New words – 11 December 2017


omurice noun [C]
UK /ˈɒm.jə.raɪs/ US /ˈɑː.mjə.raɪs/
a Japanese dish consisting of an omelette filled with fried rice and topped with ketchup

A 23-year-old Japanese omurice seller who goes by Kuya Omurice on his Facebook page is a college student who sells the yummy ketchup-drizzled omelets with rice by announcing where he’s going to be for the day and carrying his goods with him in an ice bucket.
[, 28 July 2017]

birch water noun [C and U]
UK /bɜːtʃ ˈwɔː.tᵊr/ US /bɝːtʃ ˈwɑː.t̬ɚ/
a drink made from the sap of the birch tree, said to have health-giving properties

What, you haven’t heard of birch water? Because coconut water, aloe water, maple water and cactus water are so passe, there were several companies at Fancy Foods hawking water made from the sap of birch trees. Companies like Absolutely Wild claim that the water is rich in antioxidants and electrolytes, has “detoxifying and restorative properties” and “strengthens your body’s immunity.” 
[The Washington Post, 30 June 2017]

vegducken noun [C]
UK /vedʒ ˈdʌk.ən/ US /vedʒ ˈdʌk.ən/
a cooked dish consisting of three different types of vegetables placed inside each other

There’s no shame in not eating turkey at Thanksgiving, or ham at Christmas—that is, when you have Butternut Squash Vegducken. This vegetable stunner of an entrée is an entirely meatless take on turducken, with butternut squash, eggplant, and zucchini filling in for the usual suspects.
[, October 2015]

About new words

New words – 4 December 2017

Dan Dalton/Caiaimage/Getty

Black Fiveday noun [C, usually singular]
/blæk ˈfaɪv.deɪ/
the five-day period around Thanksgiving, when shops reduce the price of goods in order to attract customers

But part of the reason for the soaring spending figures is because retailers are stretching the November promotional period for longer than ever before. Last year saw the introduction of the ghastly “Black Fiveday” to festive vocabulary as retailers started to discount from five consecutive days from the Thursday before to “Cyber Monday”.
[Sunday Telegraph, 19 November 2017]

doorbuster noun [C]
UK /ˈdɔː.bʌs.təʳ/ US /ˈdɔːr.bʌs.tɚ/
an article that is sold very cheaply in order to attract customers into a shop and make them buy other, more expensive, things

This year, in-store deals may not be quite as limited because Walmart has more than tripled the number of products available compared with last holiday season. The retailer has even done away with the wristband system used to manage its high-demand, low-supply doorbuster items.
[Yahoo! Finance, 21 November 2017]

golden quarter noun [C]
UK /ˌgəʊl.dᵊn ˈkwɔː.təʳ/ US /ˌgoʊl.dᵊn ˈkwɔːr.t̬ɚ /
the three-month period from October to December when retailers usually make the most profit

“October marked yet another reversal of fortunes for retailers, reinforcing just how volatile consumer spend has been,” said Paul Martin, head of retail at KPMG. “Despite the positive picture last month, these latest figures will be a real disappointment and not the start to the golden quarter retailers had hoped for.”
[, 7 November 2017]

About new words

Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2017

skynesher/E+/Getty Images

Our Word of the Year for 2017 is … populism.

Choosing our Word of the Year required looking at not only the most searched-for words, but also ‘spikes’ – occasions when a word is suddenly looked up many more times than usual on or around a particular date.

On 22 January 2017, as a polarizing candidate was being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, searches for the word inauguration on the online Cambridge Dictionary spiked. But so did searches for the word populism because, on that same day, Pope Francis warned against a rising tide of populism in a widely reported interview with El Pais newspaper. In mid-March, after another high-profile interview with the pontiff – this time with the German newspaper Die Zeit – searches for populism spiked again.

Spikes can reveal what is on our users’ minds and, in what’s been another eventful year, plenty of spikes can be directly connected to news items about politics in the US (nepotism, recuse, bigotry, megalomania) and the UK (shambles, untenable, extradite). The much-anticipated Taylor Review of working practices in the UK caused the term gig economy to spike in July, and of course the spectacular solar eclipse is reflected in the spike for eclipse on 21 August.

What sets populism apart from all these other words is that it represents a phenomenon that’s both truly local and truly global, as populations and their leaders across the world wrestle with issues of immigration and trade, resurgent nationalism, and economic discontent.

Populism is described by the Cambridge Dictionary as ‘political ideas and activities that are intended to get the support of ordinary people by giving them what they want’. It includes the usage label ‘mainly disapproving’. Populism has a taint of disapproval because the –ism ending often indicates a philosophy or ideology that is being approached either uncritically (liberalism, conservatism, jingoism) or cynically (tokenism). Evidence from the Cambridge English Corpus – our 1.5-billion-word database of language – reveals that people tend to use the term populism when they think it’s a political ploy instead of genuine. Both aspects of –ism are evident in the use of populism in 2017: the implied lack of critical thinking on the part of the populace, and the implied cynicism on the part of the leaders who exploit it.


