New words – 4 November 2013

neurotypical adjective without any impairment of or damage to the brain

Children with autism can have 67 per cent more brain neurons than neurotypical kids.

[ 02 April 2013]

ring rain noun water that falls to the surface of Saturn from its rings

‘The main effect of ring rain is that it acts to quench the ionosphere of Saturn,’ Mr. O’Donoghue said.

[New York Times (US broadsheet) 16 April 2013]

shadow biosphere noun a hypothetical, invisible world of alternative lifeforms with a completely different biochemistry from our own

The idea of the shadow biosphere is also controversial and is challenged by several other scientists.

[The Observer (UK broadsheet) 14 April 2013]

selfie noun a photograph taken of yourself, often for the purposes of posting on a social-networking website

People take selfies in public, posing everywhere and in every which way.

[The New Yorker (US magazine) 05 June 2013]

phubbing noun the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention

It sounds cheerfully daft, but there’s an uncomfortable truth at the heart of phubbing: other people are easier to handle when encountered on screen.

[The Independent (UK broadsheet) 05 August 2013]

About new words

11 thoughts on “New words – 4 November 2013

  1. The great virtue of “neurotypical” is that it provides a non-judgmental alternative to “normal” in describing standards under which people with autism or other psychiatric disorders are diagnosed.

    1. That’s interesting! I’m a Linguistic Teacher, researcher in Human Development in Curitiba, Brazil. As far as I understood the article and the definition of the term, is a way to help people to find solution to cognitive and special needs children, in child development. If you have more information about, will be very important for the research.

  2. Emel

    I’m not keen on “shadow biosphere” because the word “shadow” in a compound noun may have undertones of something outside the law or unpleasant, for example in “shadow economy” ,”shadow person”

    1. Nelida K.

      Not necessarily, Emel. You have the established, accepted terms of “shadow cabinet”, or “shadow governmen”, “shadow boxing”, “shadow writer”, which, although implying that they operate in the shadows, so to speak, i.e., not the actual or official thing, does not mean something shadowy or illegal but rather something replicating, or in the manner of, something other.

  3. I think scrubble should be a word. It is the art of dry brushing. You get just a little paint on the brush and you scrubble (move vigorusly with a brush lightly laden with paint to give a very merged/blended effect on hard lines as one example

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  5. Sandy

    Well, I do not think “phubbing” can be used in academic or in formal language…It is just a finicalness…And it doesn’t sound really good…

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