What a nightmare! (Words for difficult situations)

by Kate Woodford

craftivision/E+/Getty

Whether we like it or not, we all have to deal with things that annoy us or cause difficulties and stress. Sadly, it is part of life. This post won’t stop you from having to deal with these things, but it will at least give you a range of words and phrases for talking about them in English!

Let’s start with some single words that refer to different types of problem. A predicament is a bad situation that is difficult to get out of: She’s trying to find a way out of her financial predicament.

A dilemma is a situation in which you have to make a difficult choice between two different things: Now he has been offered the other job, which puts him in a bit of a dilemma. Continue reading “What a nightmare! (Words for difficult situations)”

New words – 20 March 2017

PeopleImages/DigitalVision/Getty

cruffin noun [C] /ˈkrʌf.ɪn/
a kind of small cake that is shaped like a muffin but made of pastry layers like a croissant

The cruffin is a droolworthy hybrid rolled in sugar and filled with everything from coffee crème to passion-fruit curd.
[www.popsugar.com 14 October 2016]

piecaken noun [C/U] /paɪ.’keɪk.ən/
a pie baked inside a cake

When you just can’t choose between serving a pie or cake, satisfy your cravings for both with a piecaken! Whip up your favorite cake batter and throw in a pre-baked pie, and you’ll feel like a confectionery wizard in no time. 
[www.foodnetwork.ca 15 September 2016]

poke noun [U] UK /pəʊ.’keɪ/ US /poʊ.’keɪ/
a salad made with raw fish

If you live in any major U.S. city, you’ve probably caught wind of the nation’s new favorite food — the poke bowl. While it may seem like a new trend, this simple and addictive Hawaiian dish has been around for centuries.
[www.huffingtonpost.com 25 May 2016]

About new words

Phrasal verbs with more than one meaning

by Liz Walter

Michael Sutton/EyeEm/Getty

Phrasal verbs are often difficult to learn because they tend to be formed from fairly common verbs and particles. To make matters worse, many of them have more than one meaning, and some have many, many meanings – pick up has 24 senses in the Cambridge Phrasal Verbs Dictionary!

Look at these sentences with go out, for example:

Did you go out last night? (leave your home for a social activity)

The fire’s gone out. (stopped burning)

The tide will go out at around 6 today. (go away from the shore) Continue reading “Phrasal verbs with more than one meaning”

New words – 13 March 2017

Daniel Ingold/Cultura/Getty

immersive hybrid reality noun [U]
UK /ɪˈmɜː.sɪv ˌhaɪ.brɪd riˈæl.ə.ti/ US /ɪˈmɝː.sɪv ˌhaɪ.brɪd riˈæl.ə.t̬i/
a set of images and sounds, produced by a computer, that seem to represent a workplace environment

Experts in construction and computer technology at Heriot-Watt University have developed a ground-breaking immersive hybrid reality (iHR) system which aims to take the danger out of extreme working conditions. 
[www.designingbuildings.co.uk 24 October 2016]

microlattice noun [U] UK /ˈmaɪ.krəʊ.læt.ɪs/ US /ˈmaɪ.kroʊ.læt̬.ɪs/
a very light, thin structure made from strips of metal that cross over each other with spaces in between

A metal microlattice developed by Boeing and HRL Laboratories has just been awarded the Guinness World Record for lightest metal. 
[www.archdaily.com 09 November 2016]

VEST noun [C] /vest/
abbreviation for Versatile Extra Sensory Transducer: a garment that transmits data and enables the wearer to receive it through their sense of touch

Imagine if you couldn’t hear with your ears but could through your skin. Well, Dr Scott Novich and Dr David Eagleman of NeoSensory set out to achieve just that and their Versatile Extra-Sensory Transducer (VEST) is bringing hearing to deaf people .
[www.redbull.com 14 November 2016]

About new words

I feel so bad! (The language of feeling guilty)

by Kate Woodford

Diane Caudill/EyeEm/Getty
Diane Caudill/EyeEm/Getty

From time to time, we all do things that upset other people and we regret it. In other words, we all suffer from guilt.

Guilt is, of course, a bad feeling and one of the ways that we try to get it out of our system (= get rid of it) is to tell others about what we have done and how bad we feel. This week we’re looking at the words and phrases that we use to talk about feeling guilty.

One of the most common ways to describe feeling guilty is the simple phrase to feel bad:

I felt bad because I knew I’d let them down.

