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]

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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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New words – 16 December 2019

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dirty camping noun [U]
UK /ˌdɜː.ti.ˈkæm.pɪŋ/ US /ˌdɝː.t̬i.ˈkæm.pɪŋ/
the activity of leaving rubbish behind or causing damage by having a fire after you have stayed somewhere in a tent

In a summer which has seen the problem of dirty camping becoming increasingly common in rural hotspots across the country, Mountaineering Scotland’s Access & Conservation Officer Davie Black said: “Antisocial camping can and should be dealt with. Hotspots for dirty camping are usually known to local authorities.”
[mountaineering.scot, 15 August 2019]

randonaut noun [C]
UK /ˈræn.də.nɔːt/ US /ˈræn.də.nɑːt/
someone who visits a random location generated by a computer bot in the hope of having an unusual, supernatural or otherwise interesting experience there

Live in one place long enough and you will develop routines, walking the same streets and patronizing the same coffee shops … Randonauts hope to use this tedium to their advantage, by introducing unpredictability. They argue that by devising methods that force us to diverge from our daily routines and instead send us to truly random locations we’d otherwise never think twice about, it just might be possible to cross over into somebody else’s reality.
[www.theoutline.com, 27 August 2019]

air cruise noun [C]
UK /ˈeə.kruːz/ US /ˈer.kruːz/
a journey on an aeroplane for pleasure, either to look at something from the air, or to enjoy activities onboard the aeroplane

“These flights could take the form of ‘air cruises’, which will see travellers fly slowly over areas of special interest, such as the Pyramids, while interactive VR guides give passengers an immersive running commentary. Other options available to passengers travelling on an air cruise include on-board yoga, meditation or art classes.”
[telegraph.co.uk, 31 July 2019]

About new words

New words – 9 December 2019

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slow art noun [U]
UK /ˌsləʊ.ˈɑːt/ US /ˌsləʊ.ˈɑːrt/
a mission to encourage people to take a lot of time to look at a work of art and examine it carefully in order to really appreciate it

“Many people don’t know how to look at and love art and are disconnected from it,” explains Phil Terry, the founder of Slow Art Day. “Visitors to galleries often see art from their iPads or mobile phones and slow art is an antidote to that.”
[www.theguardian.com, 17 August 2019]

hopepunk noun [U]
UK /ˈhəʊp.pʌŋk/ US /ˈhoʊp.pʌŋk/
an art form such as books, movies etc. whose plots and themes are optimistic and hopeful

As you’d imagine, hopepunk fans are generally a very friendly, generous-spirited bunch. I found Ella March … on Reddit. She told me that hopepunk “is a conscious effort to take a positive look at our world and recognise everything that’s good about it”.
[The Sunday Telegraph, 25 August 2019]

walkumentary noun [C]
UK /ˌwɒk.jəˈmen.tᵊr.i/ US /ˌwɑː.kjəˈmen.t̬ɚ.i/
a film or television programme or other event where someone walks around a particular place learning facts and information about the place or someone connected to it

On the back of that poignant anniversary, a “walkumentary” that is available for visiting Gaye fans, during which they can visit the star’s hideouts while watching original footage on an iPod of him in the town, has had a 10% rise in takers in the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2018.
[www.theguardian.com, 17 August 2019]

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New words – 2 December 2019

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micro-scheduling noun [U]
UK /ˈmaɪ.krəʊ.ʃedjuːlɪŋ/ US /ˈmaɪ.kroʊ.skedʒuːlɪŋ/
the activity of planning your time in a way that accounts for what you will do in every minute of the day

The CEOs have said it: scheduling meetings, lunch breaks and workouts is no longer enough. To hit peak productivity, micro-scheduling is the best option: in other words, planning every minute of your day, down to checking your phone and making tea. It’s all the rage in Silicon Valley: Bill Gates and Elon Musk both split their days into five-minute chunks. And New York-based entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk reportedly plans his day out to the second.
[standard.co.uk, 21 February 2019]

timeboxing noun [U]
UK /ˈtaɪm.bɒk.sɪŋ/ US /ˈtaɪm.bɑːk.sɪŋ/
a technique to manage your time more efficiently that involves planning what you are going to do in every minute of the next week

There are various timeboxing apps and templates out there … but I start by using Google calendar to schedule a week full of tasks. Everything, from what time I start writing to when I walk the dog, is neatly mapped out.
[The Guardian, 12 October 2019]

FONC noun [U]
UK /fɒŋk/ US /fɑːŋk/
abbreviation for “fear of not chilling”: a worried feeling that you may miss the opportunity to stay at home and relax, because you are too busy and are going out a lot

You know you have FONC when your busy schedule causes mild panic about when you’ll have time to treat yourself to some necessary R&R. “It’s kind of the opposite of saying yes to everything,” says Kott … “It’s like, I’d rather be home chilling or chilling with friends. If there’s a really busy week, or a really busy few days of the week in a work sense, then I try to allow space for relaxation,” she says.
[standard.co.uk, 21 February 2019]

About new words

New words – 25 November 2019

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laughter club noun [C]
UK /ˈlɑːf.tə.klʌb/ US /ˈlæf.tɚ.klʌb/
an organization of people who meet regularly to laugh together as a form of therapy

It’s no joke. Laughter clubs exist all over the country. They’re run by “certified laughter leaders” – often psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists – who are trained in the healing benefits of laughter. These workshops can help you connect with others as you get in a good laugh.
[www.rd.com/health/wellness, no date]

entertrainment noun [U]
UK /en.təˈtreɪn.mənt/ US /en.t̬ɚˈtreɪn.mənt/
fitness classes that combine exercise with entertainment, designed to make exercise more fun

So, how do we navigate this confusing world of entertrainment? How to sort off the marketing gimmicks from the genuinely useful concepts? Firstly, it’s worth repeating Beverley’s line: movement is good for you, and if fun, faddy classes help get you working out, then that’s probably a good thing. Don’t beat yourself up about loving entertrainment if it works for you.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 22 March 2019]

sober bar noun [C]
UK /ˈsəʊ.bə.bɑːʳ/ US /ˈsəʊ.bə.bɑːr/
a bar where no alcoholic drinks are served

Many of the wave of sober bars are new, and it remains to be seen whether they will continue to proliferate and thrive. In Auckland in 2015, an alcohol-free bar shut down after just five weeks. But there’s no doubt that interest in non-alcoholic adult beverages is increasing across the beverage industry, and that’s unlikely to stop soon.
[bbc.com/worklife, 19 July 2019]

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