close up photograph of a small coin purse full of Euro notes and coins

Spendthrifts and skinflints (The language of how we spend)

close up photograph of a small coin purse full of Euro notes and coins
Kinga Krzeminska/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Would you describe yourself as careful with money or are you a big spender? Today’s post considers the language we use to talk about our money habits. Continue reading “Spendthrifts and skinflints (The language of how we spend)”

an aerial photograph of a river meandering through a dense forest

New words – 26 December 2022

an aerial photograph of a river meandering through a dense forest
FG Trade / E+ / Getty

space brolly noun [C]
UK /ˈspeɪs ˌbrɒl.i/ US /ˈspeɪs ˌbrɑː.li/
a type of antenna in the shape of an umbrella that can measure Earth’s forests from space and collect information on the extent to which they are being destroyed

It looks for all the world like a giant brolly, but there’s no rain where it’s going. This immense reflector-antenna is heading into space, to “weigh” Earth’s forests. When unfurled, the space brolly’s 12m by 15m wire-mesh membrane will be part of a very special P-band radar system. It can look past the leaf canopy of forests to map the woody parts below.
[, 23 August 2022]

energy-positive adjective
UK /ˌen.ə.dʒiˈpɒz.ə.tɪv/ US /ˌen.ɚ.dʒiˈpɑː.zə.t̬ɪv/
An energy-positive building generates more energy than it uses.

Powerhouse Brattørkaia by Snøhetta, an Oslo-based architecture and interior design firm, has the goal of becoming the world’s northernmost energy-positive building and to set a new standard for the construction of the buildings of tomorrow, one that produces more energy than it consumes over its lifespan, including construction and demolition.
[, 6 February 2022]

parking barn noun [C]
UK /ˈpɑː.kɪŋ ˌbɑːn/ US /ˈpɑːr.kɪŋ ˌbɑːrn/
a type of car park for residents in a housing development where the aim is to discourage them from using their car for short journeys

New eco-homes planned in Oxfordshire will provide residents with a communal working space to help them cut the carbon footprint of driving into the office. The 180 homes will also require almost no heating or cooling because of the levels of energy efficiency. Homes will not have more than one allotted car parking space, but instead have the use of a “parking barn”, in order to “make residents think twice” about using their car.
[, 24 September 2022]

About new words

two hikers checking directions, their heads and bodies hidden behind a large paper map

Is this the way? Using the word ‘way’ (1)

two hikers checking directions, their heads and bodies hidden behind a large paper map
Peter Cade/Stone/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

According to the Cambridge International Corpus, we use the word way 848 times in every million words, making it extremely common (by contrast, method comes up 65 times per million). Continue reading “Is this the way? Using the word ‘way’ (1)”

a young man in a sunhat stepping out of a plane

New words – 19 December 2022

a young man in a sunhat stepping out of a plane
izusek / E+ / Getty

place lag noun [U]
/ˈpleɪs ˌlæg/
a feeling of surprise and slight confusion that people experience after making a long journey by plane and arriving in a place that is strange and new

The pilot and writer Mark Vanhoenacker has coined the expression “place lag” to describe the wonder of arriving at new locales after a long flight. Parallel to jet lag and its time difference, the temporary spatial disjuncture between the familiarity of home and the unfamiliarity of elsewhere, enabled through the speed of air travel, can reset one’s perspective on the world.
[, 18 October 2022]

trip stacking noun [U]
/ˈtrɪp ˌstækɪŋ/
the activity of booking more than one holiday for the same time period in case one has to be cancelled, for example because of new travel restrictions

Basically, trip stacking refers to the strategy of booking all your reservations ― from flights to accommodations to restaurants to activities ― for multiple vacations during the same time frame. That way, you have backup options if something disrupts your primary travel plans.
[, 22 April 2022]

regenerative tourism noun [U]
UK /rɪˌdʒen.ə.rə.tɪv ˈtʊə.rɪ.zəm/ US /rɪˌdʒen.ə.rə.t̬ɪv ˈtʊr.ɪ.zəm/
the activity of going on holiday to a particular destination and making a positive impact on the place and the people who live there

By definition, regenerative tourism is “the idea that tourists should leave a place in better condition than it was before.” For example, it would be like visiting a garden and instead of leaving no trace, each person planted a tree or air-purifying plant to further build the environment rather than simply leaving it status quo. In a way, regenerative tourism involves travelers to be active in their acts of sustainability rather than neutral, providing a better future for places that do fall victim to overtourism.
[, 12 July 2022]

About new words

one little girl pointing at another girl in messy room

Telltales and fidgets (Words that we use for children)

one little girl pointing at another girl in messy room

by Kate Woodford

In a supermarket last week, I heard a mother telling her child not to be naughty. Naughty is, of course, a word usually used for (badly behaved) children rather than adults. It made me think about other words that we use mainly for children, and I thought the subject would make an interesting post. Continue reading “Telltales and fidgets (Words that we use for children)”

a wooden serving board spread with butter and decorated with raspberries, figs, and honey, surrounded by pieces of bread

New words – 12 December 2022

a wooden serving board spread with butter and decorated with raspberries, figs, and honey, surrounded by pieces of bread
StephanieFrey / iStock / Getty Images Plus

butter board noun [C]
UK /ˈbʌt.ə ˌbɔːd/ US /ˈbʌt̬.ɚ ˌbɔːrd/
a wooden board spread generously with butter and topped with other foods, such as herbs, spices, fruit, sauces, etc.

If you’ve ever put together a charcuterie board, you know it usually costs a small fortune to buy all the fixings. Luckily, that’s not the case with a butter board. The simple ingredients make it a much more affordable option that still packs a punch and will leave your guests feeling just as satisfied.
[, 13 October 2022]

sourfaux noun [U]
UK /ˈsaʊə.fəʊ/ US /ˈsaʊr.foʊ/
bread that is labelled “sourdough” by the shop that sells it but actually contains cheaper ingredients and is made in a way that takes less time

Sourfaux, sold as sourdough, contains extra ingredients, such as yeast, ascorbic acid and yoghurt and vinegar. While these are not necessarily bad for you or unhealthy, it is misleading. When you are buying something, you should get what you pay for. Particularly when some of the supermarkets are charging a premium for that product. The Real Bread Campaign group says it wants to see a legal definition of the terms “sourdough” or “artisan bread”, so stores cannot “misinterpret” them.
[, 11 April 2022]

cloud bread noun [U]
/ˈklaʊd ˌbred/
a very light, sweet food, made by mixing egg whites with sugar and cornflour, then forming the mixture into round shapes and baking

First up, cloud bread isn’t actually bread at all – made of just 3 ingredients, egg whites, sugar and corn starch, it’s more soft baked meringue than loaf of bread. Essentially, don’t try to slice this up and stick slices of cheese between it.
[, 18 May 2022]

About new words

a young man writing in a library, with a notebook, laptop and textbooks in front of him

Moreover, consequently and therefore: ways to link ideas (2)

a young man writing in a library, with a notebook, laptop and textbooks in front of him
fizkes/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

My last post looked at linkers that express the contrast between ideas. This post covers linkers for adding extra information, showing the reason for something, and showing things in sequence. Continue reading “Moreover, consequently and therefore: ways to link ideas (2)”

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”.
[, 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.
[, 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.
[, 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

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.
[, 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.
[, 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.
[, 16 September 2022]

About new words