a man wearing earbuds asleep in bed

New words – 21 November 2022

a man wearing earbuds asleep in bed
monkeybusinessimages / iStock / Getty Images Plus

brown noise noun [U]
/ˌbraʊn ˈnɔɪz/
a type of sound that resembles a low rumble or the noise the sea makes, thought by some people to encourage sleep and relaxation

Welcome to the cult of brown noise, a sometimes hazily-defined category of neutral, dense sound that contains every frequency our ears can detect. Brown noise is like white noise but has a lower, deeper quality … There have been few studies on using brown noise as a sleep aid, though one of the claims floating around TikTok is that it can help you nod off.
[nytimes.com, 23 September 2022]

motion pillow noun [C]
UK /ˈməʊ.ʃən ˌpɪl.əʊ/ US /ˈmoʊ.ʃən ˌpɪl.oʊ/
a type of pillow that automatically adjusts the position of the sleeping person’s head when it detects that they are snoring

With innovative sleeping technology like a motion pillow, individuals suffering from chronic snoring enable uninterrupted nasal breathing. When this device detects snoring, it inflates and gently adjusts the user’s head without causing disturbances to alleviate snoring slowly. In turn, the person can avoid releasing annoying sounds at night and enable a restful sleep for their roommates.
[healthtechzone.com, 31 August 2022]

nap box noun [C]
UK /ˈnæp ˌbɒks/ US /ˈnæp ˌbɑːks/
a type of narrow cupboard designed for someone to stand in while they have a short nap, the inside having special shelves to support the person’s head and body

The workforce in Japan is apparently so overwhelmed that two companies are partnering up to create new upright “nap boxes.” Illustrations of the new design show neutral, innocuous-looking tubes with midcentury-inspired wooden legs. The shelves inside act like full-body armrests — helpful for preventing users from falling over as they doze off between meetings.
[futurism.com, 15 July 2022]

About new words

2022 Word of the Year

Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2022

2022 Word of the YearOnce again, it’s the time of year when the Cambridge Dictionary team looks back over the past twelve months to choose a word that represents what the dictionary, and what the English language, means to its users. This year’s word might surprise you, so read on to find out why the Word of the Year 2022 is… homer! Continue reading “Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2022”

a close-up photograph of one person passing a handful of bank notes to another - only their hands are visible against a black background

New words – 14 November 2022

a close-up photograph of one person passing a handful of bank notes to another - only their hands are visible against a black background
naruecha jenthaisong / Moment / Getty

Great Wealth Transfer noun [S]
UK /ˌgreɪt ˈwelθ ˌtræns.fɜːʳ/ US /ˌgreɪt ˈwelθ ˌtræns.fɝː/
the gradual movement of money from baby boomers (people born in the mid-1940s to mid-1960s) to younger generations, either given as gifts or passed on through inheritance

Ultimately, while the specific impacts at this stage remain relatively unknown, it’s important to acknowledge that the Great Wealth Transfer won’t just be about passing down money to adult children. It’s clear the transfer will redefine many aspects of the economy. So, what can you do today to stay ahead of the economic changes coming?
[entrepreneur.com, 27 September 2022]

effective altruism noun [U]
UK /ɪˌfek.tɪv ˈæl.tru.ɪ.zᵊm/ US /əˌfek.tɪv ˈæl.tru.ɪ.zᵊm/
a movement and area of research that aims to work out the best way of helping other people and solving the world’s problems

In a few short years, effective altruism has become the giving philosophy for many Silicon Valley programmers, hedge funders and even tech billionaires. At its core, effective altruism is devoted to the question of how one can do as much good as possible with the money and time available to them.
[nytimes.com, 8 October 2022]

thriftifarian noun [C]
UK /ˌθrɪft.əˈfeə.ri.ən/ US /ˌθrɪft.əˈfer.i.ən/
someone who is well off but pretends they have to spend less money and not buy certain things so that they appear to be in the same situation as most other people

I came up with a name for a similar group of people: “thriftifarians”. These are middle- or upper-class people who take virtuous pleasure in the selective economies they don’t need to make, especially during times of recession. It seems the thriftifarian is back, only this time what matters most is signalling your fictitious need to economise, whether you actually do so or not.
[theguardian.com, 17 October 2022]

About new words

a group of four young people on a boat smiling at the camera

New words – 7 November 2022

a group of four young people on a boat smiling at the camera
AscentXmedia / iStock / Getty Images Plus

liveaboard noun [C]
UK /ˈlɪv.əˌbɔːd/ US /ˈlɪv.əˌbɔːrd/
someone who lives permanently on a boat

