New words – 19 April 2021

Westend61 / Getty

gleefreshing noun [U]
the activity of refreshing news websites and social media updates on your phone or other device in order to read positive news stories

There’s also something about the in-betweenness of this moment that really enables the gleefreshing: the second the good news is official, there will still be the Senate, the coronavirus, the Supreme Court, and our broken economy to worry about … Gleefreshing has no real chance of edging out doomscrolling as the definitive experience of 2020.
[, 6 November 2020]

social biome noun [C]
UK /ˌsəʊ.ʃᵊl.ˈbaɪ.əʊm/ US /ˌsoʊ.ʃᵊl.ˈbaɪ.oʊm/
the system of relationships and interactions you have with other people, thought to be necessary for good mental and physical wellbeing

Just like how your gut microbiome benefits from diverse plant foods and top-ups of fermented stuff … so your social biome thrives when nurtured with an abundance of meaningful connections. Think: a deep chat with your oldest mate about how you’re feeling, a playful conversation with a colleague and checking in on an older family member, to show that you care.
[, 12 November 2020]

happiness economist noun [C]
UK /ˈhæp.i.nəs.iˈkɒn.ə.mɪst/ US /ˈhæp.i.nəs.iˈkɑː.nə.mɪst/
someone whose job is to study the links between a country’s wealth and the happiness of its people

Meet the 85-year-old happiness economist who wants to transform our national wellbeing. Richard Layard, author of Can We Be Happier?, believes a nation’s priority should be its citizens’ happiness.
[, 19 March 2021]

About new words

New words – 12 April 2021

Angelos Mihas / iStock / Getty Images Plus

extractive tourism noun [U]
UK /ɪkˈstræk.tɪv.ˈtʊə.rɪ.zᵊm/ US /ɪkˈstræk.tɪv.ˈtʊr.ɪ.zᵊm/
the situation when too many people visit a place on holiday, so that life is made difficult or impossible for the people who live there

“Extractive tourism” – a term first coined by academic Vijay Kolinjivadi – goes beyond the basic interpretation of overtourism as a congestion caused by travellers flocking to tourism hotspots while balancing out the economic benefits. The new phrase better encompasses the destructive impact of mass tourism on local communities as well.
[, 24 February 2021]

air curtain noun [C, usually pl]
UK /ˈeə.ˌkɜː.tᵊn/ US /ˈer.ˌkɝː.t̬ᵊn/
a flow of air that stays around a single aeroplane passenger and helps to prevent viruses from spreading to other people on the plane

New technology on planes could create “air curtains” around passengers to reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19. Design and innovation firm Teague says its AirShield can clip over the dials of the air conditioning units above seats to “adapt aircraft cabin airflow to prevent the spread of viruses”. It claims to keep coughs and sneezes within the confines of a single passenger before removing them via the plane’s air filtration system.
[, 17 June 2020]

spread booking noun [U]
the practice of booking several holidays to different places, with the intention of cancelling all but one of them before the date of travel

Can’t bear the idea of your holiday being cancelled again? The answer may be “spread booking”, the new way of managing “lockdown risk” by keeping fingers in multiple holiday pies. With the roadmap released, and companies offering competitive flexible bookings, holidaymakers have suddenly discovered the art of hedging their bets on not one holiday, but two or even three.
[, 28 February 2021]

About new words

New words – 5 April 2021

Tom Werner / DigitalVision / Getty

Regenuary noun [U]
UK /rɪˈdʒen.ju.ə.ri/ US /rɪˈdʒ
a movement organized in the month of January that encourages people to eat food that is seasonal, local and produced using regenerative farming techniques (= ways of farming land that aims to reverse the effects of climate change)

Over a quarter of a million people are taking part in this year’s Veganuary – the campaign encouraging participants to try veganism for the 31 days of January. But a new movement called “Regenuary” is urging conscientious consumers to consider a different approach to eco-friendly eating.
[, 13 January 2021]

eco-aisle noun [C]
UK /ˈiː.kəʊ.aɪl/ US /ˈiː.koʊ.aɪl/
an aisle in a supermarket for food products that have been produced and packaged in a way that causes minimal harm to the environment

