New words – 12 December 2016

andresr/E+/Getty
andresr/E+/Getty

FOLO noun [U] UK ˈfəʊ.ləʊ US ˈfoʊ.loʊ
abbreviation for “fear of living offline”: the feeling that you have to post attractive photos of yourself on social media to make your life seem interesting

This year however it’s all about FOLO (fear of living offline) which is the need for us to digitally validate anything we do (likes, shares and comments) otherwise it feels like it never took place.
[www.linkedin.com 18 January 2016]

digital divorce noun [C or U] UK ˌdɪdʒ.ɪ.təl dɪˈvɔːs US ˌdɪdʒ.ə.t̬əl dɪˈvɔːrs
an online process to end a marriage legally

The new process of digital divorce will allow couples to end their marriages online, without the need for either the couple in question or the judge to physically attend court in relation to the case.
[www.divorcemagazine.com 12 April 2016]

social eating noun [U] UK ˌsəʊ.ʃəl ‘iːt.ɪŋ US ˌsoʊ.ʃəl ‘iːt.ɪŋ
a practice that involves filming yourself while you eat and posting or streaming it on a social media website

There is a new way to connect on social media: Watching people eat. Social Eating is a live streaming platform on Twitch … Twitch’s public relations director [said] social eating has been a popular part of South Korean culture for years. 
[CBS New York 22 September 2016]

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New words – 5 December 2016

Westend61/Getty
Westend61/Getty

nutricosmetics noun [plural] UK/ˌnjuː.tri.kɒzˈmet.ɪks/ US /ˌnuː.trikɑːzˈmet̬.ɪks/
substances, especially in the form of a liquid or a pill, that are intended to improve your appearance

Nutricosmetics – beauty products you ingest rather than apply – promise everything from firmer skin to thicker hair. That’s the future, according to trend forecasters … these powders, drinks and pills are set to radically change our beauty routines.
[Stylist 21 June 2016]

blood spa noun [C] /ˈblʌd ˌspɑː/
a place where blood is analysed and special beauty treatments given according to the results

Blood spas aren’t as gory as you’d think. While blood is at the heart of the treatment, your plasma and platelets won’t actually be used in your facial or massage – at least not all the time.
[www.brit.co 13 October 2016]

microblading noun [U] /ˈmaɪ.krə.bleɪd.ɪŋ/
a method of making eyebrows look thicker that uses a special tool to inject ink under the skin

Eyebrow trends come and go, from thin and sharp to bold and bushy à la Cara Delevingne and basically every other model who’s been hot in the past few years. But the latest trend we can’t get enough of is microblading, a new tattoo technique that fills brows out or reshapes them by drawing on tiny lines that look like individual hairs.
[www.today.com 05 September 2016]

About new words

Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2016

Veronaa/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Veronaa/iStock/Getty Images Plus

It’s that time again, when publishers reveal the word or words that they believe encapsulate the year. As many readers will know from previous years, we like to base our word on what our millions of users worldwide have been looking up over the course of the year. And what a year it’s been: in June, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, causing great uncertainty in the UK and across Europe (even now, the only certainty we have is that Brexit means Brexit); then, in November, after a vicious and divisive campaign, the people of the United States elected businessman Donald Trump as President ahead of politician Hillary Clinton, in one of the most extraordinary political stories of modern times. Add to this the ongoing backdrop of a bloody civil war in Syria, several terrorist attacks around the world and numerous celebrity deaths, and there can be no denying that it has been an eventful and worrying year.

As ever, global events are reflected in the words you look up on our site. So what single word has had the biggest increase in searches over the whole year? Ladies and gentlemen, the Cambridge Dictionary Word of the Year for 2016 is . . . paranoid.

Why paranoid? Searches have risen hugely this year, over four times more than in 2015. We cannot, of course, know exactly why users are searching for a particular word, but it suggests perhaps a feeling that the institutions that have kept us safe can no longer be trusted, that the world feels more uncertain than it did a year ago. When we look at other words that have shown similar increases, we can build a fuller picture: anxiety, chaos; a feeling that societies are breaking down; increases in prejudice, bigotry and bullying; and people feeling nostalgic for what are perceived as simpler times.

