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

New words – 8 February 2021

Laura Hedien / Moment / Getty

anthropause noun [S]
UK /ˈæn.θrə.pɔːz/ US /ˈæn.θrə.pɑːz/
a period of time during which human activity and movement is greatly reduced

Over the past few months, many countries around the world went into lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19. Brought about by the most tragic circumstances, this period of unusually reduced human mobility — which we suggest be coined ‘anthropause’ — may provide important insights into human–wildlife interactions in the twenty-first century.
[, 22 June 2020]

frugal bottle noun [C]
UK /ˌfruː.gᵊl.ˈbɒt.ᵊl/ US /ˌfruː.gᵊl.ˈbɑː.t̬ᵊl/
a type of bottle made from recycled paper, normally used to hold wine or other drinks

Although glass can be recycled, it is very carbon-intensive to make. The frugal bottle, made from recycled paperboard, is five times lighter than a glass one and has a carbon footprint up to six times (84%) lower than a glass bottle.
[, 20 December 2020]

carbon counting noun [U]
UK /ˈkɑː.bᵊn.kaʊnt.ɪŋ/ US /ˈkɑːr.bᵊn.kaʊnt.ɪŋ/
the activity of calculating what impact the food and drink we consume has on the environment

Environmentally conscious foodies and restaurateurs are turning their attention to the planet’s health with “carbon counting”. Vegan milk brand Oatly will be labelling its products with carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) [and] east London’s newest hipster hangout Kraft Dalston is reducing its CO2 footprint by 75 per cent by eliminating unnecessary packaging and deliveries.
[, 3 January 2021]

About new words

New words – 1 February 2021

Justin Paget /Stone / Getty

slow map noun [C]
UK /ˈsləʊ.mæp/ US /ˈsloʊ.mæp/
a map that shows the best walking routes between different places

Part of the government’s official transport advice during the pandemic has been “walk, if you can” … However, once you venture away from your local neighbourhood, it is not always obvious how to find the best walking route to a nearby village or – if you are feeling adventurous – a neighbouring town or city. That’s what is hoped will be solved with the slow map.
[, 16 October 2020]

sound walk noun [C]
UK /ˈsaʊnd.wɔːk/ US /ˈsaʊnd.wɑːk/
a walk during which the person walking concentrates on listening to the sounds around them, or listens to a recording of music or a narration designed to accompany the walking route

Despite the logistical challenges of creating sound walks during the pandemic, entries are up 44% this year, and the number of people registering to attend Sound Walk September events (which went virtual this year) quadrupled. Designed to be experienced in isolation, the sound walks experience feels like the perfect fit for the very deep hole we currently find ourselves in.
[, 16 November 2020]

walking around video noun [C]
UK /ˌwɔː.kɪŋ.əˈraʊnd.vɪd.i.əʊ/ US /ˌwɑː.kɪŋ.əˈraʊnd.vɪd.i.oʊ/
a video posted on a social media platform of someone walking around a particular town or city, designed to give the viewer a virtual tour

Sometimes, though, all our frayed nerves and bored brains crave is a sense of return to pre-Covid public life, casual social interaction, streetscapes and regional citybreaks … Enter “walking around videos,” a burgeoning YouTube trend that’s flown under the radar for years but has quietly garnered millions upon millions of views, especially in recent months.
[, 20 August 2020]

About new words

New words – 25 January 2021

Pridannikov / iStock / Getty Images Plus

above-the-mask adjective
UK /əˌbʌv.ðə.ˈmɑːsk/ US /əˌbʌv.ðə.ˈmæsk/
describes a beauty treatment or product that is used on an area of the face above where a mask is worn, such as the eyes or forehead

While the percentage of Americans getting manicures and pedicures has dropped 55% from 2019 to 2020, many above-the-mask beauty services have stayed strong. Permanent makeup (including eyebrow tinting and microblading) have remained steady year over year. BOTOX®, fillers, and similar treatments have been consistent, as well.
[, 4 December 2020]

skin fasting noun [U]
UK /ˈskɪn.fɑːst.ɪŋ/ US /ˈskɪn.fæst.ɪŋ/
the practice of using no, or very few, skincare products on your face for a set period of time, thought by some people to be good for the skin

