feeling among a group of people in reaction to a change or recent events) against technology

Daniel Franklin, executive editor at The Economist and editor of “The World in 2018”, told CNBC in an interview that he believed one particular theme to watch out for in 2018 would likely be an impending “techlash.” Over the coming months, lawmakers across the world will likely turn on tech behemoths such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, Franklin said.
[, 1 January 2018]

Industry 4.0 noun [U]
UK /ˈɪn.də.stri.fɔː.pɔɪnt.ˈzɪə.rəʊ/ US /ˈɪn.də.stri.fɔːr.pɔɪnt.ˈzɪr.oʊ/
the processes involved in producing goods for sale in which technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things play an important part

All revolutions are disruptive, and Industry 4.0 is no exception. It poses risks, but offers tremendous opportunity: for new products and services, better ways to serve customers, new types of jobs, and wholly new business models.
[, 22 January 2018]

About new words

Love, work and police: pronouncing the letter ‘o’.

bulentozber / iStock / Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

Pronunciation is one of the hardest things to master in English. Today I’m going to look at the letter ‘o’ and concentrate on some common pronunciation errors.

Most students have no problem with the short vowel sound /ɒ/ found in British English in words such as hot, boss and across. (Americans pronounce this as a longer sound /ɑː/.) Students also generally understand how adding an ‘e’ to the end of a word leads to a longer sound /əʊ/ (UK) /oʊ/ (US), for instance hop/hope, not/note.

Continue reading “Love, work and police: pronouncing the letter ‘o’.”