But perhaps it’s not all doom and gloom: another word that has seen a big increase in searches is adorable – maybe our users are comforting themselves with videos of cute animals, and trying to think happier thoughts?

New words – 28 November 2016

OcusFocus/iStock/Getty Images Plus
OcusFocus/iStock/Getty Images Plus

glass wall noun [C usually singular] UK /ˌglɑːs ˈwɔːl/ US /ˌglæs ˈwɑːl/
a barrier to becoming accepted or included at work, usually affecting women or minority groups

The ‘glass wall’ that divides men and women they argue, is the new glass ceiling. Women aren’t just being overlooked for the next promotion; they are being shut out behind a glass wall by male-oriented office culture.
[Marie Claire 07 September 2016]

brass ceiling noun [C usually singular] UK /ˌbrɑːs ˈsi:lɪŋ/ US /ˌbræs ˈsi:lɪŋ/
a point after which someone, usually a woman, cannot reach a higher position in the military

Mariette Kalinowski, a former Marine, writes in the New York Times that while the “brass ceiling” is cracked, it is not gone because the military culture of hypermasculinity has not yet changed.
[www.linkedin.com 09 February 2016]

man tax noun [C or U] /ˈmæn ˌtæks/
a tax that has to be paid only by men

Owners of a New York City independent pharmacy recently imposed a one-day, 7% “man tax” in their efforts to raise awareness of the ongoing nationwide debate over taxes on feminine hygiene products and the gender inequality women experience when purchasing personal health products.
[www.pharmacytimes.com 21 October 2016]

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New words – 21 November 2016

Richard Newstead/Moment/Getty
Richard Newstead/Moment/Getty
sneakerhead noun [C] UK /ˈsniː.kə.hed/, US /ˈsniː.kɚ.hed/
someone who owns, buys and sells sneakers (UK= trainers), especially those with rare or unusual designs

With celebrities from Kanye West to Pharrell Williams now designing their own styles for Nike and Adidas, respectively, sneakerheads have gone from a subculture to dominating the culture.
[Newsweek 21 May 2016]

glunge noun [U] /glʌndʒ/
a type of fashion that combines glamour and grunge

What do you get if you merge glamour with a dose of grunge a la X Factor’s Rita Ora? Glunge, duh!
[Reveal 04 January 2016]

shacket noun [C] /ˈʃæk.ɪt/
a light jacket, similar to a shirt

Step forward the shacket: the shirt-come-jacket. The shacket … is heavier than a cotton shirt but lighter than say, a denim or utility jacket.
[The Telegraph 15 March 2016]

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New words – 14 November 2016

Moxie Productions/Blend Images/Getty
Moxie Productions/Blend Images/Getty

socialating noun [U] UK /ˈsəʊ.ʃə.leɪ.tɪŋ/, US /ˈsoʊ.ʃə.leɪ.tɪŋ
the practice of combining a romantic date with a social outing with friends

Socialating means pretty much what it sounds like – sociable dating – and is a growing trend amongst people who like to mix meeting new people with hanging out with their mates.
[www.mysinglefriend.com 27 April 2016]

ghosting noun [U] UK /’gəʊs.tɪŋ/, US /’goʊs.tɪŋ/
the practice of ending a romantic relationship by suddenly breaking off contact with the other person

There’s now officially a word for that weird phase out/disappearing act that people can do to end a relationship before pretty much ceasing contact all together – and it’s called ‘ghosting’.
[Marie Claire 12 September 2016]

TWAG noun [C] /twæg/
tech wife and girlfriend: the wife or girlfriend of a entrepreneur in the technology industry

Silicon Valley has become the new Hollywood, as moguls and social media barons take over from film stars and sportsmen not just on rich lists, but as alpha men. Being a co-founder of a company is this decade’s equivalent to being a rock star or a chef. If their attractiveness to models and actresses proves anything, then being a TWAG […] is a ‘thing’.
[The Sun 25 July 2016]

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The US election in 24 hours of words

Catherine Lane/iStock/Getty
Catherine Lane/iStock/Getty

November 8, 2016, marked the end of one of the most eventful presidential election campaigns in United States history. People across the globe watched closely as American voters turned out to cast their votes for their next president – including the millions of people who use the Cambridge Dictionary to help them understand the language used in the English-speaking media.