“We’ll see the beginning of the eco-aisle, where there’ll be dedicated space for products that reach a certain environmental criterion,” forecasts Morten Toft Bech, founder of Meatless Farm.
[, 15 January 2021]

community fridge noun [C]
UK /kəˈmjuː.nə.ti.frɪdʒ/ US /kəˈmjuː.nə.t̬i.frɪdʒ/
a fridge, located in a public space, that is filled with donated food so that people who cannot afford to buy food can take what they need

There is a school in my Manhattan neighbourhood that has been giving out free meals during the pandemic – and every time I walk past it the line seems longer. A community fridge recently popped up a couple of blocks away; it’s one of many that activists have installed across the city to combat growing food insecurity.
[, 11 August 2021]

About new words

New words – 29 March 2021

Anton Eyn / Eye Em / Getty

clean caviar noun [U]
UK /ˌkliːn.ˈkæv.i.ɑːʳ/ US /ˌkliːn.ˈkæv.i.ɑːr/
a type of caviar (= fish eggs eaten as food) that is made in a laboratory using cells from fish

However, the most ground-breaking product at Caviar Biotec is “clean caviar”, which is being grown from sturgeon cells. Mr Benning explained: “We will be producing it without the use of the fish. Then we will basically grow the whole egg in a lab in a bioreactor.”
[, 20 March 2021]

dunchfast noun [C or U]
a meal eaten once a day that combines breakfast, lunch and dinner

Meanwhile, the move towards home working is making mealtimes yet more fluid. “With the kitchen next to the desk, food is easy pickings – meaning many will wait until mid-morning to have breakfast, while having lunch in the evening.” Some are even limiting themselves to one big meal a day – a meal sometimes referred to as “dunchfast”.
[, 22 January 2021]

tornado omelette noun [C]
UK /tɔːˈneɪ.dəʊ.ˈɒm.lət/ US /tɔːˈneɪ.dəʊ.ˈɒm.lət/
a type of omelette made by whisking the eggs with chopsticks as they cook to create a cone shape

Hold onto your hats, folks, there is a new internet egg sensation spinning out of Korea – the tornado omelette. This twisted, cone-shaped omelette is just one of a long line of egg dishes to blow out of Asia and onto our smartphone feeds.
[, 13 January 2021]

About new words

New words – 22 March 2021

PeopleImages / E+ / Getty

eye yoga noun [U]
UK /ˈaɪ.jəʊ.gə/ US /ˈaɪ.joʊ.gə/
a type of yoga designed to strengthen the muscles around the eyes

If the eyes really are the window to the soul, it makes sense to treat them with the same respect as our bodies. Enter: eye yoga, the new wellness trend on the block, which promises brighter, better rested peepers in under five minutes.
[, 15 January 2021]

stretchologist noun [C]
UK /stretʃ.ˈɒl.ə.dʒɪst/ US /stretʃˈɑː.lə.dʒɪst/
someone who helps you improve your posture and become more flexible by showing you how to stretch properly

Perhaps you have consulted a nutritionist, a personal trainer or a massage therapist, but have you seen a “stretchologist” yet? If not, your tightly coiled muscles may be crying out for the attention of the latest type of fitness guru, one whose niche in an overcrowded market is to guide you towards better posture and greater flexibility.
[, 28 January 2020]

earthing sheet noun [C]
UK /ˈɜːθɪŋ.ʃiːt/ US /ˈɝːθɪŋ.ʃiːt/
a special type of sheet which some people believe enables them to connect with the Earth’s electrical energy while they sleep and thus improve their physical and mental health

What we need for better night-time slumber, we realise courtesy of an advert … is an earthing sheet, thus joining “thousands of people across the UK who are choosing to sleep grounded”. An earthing sheet, we discover by displaying too much curiosity, “uses highly conductive materials such as pure silver and copper combined with innovative Earthing technology to transfer free electrons straight from the Earth to you”.
[, 2 December 2020]