When it comes to putting skin fasting into practice, the options range from a complete break over the course of a few days to simply downscaling your skincare operation and opting for a more minimalist approach. Although the idea behind skin fasting sounds promising, unsurprisingly, there aren’t many professionals that advocate the complete cessation of your skincare routine.
[, 5 April 2020]

sauna blanket noun [C]
UK /ˈsɔː.nə.blæŋ.kɪt/ US /ˈsaʊ.nə.ˈblæŋ.kɪt/
a type of sleeping bag that emits infrared rays on the inside to heat the body in a similar way to a sauna

Now the hottest bit of bed-related wellness paraphernalia to arrive is the infrared sauna blanket. This sweaty “sleeping bag” claims to bring all the benefits of an infrared sauna session without the schlep to a gym or sauna studio. You can do it in the comfort of your home, away from other sweaty bodies and without the drama of communal sauna etiquette.
[, 17 December 2020]

About new words

New words – 18 January 2021

Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images

half-tourist noun [C]
UK /ˈhɑːf.tʊə.rɪst/ US /ˈhæf.tʊr.ɪst/
someone who travels to a different city or country and spends part of the time working remotely while they are there

Ed Francis … is among a new breed of remote workers, or “half-tourists”. After giving up his office in Soho during lockdown, he spent July and August living and working in Palma, Mallorca, with his girlfriend, and is now considering a permanent move. “It took me a while to settle into doing things differently,” he said. “I had to free myself from the nine-to-five mindset.”
[, 25 September 2020]

schoolcation noun [C]
a family holiday during which the children receive online schooling

As the school year for most U.S. children begins remotely, the schoolcation has evolved from a social media hashtag into a full-blown phenomenon embraced by major vacation brands such as Four Seasons, Playa Hotels & Resorts and more. Interested? As someone who has recently returned from a schoolcation in Sun Valley, Idaho, here are a few tips to help parents plan.
[, 9 September 2020]

revenge travel noun [U]
the activity of travelling and going on holiday more than usual as a reaction to not having been able or allowed to do so for a period of time

Revenge travel is this sinister buzzword that has been doing the rounds in the last few months to describe the angsty and bottled-up demand for travel that many of us are currently feeling. But is revenge as sweet as we’d like? The jury is still out on that.
[, 15 August 2020]

About new words

New words – 11 January 2021

Romilly Lockyer / The Image Bank / Getty

chat bench noun [C]
a long seat in a public place where strangers are encouraged to sit and talk to each other

In a bid to fight loneliness, Avon & Somerset Police set up a scheme in May to create “chat benches”. Marked with a sign that reads: “Happy to chat bench. Sit here if you don’t mind someone stopping to say hello,” the seats break down invisible social barriers. Chat benches have since popped up across the globe.
[, January 2020]

joy strategist noun [C]
UK /dʒɔɪ.ˈstræt.ə.dʒɪst/ US /dʒɔɪ.ˈstræt̬.ə.dʒɪst/
someone whose job is to help people to be happier

Deeply driven by a sense of social responsibility, Harry, 50, works as a “joy strategist,” helping everyday people and artists like Jay-Z and Lauryn Hill connect their emotional dots. “I have a lot of friends that are healers, therapists, and life coaches, and I realized, that’s not what I want to do — I want to create a strategy around people finding joy and having joy be their North Star,” says Harry.
[Vogue, 23 October 2020]

social recession noun [C]
UK /ˌsəʊ.ʃᵊl.rɪˈseʃ.ᵊn/ US /ˌsoʊ.ʃᵊl.rɪˈseʃ.ᵊn/
a period when there is very little contact between all the people in a society

Typically, in moments of stress, we reach out to people. We spend time with people we love. And now we’re being asked not to do that, at least in physical terms. So I worry that we may incur what I think of as a social recession, with profound consequences for our health, for our productivity in the workplace, for how our kids do in school.
[, 9 June 2020]

About new words

New words – 4 January 2021

katleho Seisa / E+ / Getty

vaccine stamp noun [C]
a mark made in a passport to show that the holder has been vaccinated against the covid-19 virus

The new “vaccine stamps” would allow tourists to avoid being held up at borders if the international travel industry starts to pick up in the middle of next year as the pandemic subsides. The stamps are being considered by ministers at the Department for Transport (DfT) as a significant way to boost the aviation industry by giving a degree of certainty to travellers planning overseas holidays next summer.
[, 29 November 2020]

