New words – 27 August 2018

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shero noun [C]
UK /ˈʃɪə.rəʊ/ US /ˈʃɪr.oʊ/
a female hero, especially one who supports women’s issues

The COO of Facebook and a true shero, Sandberg is a mother, activist, author, speaker and leader … Through her book she conveys that women can be great mentors for each other … She believes that until women demand equality and power in all spheres, of which work is a very important part, the plight of women leaders will not change.
[www.theodysseyonline.com, 11 July 2016]

ladydata noun [U, C]
UK /ˈleɪ.di.ˌdeɪ.tə/ US /ˈleɪ.di.ˌdeɪ.t̬ə/
the results of an investigation into how any of the government’s proposed changes to the budget would affect women

And that’s one reason the Labour MP Stella Creasy has just launched a campaign for what she’s calling “ladydata” (and, yes, the name’s meant to be ironic). She wants the government to commit to running all its budget decisions through an independent assessment of their gender impact, which would publicly reveal any differences in the way they affect men and women.
[The Pool, 12 December 2017]

womenomics noun [U]
UK /ˌwɪm.ɪ.ˈnɒm.ɪks/ US /ˌwɪm.ɪ.ˈnɑː.mɪks/
the activities undertaken by a government to enable more women to enter the workforce, especially into high-level jobs

For those who have already decided that Japan’s “womenomics” movement is an empty promise, the Kanagawa Women’s Empowerment Support Group has plenty of ammunition. Its pink-toned website introduces a panel of movers and shakers aiming to promote female empowerment in Kanagawa prefecture in the coming year: 11 high-profile corporate leaders — and all 11 of them men.
[Financial Times, 8 March 2017]

About new words

New words – 13 August 2018

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koselig noun [U]
UK /ˈkəʊsᵊlɪ/ US /ˈkoʊsᵊlɪ/
a Norwegian word for a quality of cosiness that comes from doing simple things such as lighting candles, eating nice food or spending time with friends in a warm, comfortable place

Long, cold evenings are a perfect excuse for being koselig… It] means warm and generous and companionable and a hundred other nice things. It’s when cafés offer you a blanket or sheepskin so you can linger outside and watch the Northern Lights. Or shops are lit with candles. Or complete strangers in a ski hut share a flask of hot chocolate with you.
[The Telegraph, 5 January 2018]

plogging noun [U]
UK /ˈplɒg.ɪŋ/ US /ˈplɑː.gɪŋ/
an activity involving jogging and picking up litter at the same time, from the Swedish word for ‘pick up’ (plocka) and the English word ‘jogging’

Plogging isn’t just fun to say, though. It’s good for your body, good for your mind and good for the environment around you. It means you’re doing something good for yourself and something good for the world, all at the same time.
[www.metro.co.uk, 29 January 2018]

firgun noun [U]
UK /ˈfɪə.gʊn/ US /ˈfɪr.gʊn/
a Hebrew word for a feeling of happiness or pride in someone else’s success

So having “discovered” this new emotion in myself, I’ve spent the last number of weeks just noticing when it crops up in my daily life. I have noticed it is gentle and slow but has a significant bodily response and a quirky side. The people for whom I feel firgun are diverse and sometimes inexplicable. I feel firgun for the people closest to me but also people I barely know or only fleetingly come across.
[www.thejournal.ie, 28 May 2017]

About new words

Out of the blue (Words and phrases for unexpected events)

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by Kate Woodford

Many of the things that happen to us are expected or even planned but some are not. Some of these unexpected events are welcome while others are less so. In this post, we take a look at the words and phrases that we use to relate events that happen when we are least expecting them.

Starting with a really useful idiom, something that happens out of the blue is completely unexpected: Then one day, out of the blue, she announced she was leaving. Two very useful, less idiomatic, phrases with a similar meaning are all of a sudden and all at once. Both mean ‘suddenly and unexpectedly’: All of a sudden, she collapsed. / All at once there was a loud crashing noise.

