a businesswoman working at her desk looks worried as she is approached by a colleague

New words – 5 December 2022

Nattakorn Maneerat / iStock / Getty Images Plus

desk-bombing noun [U]
UK /ˈdeskˌbɒm.ɪŋ/ US /ˈdeskˌbɑː.mɪŋ/
the activity of suddenly going to talk to someone who is working at their desk, rather than phoning them or sending them an email, seen by some people as impolite

On “desk-bombing”, Trehan goes on: “One explanation is that workers grew accustomed to going solo during the lockdowns and, once back in-office, felt uncomfortable interacting with colleagues and clients face-to-face. But, if so, surely surprise Zoom calls are much the same thing. Those who’d rather be left alone in the office treat desk-bombing as if it was some kind of HR issue or breach of contract”.
[hrgrapevine.com, 25 October 2022]

Sunday scaries noun [plural]
UK /ˌsʌn.deɪ ˈskeə.riz/ US /ˌsʌn.deɪ ˈsker.iz/
a feeling of stress or anxiety experienced by someone on a Sunday before they have to go back to work the next day after the weekend

Sunday is often a chance to catch up with friends, lost sleep, and recover from last night’s hangover. But for many of us, by the time Sunday afternoon rolls around, a feeling of intense anxiety and dread sets in – often referred to as the “Sunday scaries.” It’s hardly surprising the Sunday scaries are so common. After all, research shows Sunday is our unhappiest day of the week – with Saturday being the peak. There are a number of reasons why the Sunday scaries happen, and how you spend your weekend can play a big role.
[cnn.com, 14 August 2022]

quiet hiring noun [U]
UK /ˌkwaɪ.ət ˈhaɪə.rɪŋ/ US /ˌkwaɪ.ət ˈhaɪr.ɪŋ/
the activity of employing someone who already works in the company in a different role, often someone who is already doing many of the tasks that the new position demands

More specifically, Google is using an under-the-radar recruiting strategy of quiet hiring. It’s part of what enables it to identify the brightest minds (internally and externally) and place the best candidates into its open positions. And Google isn’t the only company that uses some form of quiet hiring. In fact, it’s a tried-and-true method that many businesses, large and small, employ.
[inc.com, 8 September 2022]

About new words

a yawning tabby kitten

Has the cat got your tongue? (How we talk, Part 2)

a yawning tabby kitten
Westend61/Westend61/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

My last ‘How we talk’ post focused on words used for people who talk a lot, including adjectives such as ‘talkative’ and ‘forthcoming’. This week, I’m looking at the opposite – words that we use for people who say very little. Continue reading “Has the cat got your tongue? (How we talk, Part 2)”

New words – 28 November 2022

lucigerma / iStock / Getty Images Plus

thermal tourism noun [U]
UK /ˌθɜː.mᵊl ˈtʊə.rɪ.zᵊm/ US /ˌθɝː.mᵊl ˈtʊr.ɪ.zᵊm/
travel to a warmer country to spend the winter months there in order to avoid the cold weather and higher heating bills in your own country

Tourism operators in Southern European countries are hoping to capitalise on cold winters and energy bills elsewhere on the continent by advertising their warmer climates as winter approaches. Destinations including Greece, southern Spain and the Canary Islands are taking advantage of “thermal tourism”, a trend in Britain for flying to cheaper, warmer climates to escape the winter and the cost of living crisis in the UK.
[independent.ie, 11 October 2022]

African plume noun [C]
/ˌæf.rɪ.kən ˈpluːm/
a long, thin mass of warm air that moves upwards from Africa, causing warmer weather in more northerly parts of the world

Parts of the UK could be in for a rare Indian summer this month – with temperatures rising as high as 22C. An “African plume” will push temperatures up across the country over the next two weeks, with some forecasters suggesting that the mild spell will last up to Halloween on October 31.
[mirror.co.uk, 17 October 2022]

warm bank noun [C]
UK /ˌwɔːm ˈbæŋk/ US /ˌwɔːrm ˈbæŋk/
a place such as a library, museum or other public building where someone can go to get warm in the winter if they cannot afford to heat their home, run as a public service by a town council, charity etc.