The couple are currently in Greece, “a seagoing nation” they adore for its free mooring and the warm welcome extended to liveaboards. They dropped anchor on the small island of Meganisi when Covid struck but plan to cruise on towards Turkey. “Loads of liveaboards want to lap the world in five years or whatever,” Natalie says. “But we like to get to know new places rather than mindlessly circumnavigating the globe.”
[theguardian.com, 28 August 2022]

flying ferry noun [C]
/ˌflaɪ.ɪŋ ˈfer.i/
a large boat that can travel quickly above the surface of the water, used for taking passengers and often vehicles from one place to another

Three feet above the waves, with only its hydrofoils cutting through the water, the boat leaves virtually no wake, noise, or emissions—a sea change from the hulking diesel-powered ferries that currently haul commuters through the archipelago that makes up the Swedish capital. The aim is to have the flying ferry form a part of Stockholm’s public transport fleet.
[wired.co.uk, 14 July 2022]

GOAT noun [C]
UK /gəʊt/ US /goʊt/
abbreviation for Greatest Of All Trips: used to refer to or describe the best, most expensive, most adventurous etc. holiday that someone has ever taken

More than two-thirds of Americans are planning to go big on their next trip. Expedia is calling this new “no-regrets” style of travel the “GOAT” (Greatest of All Trips) mindset … In the coming year, American travelers are going after their GOAT by stepping outside their comfort zone and immersing themselves in a destination, culture, and experiences completely different to their own.
[hospitalitynet.org, 1 December 2021]

About new words

a bathtub with red and yellow petals floating in the water

New words – 31 October 2022

a bathtub with red and yellow petals floating in the water
courtneyk / iStock / Getty Images Plus

spiritual bath noun [C]
UK /ˌspɪr.ɪ.tʃu.əl ˈbɑːθ/ US /ˌspɪr.ə.tʃu.əl ˈbæθ/
a ritual that involves having a bath to encourage wellbeing, with oils, herbs, flowers etc. added to the water and in a relaxing environment, for example with candles and soft music

A souped up version of the bubble bath, spiritual baths are an art form. Replete with petals, candles, various elixirs and some seriously aesthetically pleasing decor, they’re designed to be blissfully drawn out, contemplative, great for your mental health and truly indulgent.
[glamourmagazine.co.uk, 22 August 2022]

wearapy noun [U]
UK /ˈweərə.pi/ US /ˈwerə.pi/
the activity of wearing particular clothes as a form of therapy, with the clothes chosen to make the wearer feel happy or comforted etc.

While you can use fashion to boost your mood and make you feel powerful, Forbes-Bell also wants us to consider the emotional importance of what we wear – something she calls “wearapy”. “It’s about understanding the emotional significance and attachment your clothes have,” she explains. “Within that, it’s asking you to understand when you’re putting something on, not just thinking, does this look good? But also, how does this make me feel?”
[independent.co.uk, 15 September 2022]

scream pot noun [C]
UK /ˈskriːm ˌpɒt/ US /ˈskriːm ˌpɑːt/
a type of clay pot that you can scream into as a way of releasing negative emotions such as anger and frustration

Golkar started making his scream pots in 2011, seeking both to expand his practice with clay – and an outlet for his own repressed emotions. “It’s really difficult to pinpoint what the origins of those frustrations were,” he says, “but suffice to say, they must have been piling up for a while.”
[theguardian.com, 23 September 2022]

About new words

extreme close-up photograph of a nose overlaid with a translucent zig-zag line representing the sense of smell

New words – 24 October 2022

extreme close-up photograph of a nose overlaid with a translucent zig-zag line representing the sense of smell
artpartner-images / The Image Bank / Getty

super-smeller noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.pəˌsmeləʳ/ US /ˈsuː.pɚˌsmelɚ/
someone whose sense of smell is so powerful that they can smell things most other people cannot

From petrol and perfume to Parkinson’s disease, super-smellers can detect scents others are oblivious to … One of the most extreme cases of a super-smeller to emerge in recent years is a Scottish woman who noticed a certain “musty smell” on her husband in the years preceding his diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease. It was only once she walked into a support group for people living with Parkinson’s that she realised the scent was common among them.
[theguardian.com, 22 January 2022]

tomato flu noun [U]
UK /təˈmɑː.təʊ fluː/ US /təˈmeɪ.t̬oʊ fluː/
an infectious disease found in children that usually causes red blisters to form on the skin

