New words – 24 February 2020

Dwight Eschliman / Stone / Getty Images Plus

food desert noun [C]
UK /ˌfuːd ˈdez.ət/ US /ˌfuːd ˈdez.ɚt/
an area where there is little or no access to healthy food

A widely held theory maintains that those who live in food deserts are forced to shop at local convenience stores, where it’s hard to find healthy groceries. A proposed solution is to advocate for the opening of supermarkets in these neighborhoods, which are thought to encourage better eating.
[www.nyu.edu, 10 December 2019]

food insecurity noun [U]
UK /ˈfuːd ˌɪn.sɪˈkjʊə.rə.ti/ US /ˈfuːd ˌɪn.səˈkjʊr.ə.t̬i/
the state of not being able to afford to buy enough food to stay healthy

The government is to introduce an official measure of how often low-income families across the UK skip meals or go hungry because they cannot afford to buy enough food, the Guardian can reveal. A national index of food insecurity is to be incorporated into an established UK-wide annual survey run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that monitors household incomes and living standards.
[www.theguardian.com, 27 February 2019]

social supermarket noun [C]
UK /ˌsəʊ.ʃᵊl ˈsuː.pəˌmɑː.kɪt/ US /ˌsoʊ.ʃᵊl ˈsuː.pɚˌmɑːr.kɪt/
a place where food is sold at very low prices to people who do not have enough money to buy it in other shops

A ‘social supermarket’ has opened offering a week’s worth of shopping for just £3 to Britons who struggle to feed themselves and their families. The food, worth between £15 and £25, is donated and … it helps those struggling financially to put food on their tables, serving so many people that it has been forced to open an extra day.
[mirror.co.uk, 14 January 2019]

About new words

New words – 17 February 2020

OcusFocus / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

orthosomnia noun [U]
UK /ˌɔː.θəˈsɒm.ni.ə/ US /ˌɔːr.θoʊˈsɑːm.ni.ə/
the inability to sleep well, caused by thinking too much about getting enough sleep and by using apps and other technology to measure how much sleep you get

Orthosomnia is a new type of sleep problem that has arisen due to the overload of sleep information thanks to the influx of digital sleep trackers and apps in recent years … In other words, by becoming so dependent upon these devices on their quest to achieve perfect sleep, people with orthosomnia are actually struggling to sleep and may spend countless hours thinking exhaustively about how they cannot optimise their nightly rest.
[greenqueen.com, 9 January 2020]

art acne noun [U]
UK /ˈɑːt.æk.ni/ US /ˈɑːrt.æk.ni/
damage on the surface of paintings in the form of small bumps, caused by a chemical reaction

Some of the world’s finest oil paintings have been self-destructing, developing mysterious lumps and bumps known as “art acne”. Works by Georgia O’Keeffe and Rembrandt are among the hundreds of works blighted by the condition. For decades, art conservators have struggled to control the outbreaks, which look like grains of sand to the naked eye.
[dailymail.co.uk, 17 February 2019]

London throat noun [U]
UK /ˌlʌn.dən.ˈθrəʊt/ US /ˌlʌn.dən.ˈθroʊt/
a mild infection, similar to a cold, said to be common among people who live in London and caused by pollution

Scrapping speed bumps could help protect city dwellers against “London throat” because braking releases toxic dust which may trigger coughs and colds, scientists have said. Urbanites often suffer from intermittent bouts of runny noses and brain fog, which experts have long-suspected are caused by pollution. Dubbed “London Throat”, this ongoing low-level illness can lead to more serious infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
[telegraph.co.uk, 9 January 2020]

About new words

New words – 10 February 2020

artiemedvedev / iStock / Getty Images Plus

triple-screen verb [I]
/ˌtrɪp.ᵊl.ˈskriː.n/
to read or watch three screens at the same time

Parents are using professional coaches in their battles over screen time with their children, behaviour specialists have said. Some families complain their children are “triple-screening”, simultaneously viewing phones, laptops and televisions.
[The Times, 28 September 2019]

juice jacking noun [U]
/ˈdʒuːs.dʒæk.ɪŋ/
an illegal attempt to harm someone’s computer, tablet or smartphone, or the information on it, by using a charging port