Blursday noun [C]
UK /ˈblɜːz.deɪ/ US /ˈblɝːz.deɪ/
a humorous way of referring to any day of the week in the time of the covid-19 pandemic, from the fact that it is sometimes difficult to know which day it is

Blursday is a term that’s being tossed around on social media right now to describe the merging of minutes, hours and days since COVID-19 shut so much of the world down … Days, at least for the last couple months, have been flowing into each other with no line delineating one from the other. … Blursday posts might be funny on Facebook, but Blursday is a dangerous space for many people.
[, May 2020]

V-Day noun [S]
the day when the vaccination programme against the covid-19 virus was launched in the UK

A 90-year-old woman has become the first person to receive an approved Covid-19 vaccine in the western world—the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved last week for emergency use in the U.K.—as the nation’s National Health Service (NHS) embarks on “V-Day,” a term ministers are using to describe the biggest immunization campaign in the organization’s history.
[, 8 December 2020]

About new words

New words – 28 December 2020

Henrik Sorensen / DigitalVision / Getty

pub desk noun [C]
a table in a pub that someone can use as a desk instead of working at home, usually in return for an hourly or daily payment

After seven months of working from home the cabin fever is starting to set in for many people … Now savvy pub and hotel owners who are facing a huge crisis in the hospitality industry have hit on a new trend to revive their coffers and our flagging attention spans – pub desks. Why camp out with your laptop in the spare bedroom when you could be in a cosy pub with snacks and drinks on hand and probably significantly better wifi than you have at home?
[, 29 October 2020]

chumocracy noun [C]
UK /tʃʌ.ˈmɒk.rə.si/ US /tʃʌ.ˈmɑː.krə.si/
the situation in which someone important gives jobs to friends rather than to independent people who have the necessary skills and experience

Cronyism. Chumocracy. One rule for them, another for everyone else. Describe it however you want, but the past few months has painted a damning picture of the Tories’ slapdash approach to governing – one that is wasting taxpayers’ money and ignoring due process, all while placing favours for their friends above delivering for our local communities.
[, 22 November 2020]

chronoleadership noun [U]
UK /ˌkrɒn.ə.ˈliː.də.ʃɪp/ US /ˌkrɑː.nə.ˈliː.dɚ.ʃɪp/
a way of organizing your working hours around the times of day when you naturally feel most awake

Flexible work schedules are currently not the norm, but sleep experts believe they should be. For 15 years, Camilla Kring has run B Society, which advises companies around the world on how to implement “chronoleadership” – the idea that they should adapt their work patterns to suit the sleeping schedules of their employees, rather than the other way around.
[The Observer Magazine, 31 May 2020]

About new words

New words – 21 December 2020

Bloomberg Creative Photos / Getty

black sky event noun [C]
a serious event, such as a cyberattack or a natural disaster, that causes a widespread power cut

The National Commission on Grid Resilience, … convened to assess our ability to prevent or respond to a so-called black sky event, concludes in a report released Thursday that the country has fallen behind. The danger of a nation gone dark is rising.
[, 15 August 2020]

the Internet of Behaviour noun [S]
UK /ˌɪn.tə.net.əv.bɪˈheɪ.vjəʳ/ US /ˌɪn.t̬ɚ.net.əv.bɪˈheɪ.vjɚ/
a way of using the internet to connect computing devices and use the data from them to track people’s activities

The research and advisory firm says that by 2023, 40 percent of people worldwide will likely be having their individual activities tracked digitally by this Internet of Behaviour. “The Internet of Behaviour captures the ‘digital dust’ of people’s lives from a variety of sources, and that information can be used by public or private entities to influence behaviour,” says Gartner.
[, 29 October 2020]

digital republic noun [C]
UK /ˌdɪdʒ.ɪ.tᵊl.rɪˈpʌb.lɪk/ US /ˌdɪdʒ.ə.t̬ᵊl.rɪˈpʌb.lɪk/
a country whose citizens can access almost all government services on the internet

In Estonia, the only public service not available online is marriage. Dubbed the “digital republic”, Estonia has the most advanced e-government in the world and nurtures a vibrant start-up community. Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia, joins Azeem Azhar to explore how … this digital republic is navigating the Covid-19 pandemic.

[Harvard Business Review, 20 April 2020]

About new words