Continue reading “Out of the blue (Words and phrases for unexpected events)”

New words – 30 April 2018

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goth latte noun [C]
UK /gɒθ.ˈlɑː.t̬eɪ/ US /gɑː.θ.ˈlɑː.t̬eɪ/
a latte (a hot drink made from espresso coffee and hot milk) that also contains charcoal, making it black in colour

Now, finally, there’s a coffee that truly speaks to our inner Morticia Addams: say hello to the goth latte … So why is everyone so obsessed with these darker-than-dark coffees? Well, they’re not just good for your Instagram profile, they could also be good for your gut, too.
[Stylist, 19 May 2017]

egg coffee noun [U, C]
UK /ˈeg.kɒf.i/ US /ˈeg.kɑː.fi/
a Vietnamese hot drink consisting of coffee mixed with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and sometimes butter or cheese

The egg coffee is sweet and frothy, much like having a custard on top of an espresso, but with no hint of egg. The coffee underneath is a familiar espresso, improbably warm while not melting the cloud of egg above it. The cup comes in a small bowl filled with warm water to maintain the coffee’s temperature.
[www.cnbc.com, 11 December 2017]

third-wave coffee noun [U]
UK /θɜːd.weɪv.ˈkɒf.i/ US /θɝːd.ˈweɪv.ˈkɑː.fi/
a trend in coffee retailing that emphasises a high-quality, sustainable product, often roasted and brewed using new techniques

The growth of third-wave coffee is an undeniably good thing, both for coffee lovers and coffee shop owners alike. Coffee’s place in our culinary landscape has been cemented as a legitimate culinary experience as opposed to a simple drink we consume in the morning. The 3rd wave created a market for coffee that entrepreneurs all around the country have tapped to make a living doing what they love — roasting, brewing and serving artisanal coffee.
[www.achillescoffeeroasters.com, 20 June 2017]

About new words

On the other hand… (Words which express a contrast)

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by Kate Woodford

You probably know the English expression on the one hand … on the other hand. It is used in the following way for comparing two opposing opinions or facts about something (note that just one half of the phrase is often used):

On the one hand, Maria has experience, but on the other hand, she doesn’t have the precise skills that we’re looking for.

I don’t really want any more work at the moment. On the other hand, I could use the extra money.

Continue reading “On the other hand… (Words which express a contrast)”

I love coffee/Would you like a coffee? Words that can be countable and uncountable

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by Liz Walter

In my last post I talked about why it is important to know whether words in English are countable or uncountable. However, I didn’t mention the fact that many words can be both countable and uncountable. This post discusses some of the reasons for this.

Continue reading “I love coffee/Would you like a coffee? Words that can be countable and uncountable”

1066 and all that: How to say years

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by Liz Walter

Being able to name a year is a pretty basic English skill, but there are a few things that can make it complicated, and there are a number of differences between British and American English.

Let’s start with the (relatively) easy ones. For years like 1345, 1682 or 1961, we say the first two and the second two digits as if they were single numbers: thirteen forty-five; sixteen eighty-two; nineteen sixty-one.

If the third digit is zero, there are two possible ways of saying the year:

1407: fourteen oh seven or fourteen hundred and seven

1901: nineteen oh one or nineteen hundred and one

Continue reading “1066 and all that: How to say years”

Make a splash! (Everyday idioms in newspapers)

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by Kate Woodford

Every few months on this blog, we read a selection of national newspapers published on the same day and pick out the idioms that we find in the articles and reports. We read the news, the gossip columns and the sports pages and, as with previous posts, include only the most frequent, up-to-date idioms. Continue reading “Make a splash! (Everyday idioms in newspapers)”

Hard Brexit, soft Brexit, grammar schools or renationalized railways? The UK general election.

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by Liz Walter

UK citizens are going to the polls on June 8th to choose their next government. Again.

Yes, we had a general election in 2015, and yes, in theory, we have a five-year fixed-term parliament, so really we should have waited until 2020. However, our Prime Minister, Theresa May, decided that it would be a good idea to call a snap election (one decided suddenly). Since this is a language blog, I won’t speculate on her reasons, but instead concentrate on the language being used in the campaign. Continue reading “Hard Brexit, soft Brexit, grammar schools or renationalized railways? The UK general election.”

Playing second fiddle (Everyday idioms in newspapers)

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by Kate Woodford

Every few months on this blog, we like to pick out the idioms that have been used in a range of national newspapers published on the same day. As with previous posts, we include only the most frequent idioms – in other words, the sort of idioms that you might read or hear in current English.

One tabloid newspaper reports that a television celebrity who used to be very concerned about what the public thought about her, at 49, ‘couldn’t give two hoots’. To not care/give two hoots about something is to not care at all. Another paper quotes a celebrity as saying that she and her husband are ‘not in each other’s pockets’ since they work away from home much of the time. If two people live or are in each other’s pockets, they are with each other all the time and depend on each other. The same paper describes the meeting of minds that sometimes happens in school lessons. A meeting of minds is a situation in which two or more people discover that they have the same opinion about something. Continue reading “Playing second fiddle (Everyday idioms in newspapers)”