a pink plate with crab, mussels and other seafood

New words – 6 December 2021

a pink plate with crab, mussels and other seafood
Saowaluck Voraprukpisut / iStock / Getty Images Plus

blue food noun [U]
/ˌbluː.ˈfuːd/
food that comes from the sea, such as fish, shellfish and seaweed

Recently, however, calls have emerged not for less fishing, but more, under the banner of a new term encompassing all seafood and aquaculture products: “blue food.” The Blue Food Alliance, launched ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit, has brought together academics, policymakers, and corporate donors focused on increasing the consumption of sustainable seafood.
[wired.com, 24 October 2021]

unconscious reducer noun [C]
UK /ʌnˌkɒn.ʃəs.rɪˈdʒuː.səʳ/ US /ʌnˌkɑːn.ʃəs.rɪˈduː.səʳ/
someone who is eating less meat than they did before, but without having made a deliberate decision to do so

The unconscious reducers were said by the report to mostly be of retirement age and living with fewer people. They were found to be much less likely to experiment with cooking or refer to themselves as a ‘foodie’, preferring more traditional dishes … “How unconscious reducers think and feel about meat isn’t any different to those people who are actually increasing their meat consumption – they’re not turning away on purpose so there is a chance to re-engage them with the category,” explained AHDB senior retail insight manager Kim Malley.
[ahdb.org.uk, 3 December 2020]

foodprint noun [C]
/ˈfuːd.prɪnt/
a measurement of the impact on the environment of all the processes needed to bring food to consumers

The issue of carbon “foodprints” – how much CO2 is emitted in the production, transportation, and preparation of various foods – is front-and-centre at this week’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow. On Tuesday, it emerged that restaurants inside the conference centre are printing carbon estimates on their menus, alongside each item’s price … In order to reach the goals defined in the Paris Agreement, we may soon have to limit our foodprint to no more than 0.5kg of CO2 emissions per meal.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 4 November 2021]

About new words

a group of five young adults laughing and celebrating in a shower of colourful confetti

New words – 29 November 2021

a group of five young adults laughing and celebrating in a shower of colourful confetti
AleksandarNakic / E+ / Getty

business shower noun [C]
UK /ˈbɪz.nɪsˌʃaʊəʳ/ US /ˈbɪz.nɪsˌʃaʊ.ɚ/
a party held to celebrate a new start-up business, usually before its official launch

Some business showers include games, decorations and catering. Some founders even ask for gifts, providing links to business registry websites that have also become popular. Business showers generally differ from launch parties because they occur at the very early stages of a start-up, sometimes when the business is still just gestating as an idea.
[nytimes.com, 15 July 2021]

flippening noun [S]
/ˈflɪp.ᵊn.ɪŋ/
The flippening is an event, expected to take place in the near future, when ethereum will overtake bitcoin as the most valuable cryptocurrency.

For those unaware, the flippening is a hypothetical event in which ETH overtakes Bitcoin in terms of market capitalization. While this hasn’t happened yet, it may not be too far off … ETH is already the top crypto held on the platform in terms of U.S. dollar amount. That could be a sign that the flippening is starting.
[nasdaq.com, 8 July 2021]

emoticonomy noun [U]
UK /ɪ,məʊt.iˈkɒn.ə.mi/ US /ɪ,moʊt.iˈkɑː.nə.mi/
an economic system that is based on the activities people and businesses engage in to make the world a better and happier place

But arguing that capitalism should be unfettered and amoral is itself a political position. No business is without its ideals in the new “emoticonomy”. This is not a circumstance created accidentally by political parties, activists or workers, but deliberately, by businesses. It has been going on for some time.
[newstatesman.com, 20 October 2021]

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five young women wearing fashionable clothes, smiling and standing with crossed arms

New words – 22 November 2021

Delmaine Donson / E+ / Getty

bounceback wardrobe noun [C]
UK /ˈbaʊns.bæk.wɔː.drəʊb/ US /ˈbaʊns.bæk.wɔːr.droʊb/
all the clothes that someone owns, or wants to buy, for the period of time after lockdown, when they are back at work and going out socially again