There has been much coverage of “juice jacking” of late. This involves a cybercriminal using altered USB charging ports in airports, train stations and hotels to infect your device with malware. You can carry a USB charger that plugs into a power socket or invest in a power-only USB charging cable to prevent this.
[www.guardian.com, 31 December 2019]

digital vellum noun [U]
UK /ˌdɪdʒ.ɪ.tᵊl.ˈvel.əm/ US /ˌdɪdʒ.ə.t̬ᵊl.ˈvel.əm/
a process that will allow digital files to be accessed at any time in the future so that important data and documents will always be available

Another way of solving the problem is “digital vellum”, a concept that is still in development. That involves taking a snapshot of all the ways that a digital file can be opened, and storing it alongside the document itself — meaning that scientists will be able to use the instructions to reproduce the files by following the instructions.
[independent.co.uk, 13 February 2015]

About new words

New words – 3 February 2020

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ghost gear noun [U]
UK /ˈgəʊst.gɪəʳ/ US /ˈgoʊst.gɪr/
fishing equipment, such as nets and lines, that is abandoned in the ocean and takes several hundred years to decompose, thus causing harm to sea life and the environment

Each year at least 640,000 tonnes of this “ghost gear” is left in our oceans – the equivalent of 52,000 London double decker buses and I’ve read devastating reports stating that over 817 species are trapped and killed under the surface by this litter. The ghost gear eventually breaks down into micro-plastics and can have a lasting effect on marine life for many years.
[www.huffpost.com, 27 December 2017]

seacuterie noun [U]
/siːˈkuːtəriː/
an assortment of cold fish and shellfish, cooked or prepared in different ways

We all love a good charcuterie board, but according to a new report from Waitrose, next year will see the rise of ‘seacuterie’ instead – using seafood instead of the traditional meat. Waitrose’s latest Food and Drink Report predicts a surge in popularity for this Australian-originated trend, which involves pickling, fermenting, smoking and/or ageing seafood. With dishes like octopus salami, shellfish sausages or swordfish ham available, it’s a new take on a beloved classic.
[www.goodhousekeeping.com, 7 November 2019]

tidewater architect noun [C]
UK /ˌtaɪd.wɔː.tər.ˈɑː.kɪ.tekt/ US /ˌtaɪd.wɑː.t̬ɚ.ˈɑːr.kə.tekt/
someone whose job is to plan and design parts of a town or city in way that protects them from rising tides as a result of climate change

Tidewater architects will be responsible for the planning and execution of projects that work with nature — not against it. Excellence in hydro-engineering, civil engineering and architectural design derived from the principles of moats, floats, super-dikes and wetlands is essential to this role.
[medium.com, 1 August 2019]

About new words

New words – 27 January 2020

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twinning noun [U]
/ˈtwɪn.ɪŋ/
wearing the same clothes at the same time as one or more other members of your family

One of the things that’s lovely about parent-child twinning is that gender doesn’t matter here; mums are wearing sweatshirts to match their son’s babygrows, dads are twinning tees with their daughters. And it’s everywhere, from ASDA’s mother-daughter Halloween costume tutus to matching slogan tees, it’s never been easier to dress like a kid. Or do we mean dress like an adult?
[culturewhisper.com, 18 October 2019]

powerband noun [C]
UK /ˈpaʊə.bænd/ US /ˈpaʊ.ɚ.bænd/
a style of broad headband said to be worn mainly by young upper-class women

They aren’t the first cohort of young, aristo women with a penchant for the powerband. The velvet headband became a cliche of the 1980s Sloane, along with a Barbour, loafers and a pie-crust collar. Sarah Ferguson, Princess Diana and Princess Caroline of Monaco were all partial to one.
[theguardian.com, 23 October 2019]

tech vest noun [C]
/ˈtek.vest/
an informal term for a gilet (= a piece of clothing that is worn over other clothes and that is like a jacket without sleeves), so called because many people who work in the technology industry are said to wear them

The centrepiece of that is the gilet – or “tech vests” as they have come to be known. At the 36th Allen & Company Sun Valley conference earlier this year (the so-called billionaire summer camp where mega-deals are made) media alphas such as Bezos, Lachlan Murdoch and Hank Crumpton all wore theirs.
[The Observer, 3 November 2019]

About new words

New words – 20 January 2020

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urban creep noun [U]
UK /ˌɜː.bən.ˈkriːp/ US /ˌɝː.bən.ˈkriːp/
the gradual loss of green space in a city that happens when gardens are paved over, house extensions are built etc.