About new words

New words – 15 March 2021

Kubra Cavus / E+ / Getty

computer doping noun [U]
UK /kəmˈpjuː.tə.ˈdəʊ.pɪŋ/ US /kəmˈpjuː.t̬ɚ.ˈdoʊ.pɪŋ/
the act of cheating in a game of chess, backgammon, etc., by using a computer program to find out the best move to make

Fide’s general director, Emil Sutovsky, described it as “a huge topic I work on dozens of hours each week”, and its president, Arkady Dvorkovich, said “computer doping” was a “real plague”. At the heart of the problem are programmes or apps that can rapidly calculate near-perfect moves in any situation.
[, 16 October 2020]

metaverse noun [U]
UK /ˈmet.ə.vɜːs/ US /ˈmet̬.ə.vɝːs/
a shared online space where people, represented by avatars, can take part in many different activities, using virtual reality and augmented reality technology

To picture the metaverse, then, think of a massive virtual realm. One constantly buzzing with activity, where people can go whenever they want, and do whatever they want. They can remotely hang out with friends, create art, consume art, play games and shop. They can visit other realms too, and their identities stay with them as they travel.
[, 21 July 2020]

dragging site noun [C]
an online platform whose members observe the behaviour of someone in the public eye and criticize their actions very severely

During the making of the BBC Radio 4 programme, Me and My Trolls, about dragging site culture, I asked a psychologist and leading expert in cyberstalking to take a look at the site. In just a few hours, she identified incidences of hate speech, harassment and classic behaviours of stalkers and other abusers. And finally, the law may agree with her that dragging sites cross the line.
[, 5 October 2020]

About new words

New words – 8 March 2021

izusek / iStock / Getty Images Plus

braincore noun [U]
UK /ˈbreɪn.kɔːʳ/ US /ˈbreɪn.kɔːr/
a way of dressing intended to make you look more intelligent

First there was normcore — the art of dressing in “normal”-looking clothing that suddenly became a thing in 2014. Then there was cottagecore — the trend for outfits inspired by rural-life twee that reached peak silliness during lockdown. Now? Middle-aged men are all about the braincore — that’s clothes, accessories and merch that show off how intellectual you are.
[, 27 December 2020]

sadwear noun [U]
UK /ˈsæd.weəʳ/ US /ˈsæd.wer/
clothes that make the wearer feel less sad

Lockdown dressing just raised its game with “sadwear” … Living in ratty sweats or even our best leggings seven days a week is enough to get anyone down, which is why “sadwear” is resonating with so many of us. Coined by Esquire magazine’s style director Charlie Teasdale, it can be used to characterize clothes that “make us feel better when we’re sad, specifically born out of the existential ennui of lockdown”.
[, 20 January 2021]

comfury noun [U]
UK /ˈkʌm.fᵊr.i/ US /ˈkʌm.fɚ.i/
a style of clothing that combines comfort and luxury

The key to comfury is to feel like you’re about to snuggle on the sofa, but look ready to go out. The boundaries have been blurred of late and this is a way to draw the lines again. So tracksuits are out, but silky, swingy and soft trousers are in … There are comfury versions of almost any item you can think of.
[, 18 October 2020]

About new words

New words – 1 March 2021

guenterguni / E+ / Getty

zombie storm noun [C]
UK /ˌzɒˈstɔːm/ US /ˌzɑːˈstɔːrm/
a type of storm that dies out but then gathers more energy and returns

Paulette regained strength and became a tropical storm once more about 300 miles (480 kilometers) away from the Azores Islands on Monday (Sept. 21), according to CNN. The term “zombie storm” is new, and though the phenomenon has been recorded before, it is thought to be rare.
[, 25 September 2020]

heat blob noun [C]
UK /ˈhiːt.blɒb/ US /ˈhiːt.blɑːb/
an area of relatively warm water in the middle of an ocean

