New words – 2 April 2018


distracted walking noun [U]
UK /dɪˈstræk.tɪd ˈwɔː.kɪŋ/ US /dɪˈstræk.tɪd ˈwɑː.kɪŋ/
the minor crime of crossing the road while looking at your mobile phone or similar device and therefore posing a danger to motorists and other pedestrians

As such, the newly tabled private member’s bill at Queen’s Park aimed at curbing so-called “distracted walking” amounts to evidence-blind legislative overreach. The proposed law, which would impose fines of up to $125 for crossing the street while using a cellphone, is itself a distraction from the real causes and solutions to Ontario’s – and, in particular, Toronto’s – growing pedestrian safety problem.
[, 30 October 2017]

smombie noun [C]
UK /ˈsmɒ US /ˈsmɑː
a pedestrian who is distracted by their mobile phone or similar device

Germany also boasts the distinction of installing some of the world’s first traffic lights in the pavement, designed to stop smombies walking out in front of a bus.
[, 29 November 2016]

zombie law noun [C]
UK /ˈzɒ lɔː/ US /ˈzɑː lɑː/
a law that bans people from crossing the road while distracted by their mobile phone or similar device

As Honolulu rolls out the new “zombie law”, other North American cities have been watching carefully. Earlier this year, the Toronto City Council in Canada voted to ask provincial Ontario to amend the existing traffic laws to make distracted walking an offence. However, the province turned the request down, and the city is instead concentrating on public education.
[, 27 October 2017]

About new words

16 thoughts on “New words – 2 April 2018

  1. Jez

    Why smombie and not just mombie? I don’t understand the reason for the ‘s’ otherwise a good addition to the dictionary

      1. David L. Gold

        Rather, the German word Smartphone comes from the English word smartphone.

        Since the German word is unanalyzable in German whereas the English word is analyzable in English (= English smart + English phone), it is clear that the relationship between the two words is English smartphone > German Smartphone (the German word comes from the English one) rather than vice versa.

        Likewise, if one considers the English word kindergarten and the German word Kindergarten, it is clear that the English word comes from the German one because the English word is unanalyzable in English whereas the German word is analyzable in German (= German Kinder + German Garten).

    1. Tansy

      Hello Jez. Your just reminded me of an English learning video clip I watched on BBC Learning English in 2016. It said that Smombie stands for Smartphone zombie. I presume that’s the answer to your question 🙂 BTW, I’m all for it that mombie is a neat choice for a new word 😛

  2. Estela Alvarado

    Please don’t send me anymore emails.

    On Sun, Apr 1, 2018, 11:01 PM About Words – Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog wrote:

    > Cambridge Words posted: ” distracted walking noun [U] UK /dɪˈstræk.tɪd > ˈwɔː.kɪŋ/ US /dɪˈstræk.tɪd ˈwɑː.kɪŋ/ the minor crime of crossing the road > while looking at your mobile phone or similar device and therefore posing a > danger to motorists and other pedestrians As such, th” >

  3. Arturo Leo

    The reason in my thought, to add new words to a language is to maintain it alive. All words sooner or later change in meaning become old-fashioned or disappear.

  4. David L. Gold


    As a new subscriber to “New Words” (since 3 April 2018), I have enjoyed reading the latest batch and all earlier ones I could find but am unsure of having seen them all because I apparently got lost in a maze (I was able to go back to April 2017 but am uncertain whether those of that month are your earliest ones).

    Would it be possible to add a link at the end of the current batch that would lead the reader to all earlier ones without the need to click further?

    You may find this article useful, which is available free of charge on the Internet:

    An Aspect Of Lexicography Still Not Fully Professionalized: The Search For Antedatings And Postdatings, Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses 18 (2005): 25-69

    One small correction if I may: in the entry for champing (‘a type of camping that involves sleeping in a church that is not being used. The word is a mixture of ‘church’ and ‘camping’’), BLEND would be better than MIXTURE.

    David L. Gold

  5. Emmanuel Arnold Fletcher

    Just wanted to be sure these new new words/expressions have been approved by relevant body for the English language as is the case with Academie Francaise which approves news words in French. Not sure of the body for the English or the Queen’s language and I’m happy to be educated on this!

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