To put it another way: the language of explanations

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by Liz Walter

In this post, I am going to talk about the language of explaining, something we all have to do from time to time. Continue reading “To put it another way: the language of explanations”

Outlooks and forecasts (The language of predictions)

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by Kate Woodford

It’s February – still more or less the start of the year – and you may still be thinking about the months ahead and predicting what’s likely to happen. With this in mind, we’re looking today at the words and phrases that we use to say what we think will – or might – happen in the future. Continue reading “Outlooks and forecasts (The language of predictions)”

New words – 3 February 2020

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ghost gear noun [U]
UK /ˈgəʊst.gɪəʳ/ US /ˈgoʊst.gɪr/
fishing equipment, such as nets and lines, that is abandoned in the ocean and takes several hundred years to decompose, thus causing harm to sea life and the environment

Each year at least 640,000 tonnes of this “ghost gear” is left in our oceans – the equivalent of 52,000 London double decker buses and I’ve read devastating reports stating that over 817 species are trapped and killed under the surface by this litter. The ghost gear eventually breaks down into micro-plastics and can have a lasting effect on marine life for many years.
[www.huffpost.com, 27 December 2017]

seacuterie noun [U]
/siːˈkuːtəriː/
an assortment of cold fish and shellfish, cooked or prepared in different ways

We all love a good charcuterie board, but according to a new report from Waitrose, next year will see the rise of ‘seacuterie’ instead – using seafood instead of the traditional meat. Waitrose’s latest Food and Drink Report predicts a surge in popularity for this Australian-originated trend, which involves pickling, fermenting, smoking and/or ageing seafood. With dishes like octopus salami, shellfish sausages or swordfish ham available, it’s a new take on a beloved classic.
[www.goodhousekeeping.com, 7 November 2019]

tidewater architect noun [C]
UK /ˌtaɪd.wɔː.tər.ˈɑː.kɪ.tekt/ US /ˌtaɪd.wɑː.t̬ɚ.ˈɑːr.kə.tekt/
someone whose job is to plan and design parts of a town or city in way that protects them from rising tides as a result of climate change

Tidewater architects will be responsible for the planning and execution of projects that work with nature — not against it. Excellence in hydro-engineering, civil engineering and architectural design derived from the principles of moats, floats, super-dikes and wetlands is essential to this role.
[medium.com, 1 August 2019]

About new words

Let down and look after: the difference between phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs

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by Liz Walter

My colleague Kate Woodford and I have written many posts about phrasal verbs because students find them difficult but know they need to learn them. These posts often include prepositional verbs, and readers sometimes ask about this. Continue reading “Let down and look after: the difference between phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs”

Donating and allocating (Verbs that mean ‘give’)

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by Kate Woodford

This is the second part of a two-part blog post focusing on words meaning ‘give’. The first post looked at phrasal verbs with this meaning. Here, we look at single words in this area. Continue reading “Donating and allocating (Verbs that mean ‘give’)”

Clickbait and viral marketing: the language of advertising

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by Liz Walter

These days, most of us are targeted by adverts pretty much constantly, sometimes in obvious ways and sometimes more subtly. This post looks at the language around a phenomenon that many people would say is out of control. Continue reading “Clickbait and viral marketing: the language of advertising”

They gave him the cold shoulder: Idiomatic phrases with ‘cold’.

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by Liz Walter

Last month I looked at phrases containing the word ‘hot’, and this month I am looking at the opposite: phrases containing the word ‘cold’. Whereas ‘hot’ phrases are mostly concerned either with very good things or with strong emotions, ‘cold’ phrases are usually negative. We often use them to describe fear, unfriendliness or lack of emotion. Continue reading “They gave him the cold shoulder: Idiomatic phrases with ‘cold’.”

Give yourself a pat on the back! (The language of praising)

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by Kate Woodford

I thought our About Words readers might enjoy a positive post this week, so today I’m focusing on the language of praise – saying nice, positive things about someone or something. We’re looking at single words and phrases and, as ever, focusing on the sort of language that is in use now. Continue reading “Give yourself a pat on the back! (The language of praising)”

Christmas phrases

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by Kate Woodford

It’s Christmas! At Cambridge Dictionary, we like to get into the Christmas spirit so today, we’re bringing you festive phrases with a round-up of idioms that contain a word that we often associate with Christmas. Continue reading “Christmas phrases”

A frog in my throat: talking about voices

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by Liz Walter

The way someone speaks is very important, and often gives an indication of their character. It is therefore not surprising that we have a lot of words to describe the tone and timbre of voices. Continue reading “A frog in my throat: talking about voices”