The Cambridge Dictionary staff tracked the words that were looked up most frequently in the 24 hours from when the polls opened the morning of November 8 until the morning of November 9. All of the words in this blog post that are linked to definitions in the dictionary were looked up with unusual frequency. The full list is at the end of this post. Continue reading “The US election in 24 hours of words”

New words – 7 November 2016

LousHiemstra/iStock/Getty
LousHiemstra/iStock/Getty

vertical farming noun [U] UK /ˌvɜː.tɪ.kəlˈfɑː.mɪŋ/, US /ˌvɝː.t̬ə.kəlˈfɑːr.mɪŋ/
a farming technique in which food crops are grown in vertical stacks

Proponents of vertical farming call it the “third green revolution”, analogizing the developments to Apple and Tesla. They tout the potential of such technology to address food shortages as the world population continues to grow.
[The Guardian 14 August 2016]

Clexit noun [U] /’klek.sɪt/
an exit by a country from international climate treaties

First there was Brexit […]. Now a movement is building that would further stun the supranationalists: an exit from the United Nations climate change protocol, dubbed “Clexit.” Brexit happened, and Clexit could be next.
[The Washington Times 11 August 2016]

chemical tax noun [C or U] /ˈkem.ɪ.kəl ˌtæks/
a tax on the purchase of items that are difficult to recycle

The Swedish government is planning tax breaks on various items to encourage repairs and recycling. The aim is to make Sweden less wasteful and make the economy more friendly to the environment. […] Buying new white goods and computers will also be made more expensive, thanks to a new so-called chemical tax on hard-to-recycle goods.
[www.bbc.co.uk/news 19 September 2016]

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New words – 31 October 2016

Guido Mieth/DigitalVision/Getty
Guido Mieth/DigitalVision/Getty

ghost driver noun [C] UK /’gəʊst ˌdraɪ.və/, US /’goʊst ˌdraɪ.vɚ/
a taxi driver who uses a frightening profile photograph to encourage the passenger to cancel the taxi ride

The practice, which has been nicknamed the ghost driver issue, involves scam drivers using gruesome pictures that force users to hit “cancel” when they see who is coming to pick them up, and pay a cancellation fee. [The Telegraph 20 September 2016]

creepy clown noun [C] /ˈkriː.pi ˌklaʊn/
someone who dresses up as a clown in order to frighten people

… [C]reepy clown sightings are cropping up across the country without explanation. [www.rollingstone.com 29 September 2016]

trumpkin noun [C] /’trʌmpkɪn/
a pumpkin made to look like Donald Trump

People are carving their pumpkins to resemble Donald Trump in what is undeniably one of Halloween’s scariest offerings. The ‘Trumpkin’ is taking over social media with hundreds of people carving out or painting ridiculous expressions onto their vegetables.  [Metro 13 October 2016]

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New words – 24 October 2016

Hero Images/Getty
Hero Images/Getty

bobu noun [C] UK /’bəʊ.bu:/ US /’boʊ.bu:/
a businessman who leads a bohemian lifestyle

Welcome to the world of the bobu — bohemian businessman — the new breed of freedom-seeking creative entrepreneur. He either rejects the world of conventional employment or has been rejected by it.
[The Times 25 September 2016]

Gen Z noun [U] UK /ˌdʒen ‘zed/ US /ˌdʒen ‘zi:/
a way of referring to the group of people born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s

Marketing has a new buzzword: Gen Z. Younger than millennials, the next generation is more reliant on digital than its predecessor, forcing brands to get more creative in their marketing.
[Adweek 28 September 2016]

midult noun [C] /ˈmɪd.ʌlt/
someone, especially a woman, in the middle stage of adulthood who has interests more associated with those of younger people

Marketers and political pundits are fond of identifying new demographic groups […] The latest is the Midult – a phrase coined by journalists Emilie McMeekan and Annabel Rivkin to describe a new tribe of women aged 35-55. The Midult is being described as more than just a demographic but a movement and a mindset.
[www.translatemedia.com 13 July 2016]

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