Now, with the lifting of lockdown restrictions and the great re-entry, it seems a lot of women are finding that their wardrobes are insufficient, dated, or in some way lacking the polish and pep required for their revived professional and social lives. Women spent, on average, £200 between April and June on their “bounceback wardrobes”, according to the new State of Retail Report.
[telegraph.co.uk, 27 July 2021]

circular fashion noun [U]
UK /ˌsɜː.kjə.lə.ˈfæʃ.ᵊn/ US /ˌsɝː.kjə.lɚ.ˈfæʃ.ᵊn/
clothes that are designed and made in such a way that they will last for a long time, can eventually be repaired or redesigned instead of being thrown away, and cause little or no damage to the environment

As it stands, most fashion products are made from new textiles, sold, worn, discarded and sent, eventually, to landfill … or worse, they are incinerated. Circular fashion looks to disrupt that linear trajectory, keeping clothing and materials in use through recycling, repurposing and rewearing, avoiding where possible making completely “new” products and reducing the amount of ecologically harmful waste.
[elle.com, 16 March 2020]

tourdrobe noun [C]
UK /ˈtʊə.drəʊb/ US /ˈtʊr.droʊb/
all the clothes that someone, usually a famous woman, wears when she is on a tour of several different places where she will be seen by the public and the media

And the Duchess of Sussex was also flying the flag for fashion as she brought an expansive tourdrobe to suit every kind of engagement (and her baby bump). Over 16 days in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand we saw the Duchess of Sussex in an array of international designers, from Aussie brands to British labels, and lots of American influence.
[mirror.co.uk, 2 November 2018]

About new words

2021 Word of the Year

Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2021

2021 Word of the Year2021 is almost at an end, and here at Cambridge Dictionary we have been looking back on the past year and what it has meant for you. We wanted to choose a word that represented your experiences as learners of English, and we are happy to announce that our Word of the Year 2021 is… perseverance! Continue reading “Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2021”

woman wearing virtual reality goggles reaches out to touch a screen covered in swirling patterns

New words – 15 November 2021

woman wearing virtual reality goggles reaches out to touch a screen covered in swirling patterns
Qi Yang / Moment / Getty

epidermal VR noun [U]
UK /ep.ɪˌdɜː.mᵊl.viː ˈɑːʳ/ US /ep.əˌdɝː.mᵊl.viː ˈɑːr/
a type of virtual reality (a set of images and sounds, produced by a computer, that seem to represent a place or a situation that a person can take part in) that allows the user to experience the sense of touch

These developments are made possible in part because of recent progress in “epidermal VR”. This thin, wireless system adds a sense of touch to any VR experience, meaning that we may at some point be able to shake hands or high-five a business colleague who is halfway across the world.
[stylist.co.uk, 4 December 2020]

the internet of senses noun [S]
UK /ˌɪn.tə.net.əv.ˈsen.sɪz/ US /ˌɪn.t̬ɚ.net.əv.ˈsen.sɪz/
a way of using computer technology to allow people to experience all five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell) when they are online

Currently, consumers online are restricted by technology that focuses on only two senses, sight and sound. However, all of this is expected to change with the emerging internet of senses … The internet of senses creates a network of sensory events, and is expected to make a multi-sensory experience in the digital realm possible.
[futureofmarketinginstitute.com, 9 May 2021]

affective AI noun [U]
/əˌfek.tɪv.eɪˈaɪ/
a type of artificial intelligence (technology that allows computers to share some of the qualities of the human mind, such as the ability to understand language and solve problems) that can measure and interpret human emotions

The real idea behind artificial intelligence (AI) is to emulate human-like capabilities … Affective AI goes a step further, collecting data from faces, voices, and body languages to measure human emotions. For example, the MIT Media Lab is developing a wearable device to determine a person’s mood by monitoring their heartbeat … If the user is anxious or stressed, the increase in heartbeats will cause the device to emit a scent such as lavender to reduce anxiety.
[morethandigital.info, 6 January 2021]

About new words

a crowd of young people at a music festival on a sunny day

New words – 8 November 2021

a crowd of young people at a music festival on a sunny day
Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty

roséwave noun [U]
UK /ˌrəʊ.zeɪ.ˈweɪv/ US /ˌroʊ.zeɪ.ˈweɪv/
a style of music designed to make the listener think of relaxed summer days and evenings