Knowing how much I hurt her makes me feel really bad. Continue reading “I feel so bad! (The language of feeling guilty)”

New words – 6 March 2017

PeopleImages/DigitalVision/Getty
PeopleImages/DigitalVision/Getty

ambient wellness noun [U] /ˌæm.bi.ənt ˈwel.nəs/
a state of improved health deliberately created by a company’s products and processes

Rising numbers will now expect brands to embed innovative health-boosting technologies into the environment around them. These ambient wellness initiatives should help offset damage to health and wellness – or even produce entirely new, health-positive effects (often with zero effort required).
[www.trendwatching.com April 2016]

clean sleeping noun [U] /ˌkliːn ˈsliː.pɪŋ/
the practice of getting enough good quality sleep in order to improve or maintain one’s health

The lifestyle I lead is based not just on clean eating, but also on clean sleeping: at least seven or eight hours of good quality sleep — and ideally even ten. 
[www.dailymail.co.uk 18.12.2016]

sage-smudge verb [T] /ˈseɪdʒ ˌsmʌdʒ/
to burn sage in a room in order to purify it and remove negative energy

When … Gabrielle Savoie first spotted sage bundles in Jenni Kayne’s chic Southampton, New York, store, it immediately piqued her interest. “Maybe it was when my friend—who works for a renowned high-end interior designer—told me they sage-smudged their clients’ homes after each install,” she wrote. 
[www.dailymail.co.uk 18.12.2016]

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All, both, and everyone: How to use pronouns (2)

by Liz Walter

Judit Grosz/EyeEm/Getty
Judit Grosz/EyeEm/Getty

In my last post I looked mainly at personal pronouns such as he, them and yours. This post looks at some other common pronouns and at errors that students often make with them.

I’ll begin with the set most closely related to those we looked at last time – the reflexive pronouns myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves. These are used when the person or thing affected by the action is the same person or thing that is doing the action.

I bought myself a new phone.

Clara looked at herself in the mirror. Continue reading “All, both, and everyone: How to use pronouns (2)”

New words – 27 February 2017

bubaone/DigitalVision/Getty
bubaone/DigitalVision/Getty

conversational commerce noun [U]
UK /kɒn.vəˌseɪ.ʃən.əl ˈkɒm.ɜːs/ US /kɑːn.vɚˌseɪ.ʃən.əl ˈkɑː.mɝːs/
direct conversations between people and companies or services using technology such as apps

Echo is part of the new wave of conversational commerce technologies, where the use of messaging, digital assistants, chat apps, or question-and-answer dialogue makes it possible for people to simply ask for what they need. 
[www.venturebeat.com 28 July 2016]

the internet of everything noun [S]
UK /ˌɪn.tə.net əv ˈev.ri.θɪŋ/ US /ˌɪn.t̬ɚ.net əv ˈev.ri.θɪŋ/
the interaction between people, data, machines, communications and interactions using a system of linked devices

The internet of everything in both the consumer and B2B market will continue to rise, especially in North America, connecting data, things, processes and people. 
[www.forbes.com 31 August 2016]

Whatsapp diplomacy noun [U]
UK /wɒt.ˈsæp dɪˌpləʊ.mə.si/ US /wɑːtˈsæp dɪˌploʊ.mə.si/
the use of the Whatsapp messaging service in international diplomacy to communicate and build relationships

The rise of WhatsApp diplomacy is transforming the negotiating chamber. There are countless groups of allies and virtual huddles, exchanges over policy statements and fine print, and fair amounts of banter and even emojis.
[The Guardian 04 November 2016]

About new words

Sorry to butt in! (Phrasal verbs that describe ways of speaking)

by Kate Woodford

Jenni Holma/Moment/Getty
Jenni Holma/Moment/Getty

This week we’re looking at the many phrasal verbs in English that refer to ways of speaking and the sort of things that people do in conversation.

The adverb ‘on’ has a sense which is ‘continuing or not stopping’. Accordingly, there are a few informal phrasal verbs containing ‘on’ that are used for speaking a lot and not stopping. For example, if someone goes on, they annoy you by talking about one subject for too long:

I know she did well in her exams – I just wish she’d stop going on about it!

He went on and on about his new job.  Continue reading “Sorry to butt in! (Phrasal verbs that describe ways of speaking)”

New words – 20 February 2017

Anastasiia_M/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Anastasiia_M/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Calexit noun [U] /kæl.’ek.sɪt/
an exit by the state of California from the United States of America

Californians would need to pass an amendment to the US Constitution, which requires the blessings of the other 49 states. The measure would also survey voters on whether a “Calexit” is something that interests them.
[Business Insider 21.11.2016]

Bremoaner noun [C] UK /brə.’məʊn.ə/ US /brə.’moʊn.ɚ/
someone who complains about Britain’s exit from the European Union

Anybody asking questions about our future relationship with our biggest trading partner is dismissed as a Bremoaner. I have been called worse in my time. 
[www.dailymail.co.uk 30.10.2016]

democracy sausage noun [C] UK /dɪˈmɒk.rə.si ˈsɒs.ɪdʒ/ US /dɪˈmɑː.krə.si ˈsɑː.sɪdʒ/
a sausage cooked on a barbecue and served on bread, sold at polling booths on election day in Australia

A humble barbequed sausage on a slice of bread sold at polling booths around Australia has been picked as the country’s official word of the year — “democracy sausage.”
[www.apnews.com 14.12.2016]

About new words