Urban creep can cause problems because it reduces the amount of open land which can absorb rain water, putting extra pressure on drains … Researchers studying aerial images found that 11 hectares of green land in the capital is being lost annually, more than six hectares of it through urban creep. About one hectare is being gained each year through the regeneration of former industrial areas.
[www.bbc.co.uk, 14 October 2019]

pocket park noun [C]
UK /ˈpɒk.ɪt.pɑːk/ US /ˈpɑː.kɪt.pɑːrk/
a small area of parkland built on an empty piece of land

Unloved urban spaces will be converted into small “pocket parks” with a new round of Government funding … Community groups can now bid for new parks or reimagined spaces to be converted into play areas and vegetable patches. The Government will spend £1.3 million as an extension of its pocket parks plus scheme, which began in December 2018.
[Sunday Telegraph, 27 October 2019]

smart city noun [C]
UK /ˈsmɑːt.sɪt.i/ US /ˈsmɑːrt.sɪt̬.i/
a city where information and communications technology is used to make life better for its residents

Sidewalk Labs’s plans to create a smart city in a disused area of Toronto can proceed but on a much smaller scale than it had wanted. Any data the Google-affiliate collects there must be treated as a public asset … Sidewalk Labs won an initial contract to develop the area in 2017 and promised a radical mix of offices, retail spaces and homes, with high-tech solutions to urban problems such as traffic and waste disposal.
[www.bbc.co.uk, 31 October 2019]

About new words

New words – 13 January 2020

SERGII IAREMENKO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

frozen robot syndrome noun [U]
UK /ˌfrəʊ.zᵊn.ˈrəʊ.bɒt.sɪn.drəʊm/ US /ˌfroʊ.zᵊn.ˈroʊ.bɑːt.sɪn.droʊm/
the situation that occurs when a driverless car senses an obstacle in the road and stops suddenly

A recent investigation by the Law Commission has revealed driverless motors could be stopped in its tracks [sic] by “frozen robot syndrome”. The concerning possibility would occur when the vehicle freezes in the presence of obstacles on the road, such as leaves, plastic bags or even seagulls. Software developers consulted as a part of the report even warned that unexpected weather, such as heavy snow, could cause a widespread traffic disruption.
[The Sun, 16 October 2019]

quantum supremacy noun [U]
UK /ˌkwɒn.təm.suːˈprem.ə.si/ US /ˌkwɑːn.t̬əm.suːˈprem.ə.si/
the situation where a quantum computer (= a computer that works by using the principles of quantum mechanics) is able to solve a problem that a conventional computer cannot

But it is important to note that it is also only a milestone: the real journey is much longer, and there is an awful lot left to do. Scientists are excited about the possibility of achieving quantum supremacy because of what it means about the process of creating really useful quantum computers, not necessarily as an end in itself.
[independent.co.uk, 23 October 2019]

techno-optimism noun [U]
UK /ˌtek.nəʊ.ˈɒp.tɪ.mɪ.zəm/ US /ˌtek.noʊ.’ɑːp.tə.mɪ.zəm/
the belief that technology changes the world for the better

For decades, leading voices in industry and government had subscribed to a prevailing ethos: techno-optimism. According to this notion, technological progress would ineluctably benefit humanity … Newfound access, connectivity, and freedom of expression were not only viewed as profoundly transformative, but inherently good.
[wired.com, 18 September 2019]

About new words

New words – 6 January 2020

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spite house noun [C]
/ˈspaɪt.haʊs/
a house that has been built or altered in order to annoy its owner’s neighbours, such as painting it a very bright colour or building an extension that blocks the neighbour’s view