If you were in any doubt about the scale of the cost of living crisis devastating the UK, the fact councils and charities are preparing to open “warm banks” should tell you everything you need to know … The charity New Beginnings Reading is setting up Reading’s first warm bank this winter, hosted in an old refurbished pub. It will keep its heating on around the clock, and act as a social place where people can enjoy a hot drink and soup together.
[bigissue.com, 16 September 2022]

About new words

a photograph of two young people smiling and talking to each other, with a colourful, illustrated background showing a speech bubble

He could talk the hind legs off a donkey (How we talk, Part 1)

a photograph of two young people smiling and talking to each other, with a colourful, illustrated background showing a speech bubble
We Are/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

This week and next, I’m looking at ways to describe how much – or how little – we speak. There are lots of words (especially adjectives) in this area, with very different connotations, from chatty (=talking a lot in a friendly, informal way) to reserved (=tending not to talk about your feelings or opinions):

Jamie was his usual chatty self.

My grandfather was a quiet, rather reserved man.

This post will cover words and phrases that mean ‘talking a lot’ and Part 2 will deal with the opposite. Continue reading “He could talk the hind legs off a donkey (How we talk, Part 1)”

2022 Word of the Year

Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2022

2022 Word of the YearOnce again, it’s the time of year when the Cambridge Dictionary team looks back over the past twelve months to choose a word that represents what the dictionary, and what the English language, means to its users. This year’s word might surprise you, so read on to find out why the Word of the Year 2022 is… homer! Continue reading “Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2022”

a young woman looking thoughtful as she writes an essay - she has a notebook and laptop in front of her

Whereas, despite and nevertheless: ways to link ideas (1)

a young woman looking thoughtful as she writes an essay - she has a notebook and laptop in front of her
insta_photos/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

When we speak and write, it is important to show the link between different statements. For example, do we want to add information, contrast two ideas, or show that one thing is the reason for another? Of course it is possible to use very simple linking words such as and, but and so, but it is useful to have a wider range of linking words, particularly for formal or academic writing. Continue reading “Whereas, despite and nevertheless: ways to link ideas (1)”

Two businessmen looking at the financial paper with surprised expression

Hot air and bad blood (Idioms found in newspapers)

Two businessmen looking at the financial paper with surprised expression
GSO Images/The Image Bank/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Today’s post is a round-up of the idioms and phrases found in a range of national newspapers published on the same Sunday in October. I write one of these newspaper idioms posts every few months as a way of providing you with a regular supply of contemporary, frequently used English idioms. Continue reading “Hot air and bad blood (Idioms found in newspapers)”

a young man counting on his fingers and looking puzzled

At a rough guess: talking about approximate numbers and amounts

a young man counting on his fingers and looking puzzled
Koldunova_Anna/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

We often need to talk about amounts and numbers that are not exact, either because an exact figure isn’t needed or because we don’t know it. This post looks at some words and phrases for doing this. Continue reading “At a rough guess: talking about approximate numbers and amounts”

nine wooden blocks stacked in a square - eight are black and point right, and one is red and points left

Having second thoughts (Changing our minds, Part 2)

nine wooden blocks stacked in a square - eight are black and point right, and one is red and points left
Chaiyawat Sripimonwan/EyeEm/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In part 1 of this post (Changing our minds, Part 1), I looked at language that is often used to refer to people in positions of power changing their decisions or plans. This post continues the ‘changing your mind’ theme but instead focuses on the sort of language that is used when people more generally change their minds. Continue reading “Having second thoughts (Changing our minds, Part 2)”

a baseball player in a striped outfit hitting a baseball forcefully with a bat

Walloping, belting and clobbering: verbs for touching and hitting (2)

a baseball player in a striped outfit hitting a baseball forcefully with a bat
Randy Faris/The Image Bank/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

My last post looked at a range of verbs to talk about touching and hitting in a variety of contexts. This post focuses on hitting things and people with force. Continue reading “Walloping, belting and clobbering: verbs for touching and hitting (2)”