an artist's impression of red blood cells in a blood vessel

Blood, sweat and tears: phrases with ‘blood’

an artist's impression of red blood cells in a blood vessel
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by Liz Walter

We might not like the thought of blood, but there are lots of useful phrases that contain this word! Continue reading “Blood, sweat and tears: phrases with ‘blood’”

The canopy of a banyan tree seen from below, with the sun shining through the leaves.

Root and branch (Idioms with nature words, Part 3)

The canopy of a banyan tree seen from below, with the sun shining through the leaves.
Matt Anderson Photography/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Today, in the third and final post of our nature idioms series, we look at idioms that feature the words tree, bush and hedge and also words for parts of these things, such as root and branch. Continue reading “Root and branch (Idioms with nature words, Part 3)”

The day before yesterday: using time expressions

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by Liz Walter

We all need to talk about when things happened or when things will happen. There are lots of ways of doing this and learners often make mistakes with some of the most basic ones. Continue reading “The day before yesterday: using time expressions”

girl reading a book lying on the grass

Gratitude and me-time (words around staying positive)

Close Up Of Handwritten Gratitude Text With Notebook, Pen, Cup Of Tea, Flowers And Oil Burner
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by Kate Woodford

Today we’re looking at language around being positive and relaxed, and the things we do in order to stay that way. Continue reading “Gratitude and me-time (words around staying positive)”

Green shoots and fertile ground (Idioms with nature words, part 2)

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by Kate Woodford

Part 1 of this ‘nature idioms’ post looked at flower idioms. Today, we’re lowering our gaze to the ground and looking at idioms that feature mud and grass. We’ll start, appropriately enough, with phrases that include the word ‘seed’, (= the tiny thing from which a plant grows). Continue reading “Green shoots and fertile ground (Idioms with nature words, part 2)”

I wouldn’t trust them an inch: talking about people you don’t trust

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by Liz Walter

In my last post, I presented some words and phrases to describe people who are loyal and who you can trust. Today’s post deals with the opposite. Continue reading “I wouldn’t trust them an inch: talking about people you don’t trust”

New words – 20 September 2021

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immunity debt noun [U]
UK /ɪˈmjuː.nə.ti.det/ US /ɪˈmjuː.nə.t̬i.det/
the situation where people have been avoiding exposure to the Covid-19 virus and have therefore not developed immunity to other viruses, causing larger, more serious outbreaks of illness later

New Zealand hospitals are experiencing the payoff of “immunity debt” created by Covid-19 lockdowns, with wards flooded by babies with a potentially-deadly respiratory virus, doctors have warned … The “immunity debt” phenomenon occurs because measures like lockdowns, hand-washing, social distancing and masks are not only effective at controlling Covid-19. They also suppress the spread of other illnesses that transmit in a similar way, including the flu, common cold, and lesser-known respiratory illnesses like RSA.
[theguardian.com, 8 July 2021]

pingdemic noun [C usually singular]
/ˌpɪŋ.ˈdem.ɪk/
the situation where a very large number of people have received an alert on their phone telling them that they must self-isolate as they have been in contact with someone who has Covid-19, causing problems for businesses and services as they cannot go to work

With case numbers rising sharply in England as restrictions are lifted, the country has seen what has been dubbed as a “pingdemic”, with hundreds of thousands of people told to stay at home after being deemed to have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
[standard.co.uk, 28 July 2021]

vaccine nationalism noun [U]
/ˌvæk.siːn.ˈnæʃ.ᵊn.ᵊl.ɪ.zᵊm/
the situation where a country tries to buy supplies of a vaccine before or instead of other, usually poorer, countries

This “vaccine nationalism,” in which countries prioritize their domestic needs at the expense of others, may have helped accelerate efforts to develop such drugs, but it is already showing its limits. With wealthy countries claiming the lion’s share of prospective doses for themselves, and with global efforts to equalize vaccine distribution facing enduring unilateralism and limited resources, a coronavirus vaccine returning the world to something resembling “normal” could take considerable time—perhaps even longer than it needs to.
[theatlantic.com, 8 December 2020]

About new words

Shrinking violets and tall poppies (Idioms with nature words, part 1)

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by Kate Woodford

Like many people, I spent a good deal of 2020 out in nature, walking my dog along the local stream and through the woods. Surrounded by trees, hedges, and flowers, I started to think about all the nature idioms and phrases that we use. This week, we’re looking specifically at flower-related idioms. (By the way, if anyone wants to identify the flowers in these idioms, there are pretty photos at most of our dictionary entries for them.) Continue reading “Shrinking violets and tall poppies (Idioms with nature words, part 1)”

As good as your word: Talking about trust and loyalty

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by Liz Walter

This post looks at words and phrases connected with the question of trust. I’ll start with ways of talking about people you are certain will keep their promises. You can depend on, rely on or count on them to do what they say they will do:

I know I can depend on Patrick to keep the business running while I’m away.

If you stand for election, you can count on me to support you! Continue reading “As good as your word: Talking about trust and loyalty”

girl reading a book lying on the grass

Getting lost in books: the language of reading

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by Kate Woodford

I was lucky enough to be on holiday last week and spent a portion of it with my nose in a book (=reading). It made me think about all the nice reading-related language that we use, and I thought I’d share it with you in today’s blog post. Continue reading “Getting lost in books: the language of reading”