Last year, of course, we couldn’t stomach celebrating; it felt downright wrong to act carefree about, well, anything. And even though oftentimes the very best pop music can help take our minds off our troubles, roséwave didn’t feel quite right last summer. But, like an old friend, it was waiting right there when we needed it, chilling to be uncorked at just the right temperature.
[aspenpublicradio.org, 9 June 2021]

glitch noun, verb [U]
/glɪtʃ/
a dance, made popular on TikTok, where the dancer moves in a fast, jerky way that makes it look as though the viewer has a bad internet connection, or to dance in this way

“The first video I did wasn’t really a glitch — it was a shoulder dance,” she said. For the second video, she moved in sync with the fast, sputtering beat, which made her look like she was glitching. Within a few days, that video racked up millions of views … Many creators challenged themselves to pull off the moves as seamlessly as Clark, while others invented their own unique glitch maneuvers.
[insider.com, 1 July 2021]

docuality noun [U]
UK /ˌdɒk.jə.ˈæl.ə.ti/ US /ˌdɑː.kjə.ˈæl.ə.t̬i/
television programmes that are part documentary, part reality show, featuring people who are filmed in real situations rather than actors playing a part, and giving facts about a particular subject

Channel 4 is bringing a whole load of entertainment to screens in 2021. From Married At First Sight UK to brand new series, Highlife, there’s no end of reality TV to delve into this year. Dubbed a ‘docuality’ series, Highlife combines documentary-style elements with some reality TV and provides an insight into the lives of a very hardworking and glamorous group of friends.
[realitytitbit.com, 10 September 2021]

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hand holding a used plastic bag in front of two recycling bins

New words – 1 November 2021

hand holding a used plastic bag in front of two recycling bins
Seamind Panada / EyeEm / Getty

wish-cycling noun [U]
/ˈwɪʃ.saɪ.klɪŋ/
putting an item in a recycling bin in the hope that it can be recycled, usually when the item is not actually recyclable

While the US recycling rate worryingly hovers around an at best estimate of 35 percent, wish-cycling might be a well-intentioned habit in an increasingly confusing and incomplete recycling system. But wish-cycling often does more harm than good and has consequences that can impact local programs and global recycling as a whole.
[zerowasteboxes.terracycle.com, 4 August 2020]

energy island noun [C]
UK /ˌen.ə.dʒi.ˈaɪ.lənd/ US /ˌen.ɚ.dʒi.ˈaɪ.lənd/
a platform built on the sea that is used to generate and store electricity from wind turbines (tall structures with blades that are blown by the wind) that surround it

A project to build a giant island providing enough energy for three million households has been given the green light by Denmark’s politicians. The world’s first energy island will be as big as 18 football pitches (120,000sq m), but there are hopes to make it three times that size. It will serve as a hub for 200 giant offshore wind turbines.
[bbc.co.uk/news, 4 February 2021]

climate tech noun [U]
/ˈklaɪ.mət.tek/
the business of using technology to create products and services that will enable society to adapt to the effects of climate change

Over the next one to two years, I predict that we’ll see a boom in climate tech startups, and startups that build the predicted effects of climate change directly into their business plans. Some of these companies will be explicitly ‘green,’ with business plans and marketing that directly address climate change.
[techstars.com, 18 July 2021]

About new words

Colleagues holding a meeting in a multi-functional office space with glass walls

New words – 25 October 2021

Colleagues holding a meeting in a multi-functional office space with glass walls
Kelvin Murray / Stone / Getty

pivot space noun [C]
/ˈpɪv.ət.speɪs/
an area of an office that can be used for different purposes

Pivot spaces – or multi-functional areas of the office – are not new, but social distancing measures and a focus on improving the employee experience in the office are making them a key feature of tomorrow’s workplace … With employees now returning to the office and coronavirus still a lingering threat, more businesses are thinking about how to best adapt their spaces. Designed well, these pivot spaces can help to make the office somewhere people want to be.
[www.workdesign.com, September 2020]

ask gap noun [S]
UK /ˈɑːsk.gæp/ US /ˈæsk.gæp/
the difference in the salary earned by people who ask for (and receive) a higher amount and those who do not

Research shows that the pay gap, which is well documented, partly stems from the ‘ask gap’: the difference in salary expectations between groups, which undercuts women and minorities in particular. Closing this gendered and racialised ‘ask gap’ can pay major dividends for careers, reducing long-term salary inequality.
[bbc.com, 18 June 2021]

polywork noun [U]
UK /ˈpɒl.i.wɜːk/ US /ˈpɑː.li.wɝːk/
the activity of having several different jobs at the same time