Ever since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, people have been more concerned than ever about potential disease threats. The newest of these is called “tomato flu,” and has affected over 100 children in India, according to a recent correspondence in The Lancet. The authors report that tomato flu, likely a viral disease, was first identified in the Kollam district of Kerala, India on May 6, 2022.
[www.healthline.com, 26 August 2022]

milestone anxiety noun [U]
UK /ˌmaɪl.stəʊn æŋˈzaɪ.ə.ti/ US /ˌmaɪl.stoʊn æŋˈzaɪ.ə.t̬i/
a condition in which someone feels frightened or very worried because they have not achieved the same things in life as other people of the same age

Sometimes it seems like everyone but you is reaching the traditional milestones – getting married, buying a house, having a baby, getting a promotion or starting a new business. The strain of not hitting these landmarks by a certain age can negatively impact wellbeing … Counsellors say that milestone anxiety is increasingly cropping up in therapy sessions, and that family, friends and social media can add to these feelings of inadequacy.
[linkedin.com, 16 September 2022]

About new words

a group of young people posing together for the camera

New words – 17 October 2022

a group of young people posing together for the camera
Diamond Dogs / iStock / Getty Images Plus

centennial noun [C]
someone who was born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s

From baby boomers, to generation X, all the way up to millennials, each age group has their own characteristics and their distinct way to act. That also applies for one of the youngest generations: centennials. But, is it really all that important? Yes! It is important in a context where centennials will make up to 27% of the job market by 2025.
[talent2win.com, 19 July 2022]

silver exodus noun [S]
UK /ˌsɪl.vər ˈek.sə.dəs/ US /ˌsɪl.vɚ ˈek.sə.dəs/
a trend in the employment market beginning in 2021 that has seen a much larger number of older people than usual stop working

If you thought it was only young people fleeing the workforce, think again. The UK is currently seeing a large number of over-50s resigning en masse from the workforce at a startling rate – known as a “silver exodus”. According to The Times newspaper, around 300,000 more workers aged between 50 and 65 are now considered “economically inactive” than before the pandemic, meaning that these older workers are neither employed nor seeking a job.
[managementtoday.co.uk, 1 June 2022]

nepo baby noun [C]
UK /ˈnep.əʊ ˌbeɪ.bi/ US /ˈnep.oʊ ˌbeɪ.bi/
the child of an actor, a musician etc. who achieves success because of their famous parent

They would just like to add that Hollywood nepotism is more complicated than it appears, and just because one is born a nepo baby does not mean they aren’t also human beings with emotions and nuanced inner lives as they navigate a harsh spotlight in the social media era and try to live up to enormous expectations.
[washingtonpost.com, 1 August 2022]

About new words

a smartly dressed, smiling woman sitting with a laptop at a hotel reception desk

New words – 10 October 2022

a smartly dressed, smiling woman sitting with a laptop at a hotel reception desk
praetorianphoto / E+ / Getty

director of first impressions noun [C]
UK /dɪˈrek.tər əv ˌfɜːst ɪmˈpreʃ.ᵊnz/ US /dɪˈrek.tɚ əv ˌfɝːst ɪmˈpreʃ.ᵊnz/
someone who works in an office or hotel and whose job is to welcome and help visitors

While directors of first impressions may work under various job descriptions, they must invariably succeed at one common goal: To set a warm, friendly and competent tone for all future interactions. As the first and most public face of a company, a director of first impressions knows better than anyone that it’s not always easy to make a great first impression. It’s the unfavorable impressions that you and your staff want to avoid.
[smallbusiness.chron.com, 25 March 2022]

disco nanny noun [C]
UK /ˈdɪs.kəʊ ˌnæn.i/ US /ˈdɪs.koʊ ˌnæn.i/
someone whose job is to look after a family’s children overnight during a holiday, while the parents go out to parties and nightclubs

The 21-year-old hasn’t been partying in the island’s superclubs, but working as a “disco nanny” – a growing cohort in luxe European hotspots who watch holidaymakers’ children while the parents cut loose into the small hours. And beyond: Roig often finds herself at charges’ homes until noon the following day, when they are finally ready to face the world – and their own offspring – again.
[telegraph.co.uk, 2 September 2022]

luxury detective noun [C]
UK /ˈlʌk.ʃər.i dɪˌtek.tɪv/ US /ˈlʌk.ʃɚ.i dɪˌtek.tɪv/
someone whose job is to find rare and very expensive handbags, watches, jewellery etc. for other people to buy