In the UK, the most recent spite house to make the papers was the Kensington home of … a property developer who painted candy stripes on the three-storey façade of her house in 2015. She denied that the stripes were to spite neighbours who objected to her plans to demolish the £4.75m property, which she used “for storage”.
[theguardian.com, 8 September 2019]

super-home noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.pə.həʊm/ US /ˈsuː.pɚ.hoʊm/
a house that uses very little energy because it has good insulation and has been built using renewable technologies

An eco-friendly “super-home” in Birmingham which has helped its owners to slash their energy bills by a whopping 85 per cent will open to the public this weekend … Featuring cavity, internal wall and loft and floor insulation, the couple’s home has been designed to stay cool in summer and warm in winter, helping them to cut their energy bills substantially.
[bvt.org.uk [no date]]

corkitecture noun [U]
UK /ˈkɔː.kɪ.tek.tʃəʳ/ US /ˈkɔːr.kə.tek.tʃɚ/
the use of cork as a building material

Shortlisted for the 2019 Stirling prize, the annual award for the best building in Britain, Cork House by Matthew Barnett Howland, Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton takes corkitecture to another level by employing it as a total building material. Cork House is just that: a house constructed from solid blocks of expanded cork, like gingerbread or vegan Lego.
[The Observer, 28 July 2019]

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New words – 30 December 2019

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tree-trimming party noun [C]
UK /ˈtriː.trɪm.ɪŋ.ˌpɑː.ti/ US /ˈtriː.trɪm.ɪŋ.ˌpɑːr.t̬i/
a social event at which a group of people meet at someone’s house to decorate their Christmas tree

A tree-trimming party is a great idea for completing one chore, celebrating the season, and easily entertaining a crowd of friends. Invitations can be sent out ahead of time, or you can make this a spur of the moment gathering. All you need is a tree, decorations, willing friends and appetizers to serve buffet style.
[thespruceeats.com, 7 November 2019]

Twixmas noun [C]
/ˈtwɪks.məs/
the days between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day

Castle Howard, near York, is adding an extra five days of Christmas by opening for the first time for Twixmas between Christmas and New Year. On show until December 31 will be the Twelve Days of Christmas decorations that have enchanted visitors since going on display in November, including a 26ft Norwegian Spruce tree festooned with 4,000 baubles.
[yorkpress.co.uk, 24 December 2018]

Janxiety noun [U]
UK /dʒæŋˈzaɪ.ə.ti/ US /dʒæŋˈzaɪ.ə.t̬i/
feelings of unhappiness and worry that people often have at the beginning of a new year

It was meant to be the time you knuckled down and became a better person — more focused, with a healthy bank balance and able to fit into your tightest pair of jeans. But you feel the same as you did last week. Except your bank balance is depleted. That drive to start Pilates and give up sugar has been replaced by a nagging sensation, a bit like hangover guilt. It’s Janxiety.
[standard.co.uk, 2 January 2019]

About new words

New words – 23 December 2019

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e-waste noun [U]
/ˈiːˌweɪst/
computers, mobile phones, electrical wires etc. that have been thrown away

The explosion of e-waste highlights its dual (and dueling) identities as both environmental scourge and potential economic resource. Though often laced with lead, mercury or other toxic substances, laptops and phones also contain valuable elements like gold, silver and copper. Yet barely 20 percent of the world’s e-waste is collected and delivered to formal recyclers.
[nytimes.com, 5 July 2018]

snooptech noun [U]
/ˈsnuːp.tek/
digital tools and equipment that allow companies to monitor their staff’s activities, such as reading the content of their emails

If the goal of all this is truly to improve efficiency, then the businesses that have embraced “snooptech” suffer from short-sightedness – in the long term, there is no way that a business can thrive in a culture of paranoia such as that brought about by the enthusiastic use of workplace surveillance.
[productivityknowhow.com, 8 September 2019]

keysmash noun [C]
/ˈkiː.smæʃ/
a string of random characters struck on a computer keyboard to signal anger, frustration, etc.

Take one of the parts of online language that looks the most chaotic: a keysmash, a random bashing of the keys, such as “asdnfklsfnkslf”, to signal intense emotion. The keysmash usually begins with an “a” and heavily features letters in the “home row” of keys where fingers naturally rest.
[Sunday Times, 6 October 2019]

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