Slightly different than a necessary hustle but still falling into these new lifestyles of Millennials and Gen Z is the concept of polywork: the rejection of traditional full-time jobs in favor of pursuing multiple jobs to fulfill multiple interests. Someone might work as a social media marketer while also being an investor, a writer, and a podcast host; they might also run a nonprofit, manage investments and field more creative roles such as producing plays.
[fierceelectronics.com, 6 August 2021]

About new words

New words – 18 October 2021

Sagitta, Let’s Make your own Style / Moment / Getty

aerohaptics noun [plural or U]
UK /ˌeə.rəʊ.ˈhæp.tɪks/ US /ˌer.oʊ.ˈhæp.tɪks/
feelings of physical touch produced by using puffs of air

My colleagues and I … have now developed a system of holograms of people using “aerohaptics”, creating feelings of touch with jets of air. Those jets of air deliver a sensation of touch on people’s fingers, hands and wrists. In time, this could be developed to allow you to meet a virtual avatar of a colleague on the other side of the world and really feel their handshake.
[theconversation.com, 17 September 2021]

Hycean adjective
/ˈhaɪ.ʃᵊn/
A Hycean planet has hydrogen in its atmosphere and water on its surface, meaning that it could potentially support a form of life that is found on Earth.

The search for life outside our Solar System could be accelerated following the discovery of a new class of habitable exoplanet by University of Cambridge researchers. Dubbed “Hycean planets”, these ocean-covered worlds have hydrogen-rich atmospheres and it is believed they could support microbial life similar to that found in some of Earth’s most extreme aquatic environments … Bizarrely, such planets also include tidally-locked “dark” Hycean worlds that may have habitable conditions only on their permanent night sides.
[cambridgeindependent.co.uk, 2 September 2021]

Dragon man noun [U]
/ˈdræg.ᵊn.mæn/
a nickname given to an early species of human which some scientists now think may be the most closely related species to modern humans

Dragon man’s well-preserved skull is the largest Homo skull on record. An analysis of the cranium revealed that Dragon man might be the closest-known related species to Homo sapiens, even closer than Neanderthals, who were long thought to be our closest relation, the study found.
[livescience.com, 25 June 2021]

About new words

New words – 11 October 2021

yacobchuk / iStock / Getty Images Plus

panic master’s noun [C]
UK /ˌpæn.ɪk.ˈmɑː.stəz/ US /ˌpæn.ɪk.ˈmæs.tɚz/
a postgraduate degree that someone studies for because they cannot find a job after completing their first degree, rather than because they want to continue their studies

Record numbers of students are expected to apply for “panic master’s” degrees as a flat jobs market for graduates pushes them towards postgraduate study. Last year 18 per cent of students secured jobs after graduation compared with about 60 per cent in a normal year … It has exacerbated the phenomenon of the “panic master’s”, when students sign up for a second degree not because they necessarily wish to pursue further study but so that they are not left unemployed.
[thetimes.co.uk, 30 July 2021]

nanolearning noun [U]
UK /ˈnæn.əʊ.lɜː.nɪŋ/ US /ˈnæn.oʊ.lɝː.nɪŋ/
a way of learning that involves reading or watching very small pieces of information or other content, usually on the internet

Nanolearning is learning that takes a minute or two — or even less. It is a way to deliver condensed information in an engaging format. It provides a few soundbites or sentences of valuable and relevant content. Viewers learn the immediate requirement for training — right now and in the moment of need — to solve a specific problem, such as creating a pivot table in Microsoft Excel.
[studyinternational.com, 18 May 2021]

cradle-to-career adjective
UK /ˌkreɪ.dᵊl.tə.kəˈrɪᵊr/ US /ˌkreɪ.dᵊl.tə.kəˈrɪr/
A cradle-to-career school or education is one that supports the pupil from when they are born through to young adulthood and offers different activities at different stages of the pupil’s life.

Cradle-to-career school designs are the latest in a long line of attempts to coordinate schools with other local services, in order to tackle the causes of social and educational inequality … Schools cannot address inequality on their own, but neighbourhoods often lack local, coordinated support systems. Cradle-to-career school designs are a bold attempt to go beyond a school’s typical role. They join up local services to improve prospects for young people and their communities.
[theconversation.com, 2 December 2020]

About new words