New words – 27 November 2017


screen fatigue noun [U]
/ˈskriːn fəˌtiːg/
the situation where people feel they spend too much time reading text on an e-reader, tablet, etc.

Britons are abandoning the ebook at an alarming rate with sales of consumer titles down almost a fifth last year, as “screen fatigue” helped fuel a five-year high in printed book sales. 
[The Guardian, 27 April 2017]

Rovable noun [C]
UK /ˈrəʊvə.bᵊl/ US /ˈroʊvə.bᵊl/
a very small robot that can be worn on your body and carry out a number of different tasks

In the future, the researchers imagine that Rovables might shrink to the size of a fingernail. Picture lots of robots scurrying around your clothes on a programmed routine: onto your limbs to track your movements at the gym, up to your neck to let you take an incoming call, then over to your back to flash lights while you bike home from work in the dark.
[, 21 October 2016]

digital notepad noun [C]
UK /ˈdɪdʒ.ɪ.tᵊl ˈnəʊt.pæd/ US /ˈdɪdʒ.ə.t̬ᵊl ˈnoʊt.pæd/
a small computer with a special screen you can write or draw on, using a type of pen called a stylus

The ReMarkable digital notepad produced by a Norwegian company is a revolution on the tablets market … The first digital paper tablet for reading, writing and sketching was produced. ReMarkable has a digital paper display without screen glare, and a higher-friction surface. 
[, 1 June 2017]

About new words

New words – 20 November 2017

Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty

femoir noun [C]
a book or other piece of writing based on a female writer’s personal knowledge and experiences, written from a feminist viewpoint

Tracey Spicer says women must speak up on entrenched gender discrimination, take charge of personal finances and shun gruelling beauty routines. The esteemed journalist and author of the self dubbed ‘femoir’ The Good Girl Stripped Bare has shaken off internet trolls and continues to call out sexism in the workplace.
[, 27 April 2017]

equel noun [C]
a book that features some elements of a previous book, such as characters and places, but tells a separate story that is not connected

So … is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? It’s neither. In fact, The Book of Dust is… an ‘equel’. It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognise, and characters they’ve met before.
[, 14 February 2017]

flybrary noun [C]
UK /ˈflaɪ.brər.i/ US /ˈflaɪ.brer.i/
a collection of books at an airport or on an aeroplane that people can borrow to read during their flight

Easyjet is placing thousands of children’s classics on planes during the summer holidays … in an initiative it calls “flybraries” … Kids can read the books on the flight (let’s hope, for a change, for delays, so they can finish) and, when they land, download free samples of other classics for the beach.
[The Sunday Times, 23 July 2017]

About new words

New words – 13 November 2017

Degui Adil/EyeEm/Getty

macroscope noun [C]
UK /ˈmæk.rə.skəʊp/ US /ˈmæk.rə.skoʊp/
a system of computer programs and mathematical instructions that will enable very large amounts of data about the world to be analysed and understood

In five years, we will use machine-learning algorithms and software to help us organize the information about the physical world to help bring the vast and complex data gathered by billions of devices within the range of our vision and understanding. We call this a “macroscope” – but unlike the microscope to see the very small, or the telescope that can see far away, it is a system of software and algorithms to bring all of Earth’s complex data together to analyze it by space and time for meaning.
[, January 2017]

Continue reading “New words – 13 November 2017”

New words – 6 November 2017

a_namenko/Getty Images Plus/Getty

bubble waffle noun [C]
UK /ˈbʌb.ᵊl ˈwɒf.ᵊl/ US /ˈbʌb.ᵊl ˈwɑːf.ᵊl/
a type of food made from a mixture of milk, flour, and egg, that is cooked in a special pan whose surface forms a pattern of raised spheres and is then filled with other sweet or savoury foods

Inspired by a Hong Kong street food known as gai daan jai, this confection is continuing to make inroads around the world … Instead of a Belgian waffle’s grid, a bubble waffle, or egg waffle, consists of an interconnected hive of spheres. Think bubble wrap, but edible (and much less noisy).
[The Washington Post, 6 April 2017]

rainbow croissant noun [C]
UK /ˈreɪn.bəʊ ˈkwæs.ɒ̃/ US /ˈreɪn.boʊ kwɑːˈsɑ̃ː/
a piece of light, crescent-shaped pastry made with dough that has been dyed in a pattern of different colours