An underwater heat blob from the Atlantic is delivering more and more warmth to the Arctic, causing sea ice to rapidly melt, a study has found. The research shows that the amount of heat delivered to the Arctic Ocean and the Nordic Seas by ocean currents has increased markedly since 2001.
[, 24 November 2020]

super-Earth noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.pər.ɜːθ/ US /ˈsuː.pɚ.ɝːθ/
a planet outside our solar system that is similar to Earth but larger, and could be habitable by humans

In the last 30 years, scientists have discovered more than 4,000 exoplanets, or planets outside our own solar system. Their latest discovery, however, is a bit of a doozy. Earlier this week, a team of researchers announced the discovery of TOI-561b, a rocky exoplanet that’s been deemed a “super-Earth.” It’s located about 280 light-years away.
[, 14 January 2021]

About new words

New words – 22 February 2021

Ulrike Schmitt-Hartmann / Moment / Getty

cloffice noun [C]
UK /ˈklɒf.ɪs/ US /ˈklɑːf.ɪs/
a closet that has been turned into a small office space

Cloffices are particularly useful in smaller homes and apartments where square footage is tight. And you don’t need a spacious walk-in closet to make it work. The basic setup requires a desktop surface, storage, and a chair or stool that can easily fit inside a reach-in bedroom closet or a linen closet in the hallway.
[Better Homes and Gardens, 11 January 2021]

virtual commute noun [C]
UK /ˌvɜː.tʃu.əl.kəˈmjuːt/ US /ˌvɝː.tʃu.əl.kəˈmjuːt/
a way for people who work from home to separate their working hours from their personal time more easily

If there’s one thing remote workers probably don’t miss about going into the office, it’s the commute. Microsoft, however, disagrees. The company announced that it is working on a new feature for its Teams platform that will allow remote workers to schedule virtual commutes. The idea is to help give workers a solid separation between work and home, a time before and after work each day where they can reflect and set goals without work or home getting in the way.
[, 30 September 2020]

work from anywhere noun [U]
UK /ˌwɜːk.frəm.ˈen.i.weəʳ/ US /ˌwɝːk.frɑːm.ˈen.i.wer/
the activity of working remotely from any location, not necessarily at home

We learned that a great many of us don’t in fact need to be colocated with colleagues on-site to do our jobs. Individuals, teams, entire workforces, can perform well while being entirely distributed—and they have. So now we face new questions: Are all-remote or majority-remote organizations the future of knowledge work? Is work from anywhere (WFA) here to stay?
[Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec 2020]

About new words

New words – 15 February 2021

Halfdark / Getty

zombie battery noun [C]
UK /ˌzɒˈbæt.ᵊr.i/ US /ˌzɑːˈbæt̬.ɚ.i/
a used battery that gets thrown away or added to normal household recycling

“Zombie batteries” have caused hundreds of fires at waste management facilities and recycling plants, endangering workers’ health, according to campaigners … If they are not recycled properly and end up in household waste, dead batteries can still cause dangerous incidents, hence the nickname “zombie”.
[, 26 October 2020]

decomponentise verb [T]
UK /ˌdiːkəmˈpəʊ.nənt.aɪz/ US /ˌdiːkəmˈpoʊ.nənt.aɪz/
to remove the individual components of a device such as a mobile phone in order to recycle them

“Your old phone should go back to the manufacturer, who can ‘decomponentise’ it and put all of its materials back into the system, to make new phones or feed them into a different industry,” she says. The foundation’s research shows that this would reduce manufacturing costs by up to 50 per cent per device.
[, 22 October 2020]

rollable adjective
UK /ˈrəʊl.ə.bᵊl/ US /ˈroʊl.ə.bᵊl/
used to describe a mobile phone whose screen can be expanded into the size of a tablet

Still, LG isn’t the only company working on a rollable phone – the Oppo X 2021 concept phone also rolls, as does a concept device from TCL. There’s no guarantee either of those will ever actually go on sale, but sooner or later there are likely to be multiple rollable phones on the market, so hopefully some of them are affordable.
[, 13 January 2021]

About new words