in a toy shop, a grandfather bounces energetically on a pogo stick, watched by his young grandson

Boundless energy and oomph (Language relating to energy, Part 2)

in a toy shop, a grandfather bounces energetically on a pogo stick, watched by his young grandson
Sean Justice/The Image Bank/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Part 1 of this ‘energy’ series looked at adjectives for describing lively, energetic people. This post looks at nouns that mean ‘energy’ and idioms that we use to describe energetic people. Continue reading “Boundless energy and oomph (Language relating to energy, Part 2)”

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 fiː.vəʳ/ US /ˈθʌn.dɚ fiː.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

three boys leaping in the air and shouting as they play in a park

Bouncy and boisterous (Language relating to energy, Part 1)

three boys leaping in the air and shouting as they play in a park
Nick David/Stone/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Some of you reading this post will have enjoyed a break from your work or studies over the summer months. You might (I hope!) be feeling refreshed and ready to throw yourself into your work (=start working with energy and enthusiasm). With this in mind, I thought I’d take a look at words and phrases that relate to energy – and a lack of it! Part 1 will look at adjectives in this area and Part 2 will focus on nouns and phrases. Continue reading “Bouncy and boisterous (Language relating to energy, Part 1)”

photograph of a young woman thinking, with a colourful illustrated background of gears and a cartoon brain

Thinking outside the box: talking about creativity.

photograph of a young woman thinking, with a colourful illustrated background of gears and a cartoon brain
ismagilov/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

Today’s post is about the language we use to talk about being creative. Creativity – being able to think of new and unusual ideas – is central to human life, and there are lots of great words to describe it. Continue reading “Thinking outside the box: talking about creativity.”

funny picture of two children holding their father hostage, carrying signs saying "more TV" and "no more broccoli"

It serves you right! Talking about people who deserve bad things.

funny picture of two children holding their father hostage, carrying signs saying "more TV" and "no more broccoli"
marcduf/E+/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

The concept of fairness is an important one to most people – a common complaint of even very young children is, “It’s not fair!”. We enjoy a so-called “Hollywood ending” to a movie, when the good people triumph and the baddies get the punishment they deserve. So it’s not surprising that there are a lot of words and phrases connected with fairness. This blog looks at some of the most common ones. Continue reading “It serves you right! Talking about people who deserve bad things.”

a little boy is crying as his mother holds and comforts him

Sobbing or pouring your heart out (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 3)

a little boy is crying as his mother holds and comforts him
Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In the last of these three ‘heart’ posts I’ll be looking at phrases for expressing emotions. There are quite a lot and I won’t be able to cover them all so if you can think of a useful ‘heart’ idiom or phrase on this theme that I haven’t included, do please leave a note below. Continue reading “Sobbing or pouring your heart out (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 3)”

close up of a woman's hands tearing a pink paper heart in half

Losing and breaking your heart (Heart senses and phrases, Part 2)

close up of a woman's hands tearing a pink paper heart in half
Jamie Grill/Tetra images/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In Part 1 of this ‘heart’ series, I looked at common ‘heart’ idioms and phrases for saying that someone is kind. In this post, I’ll consider various figurative senses of the word ‘heart’ and then focus on idioms and phrases that relate to love and romance. Continue reading “Losing and breaking your heart (Heart senses and phrases, Part 2)”

close-up of a man's hand squeezing water from a large yellow cleaning sponge

Spongy, rock-hard or pliable? Talking about textures (2)

close-up of a man's hand squeezing water from a large yellow cleaning sponge
Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

This is the second of two posts on texture. The previous one provided words to describe food, texture words from fabrics, and words to describe how smooth or rough something is. This one will focus on hardness and softness. Continue reading “Spongy, rock-hard or pliable? Talking about textures (2)”

A foil wrapped heart on a pink background with lots of hearts.

A heart of gold or a heart of stone? (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 1)

A foil wrapped heart on a pink background with lots of hearts.
Jennifer A Smith/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

The word ‘heart’ is used a tremendous lot in English. As you might imagine, it’s often used to say things about love and emotions, but it has other less predictable meanings too. In this three-part post, I’ll look at the way we use this word, focusing on its various senses and a range of ‘heart’ idioms and phrases. As ever, I’ll present language that is current and useful. Continue reading “A heart of gold or a heart of stone? (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 1)”

a woman's manicured hands stroking soft, dark blue velvet cloth

Tender, velvety or abrasive? Talking about textures (1)

a woman's manicured hands stroking soft, dark blue velvet cloth
Maryna Terletska/Moment/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

Today’s post focuses on the texture of things: in other words, the way they feel. Continue reading “Tender, velvety or abrasive? Talking about textures (1)”