Now, a café in London has started selling rainbow croissants.The serious stylish pastry features bold shades and precise lines – and you can guarantee they’re as easy on the tastebuds as they are on the eye. The pigmented pastries have been dreamt up by Sarah Barber, a pastry chef who has luxury hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants on her culinary CV.
[, 11 May 2017]

snackadium noun [C]
a selection of snack foods arranged in the form of an American football stadium, usually served to a group of people who are watching the annual Super Bowl game

A growing fringe of snackadium builders like Mr. Aron spend days meticulously constructing elaborate football-arena models using Super Bowl party food. Guacamole end zones rest under beef-jerky goal posts. Spectator stands seat hot wings, sliders and sushi. Cocktail weenies become players with Frito helmets. Cheese blocks perched on skewers make excellent stadium lights.
[, 2 February 2017]

About new words

New words – 30 October 2017

Michael Blann/DigitalVision/Getty

manel noun [C]
a panel made up only of men

Some of my male peers in the industry joke about it, calling the consistently male dominated talks or panels ‘manels’ – recognising the distinct lack of female voices. What’s telling is that ‘manels’ are everywhere – in the boardroom, C-Suite and across the tech sector, especially finance.
[, 6 August 2015]

manfant noun [C]
an adult male who behaves like a young child

With these new manfants suddenly taking the reins of power, being a pathetic mewling mess has become socially acceptable.  ... In the US, there are the #ProudBoys, a sort of baby-man movement created for failed jocks who need constant reassurance that daddy loves them.

[The Guardian, 8 January 2017]

manosphere noun [U]
UK /ˈmæn.ə.sfɪəʳ/ US /ˈmæn.ə.sfɪr/
a loose network of websites, blogs and online forums on issues related to men and masculinity, normally with an anti-feminist perspective

But within just a few months, Futrelle was attracting a significant female audience: women eager to learn what men were getting up to online but put off by the prospect of trudging through the manosphere themselves.
[New York Times, 13 June 2017]

About new words

New words – 23 October 2017

Tracy Packer Photography/Moment Open/Getty

dopamine dressing noun [U]
UK /ˌdəʊ.pə.miːn ˈdres.ɪŋ/ US /ˌdoʊ.pə.miːn ˈdres.ɪŋ/
the activity of wearing brightly coloured, relaxed clothes in order to be happier

So-called dopamine dressing is everywhere this season. Based on the idea that wearing overtly fun clothes can help lift your mood in depressing times, it begs the question: can wearing “happy clothes” really make us more happy?
[, 3 February 2017]

gorpcore noun [U]
UK /ˈgɔːp.kɔːʳ/ US /ˈgɔːrp.kɔːʳ/
a fashionable way of dressing inspired by clothes worn for outdoor activities such as camping and hiking

For a festival as famed for its mud as its music, this actually makes a lot of sense. Glastonbury gave us Hunter Wellingtons as a trend. Whether or not gorpcore will reach those heights probably depends on whether Kate Moss and Alexa Chung take it up.
[, 20 June 2017]

Shuber noun [C]
UK /ˈʃuː.bəʳ/ US /ˈʃuː.bɚ/
a shoe, usually one with a very high heel, that is too uncomfortable to walk in and so requires the wearer to take a taxi (an Uber) to and from home

Stupid stilettos are back, unfortunately. Just as I have adjusted to flats, the new heel trend is the ‘Shuber’ … Where once a ‘driver at your beck and call’ was reserved for the rich and famous, we can now all feel like Posh, with Uber and Hailo, and jump in a nearby car in less than two minutes. So voila – no need to walk – and those incredibly lean heels needn’t be a problem.
[ (blog), 19 May 2017]

About new words

New words – 16 October 2017

JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Getty
Linkster noun [C]
UK /ˈlɪŋk.stəʳ/ US /ˈlɪŋk.stɚ/
someone born after the year 2002, said to be “linked” into technology since birth

So, the Linkster population – estimated to make up 18 per cent of the world’s population – grew up with social media, smart phones and apps. Not only this, but someone born in 2002 is just going to have turned 15 years old, meaning they are developing into adults surrounded by … the help, expertise and pressures of social media, the internet and advanced technology.
[, 11 April 2017]

perennial noun [C]
a middle-aged woman whose behaviour, interests and attitudes are traditionally thought to be those of younger women

“Perennials are ever-blooming, relevant people of all ages who know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology and have friends of all ages. We get involved, stay curious, mentor others, and are passionate, compassionate, creative, confident, collaborative, global-minded risk takers.”
[The Sunday Telegraph, 2 July 2017]

Xennial noun [C]
someone born between 1977 and 1983, between Generation X and the millennial generation

Typically, Xennials don’t have the apathy and cynicism associated with the Gen X generation, but they also lack the dogged optimism of millennials, who are said to overestimate their potential because they were raised to believe that they were “special.” Xennials fall somewhere in between these two extremes.
[, 30 June 2017]

About new words