From a barn in Hertfordshire, the luxury detectives at Xupes can source whichever collectible designer accessory you desire – for a price … When luxury detective Reece Morgan tells me about sourcing [a handbag] and describes how “she” was so beautiful and her presence so “alluring”, I think he must be talking about the highly demanding, wealthy customer who gets to use it. “No, I mean the bag,” he says, like I’m the mad one.
[thetimes.co.uk, 13 August 2022]

About new words

a young woman in a red and navy striped shirt is reading a book, set against a plain, sky-blue background

New words – 3 October 2022

a young woman in a red and navy striped shirt is reading a book, set against a plain, sky-blue background
Khosrork / iStock / Getty Images Plus

stealth help noun [U]
/ˌstelθ ˈhelp/
a type of book that uses a story or an account of someone’s experience to inspire its readers to achieve goals and overcome problems

In the aftermath of the pandemic, publishers have said that writers are leaning towards feelgood and optimistic works. One such genre is “stealth help”, which describes books that still serve to inspire readers without being as overtly remedial as traditional self-help books. Similar to memoir, the genre often deals with inspirational stories that readers can take heart from.
[thetimes.co.uk, 20 August 2022]

sibling novel noun [C]
UK /ˈsɪb.lɪŋ ˌnɒv.ᵊl/ US /ˈsɪb.lɪŋ ˌnɑː.vᵊl/
a novel that features some of the same characters as another novel by the same author, but is not a sequel or part of a series

In her typically inventive fashion, Jennifer Egan calls The Candy House, the follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize winner A Visit from the Goon Squad (2011), a “sibling novel”. According to Egan, The Candy House follows a number of [A Visit from the Goon Squad’s] peripheral characters into their own futures and pasts to create an independent work with a new set of preoccupations and center of gravity, but equal affinity for technology, humor, and structural freedom.
[theconversation.com, 26 April 2022]

romantasy noun [U]
UK /rəʊmˈæn.tə.si/ US /roʊmˈæn.tə.si/
a type of book that is part romance and part fantasy

Rosie is a distinctively talented author, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime acquisition. Sixteen Souls is a swoony romantasy where Rosie has intricately plotted a stunning mystery with a fantastically diverse cast of characters. With Rosie’s TikTok platform and job as a bookseller, she has a masterful understanding of the YA market and is uniquely placed to reach a strikingly engaged readership.
[thebookseller.com, 22 August 2022]

About new words

a woman sitting in a car with storm clouds and lightning outside - she is holding her nose as though she is about to sneeze

New words – 26 September 2022

a woman sitting in a car with storm clouds and lightning outside - she is holding her nose as though she is about to sneeze
Jens Rother / iStock / Getty Images Plus

thunder fever noun [U]
UK /ˈθʌn.də ˌfiː.vəʳ/ US /ˈθʌn.dɚ ˌfiː.vɚ/
a more serious form of hay fever that people can experience when there is a high pollen count and thundery weather at the same time

A high pollen count mixed with thunderstorms will trigger a weather phenomenon called “thunder fever” this week, causing problems for allergy sufferers, forecasters have warned. The combination of warm weather, strong winds and thundery downpours brought to the UK as a result of the now-downgraded tropical storm Alex are to blame for the conditions expected to affect the country in the coming days.
[independent.co.uk, 9 June 2022]

digital amnesia noun [U]
UK /ˌdɪdʒ.ɪ.tᵊl æmˈniː.zi.ə/ US /ˌdɪdʒ.ə.t̬ᵊl æmˈniː.ʒə/
a condition where people become less able to remember things because they are used to looking everything up on the internet

Experts say smartphone addiction could impair the brain’s ability to retain new information and form new memories. This leads to ‘digital amnesia’. What is ‘digital amnesia’? It is basically a phenomenon where brains are losing their ability to remember quickly as people are becoming increasingly reliant on technology.
[news18.com, 5 January 2022]

dental desert noun [C]
UK /ˌden.tᵊl ˈdez.ət/ US /ˌden.t̬ᵊl ˈdez.ɚt/
an area where there are not enough dentists to give everyone who lives there dental care, or where it is very difficult to get affordable or state-funded dental care

Parts of England, including Suffolk, are becoming “dental deserts”, with no access to NHS dentistry for residents, an MP has told Westminster. Mr Aldous said the lack of available NHS dental appointments was a “national crisis”, although the issue in his own constituency was “acute”. “There are now parts of the country, particularly in rural and coastal areas, though not confined there, that are dental deserts.”
[bbc.co.uk, 10 February 2022]

About new words