New words – 22 May 2017

SamuelBrownNG/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty

sensitivity reader noun [C]
UK /ˌsen.sɪˈtɪv.ə.ti.riː.dəʳ/ US /ˌsen.səˈtɪv.ə.t̬i.riː.dɚ/
someone who reads a book not yet published in order to check the content for anything that may offend certain groups of people

It’s not clear that authors are equally free to ignore the censoriousness of “sensitivity readers”, to whom some American editors are currently sending unpublished work for review.
[The Observer, 19 February 2017]

breath coach noun [C]
UK /ˈbreθˌkəʊtʃ/ US /ˈbreθˌkoʊtʃ/
someone who you pay to give you advice about how to breathe correctly

I am lying on the floor with one hand on my belly, which I am trying to inflate like a balloon as I breathe in. I inhale through my mouth, try to send the air right down to my abdomen, exhale, then repeat. “Now connect each breath, like a wave,” instructs … my breath coach.
[The Times, 4 February 2017]

wine detective noun [C]
/ˈwaɪn.dɪˌtek.tɪv/
someone whose job is to prove that wine is counterfeit

While Mr Moulin’s official job title is “fine wine and authentication manager”, he is in fact BBR’s head wine detective, tasked with preventing any counterfeit bottles entering the facility.
[BBC News, 30 March 2017]

About new words

He doesn’t pull any punches. (The language of telling the truth)

elinedesignservices/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty

by Kate Woodford

Most of us have mixed feelings about honesty. On the one hand, we think it a very good thing. We raise our children to be honest and we look for honesty in our adult relationships. However, most of us also recognise that in some situations, honesty is not so desirable and, in fact, can sometimes cause great offence. It is for this reason that words and phrases for speaking the truth can often be used in different ways. The same word or phrase can sometimes be neutral (=not negative and not positive), sometimes disapproving and at other times, even admiring. Continue reading “He doesn’t pull any punches. (The language of telling the truth)”

New words – 15 May 2017

DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty

neo-generalist noun [C]
UK /niː.əʊˈdʒen.ᵊr.ᵊl.ɪst/ US /niː.oʊˈdʒen.ᵊr.ᵊl.ɪst/
an employee who has both general and specialist skills

First know that neo-generalists have always been here. We just have failed to recognize them. In a society that focuses on one skill or talent, all too often we miss those who criss-cross varying degrees of skills and talents in multiple realms.
[www.medium.com, 7 February 2017]

returnship noun [C]
UK /rɪˈtɜːn.ʃɪp/ US /rɪˈtɝːn.ʃɪp/
a period of time during which someone works for a company or organization in order to get experience of returning to employment after taking time off

And her placement wasn’t a graduate traineeship but a “returnship”: a paid position aimed at bringing women like her – who were once senior in the workplace but have taken significant breaks to raise children or care for elderly relatives – back into employment.
[Telegraph, 23 January 2017]

supertasker noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.pə.tɑːs.kəʳ/ US /ˈsuː.pɚ.tæs.kɚ/
someone who is very good at doing more than one thing at the same time

Supertaskers can juggle multiple tasks because their brains are wired for more efficiency. It would be a mistake to think that more brain activity always means better. The more they had to do, the more efficient they became.
[www.bbc.com/future, 13 February 2017]

About new words

We agree but she agrees: the importance of subject-verb agreement

Szymon Migaj/EyeEm/Getty

by Liz Walter

One of the most common errors students make is to miss the ‘s’ from verbs after he, she or it:

Maria likes pizza.

Maria like pizza.

Of course, people will still understand you if you make this mistake, but you would lose marks for it in an English exam.

This sort of error is called an agreement error. Every normal sentence has a subject (in this case Maria) and a verb (like). The form of the verb depends on who or what the subject is. First, you need to think about whether the subject is singular or plural: Continue reading “We agree but she agrees: the importance of subject-verb agreement”

New words – 8 May 2017

Xavier Arnau/E+/Getty

roamer noun [C]
UK /ˈrəʊm.əʳ/ US /ˈroʊm.ɚ/
someone who moves from one country to another to live and work

A new breed of traveller is, today, heading abroad to find better careers, more intellectual stimulation or simply more adventure … they’re happy to move from country to country in pursuit of personal or professional goals. Let us introduce you to the roamers.
[easyJet Traveller, February 2017]


champing noun [U]
/ˈtʃæm.pɪŋ/
a type of camping that involves sleeping in a church that is not being used. The word is a mixture of ‘church’ and ‘camping’.

Whereas glamping once reigned supreme, champing is now the latest craze.
[Daily Mail, 7 January 2017]

sight-doing noun [U]
/ˈsaɪt.duː.ɪŋ/
doing activities when on holiday, especially those that involve taking part in local culture

Now sight-doing (cultural immersion through local experiences) is a higher priority than sight-seeing (typically, group tours of historical landmarks), and travel companies are on the case to reflect that.
[Elle, January 2017]

About new words

Deal with it! (Phrasal verbs for managing problems)

raffaelemontillo/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Kate Woodford

Earlier this month we focused on phrasal verbs that are used to describe problems and difficult situations. This week, we’re turning our attention to phrasal verbs that describe what we do in difficult situations. Deal with is one of the most common phrasal verbs in this area. If you deal with a problem, you take action that will solve it: When problems arise, it’s best to deal with them immediately. Get round (US get around) is another. If you get round a problem, you succeed in solving it, often by avoiding it: I’m sure we can find a way to get round the problem.  / We can always get around the problem of space by building an extension. The phrasal verbs sort out and work out are also used with the meaning of ‘take action that solves a problem’: It was a useful meeting – we sorted out quite a few problems. / It’s a tricky situation, but I’m sure we’ll work it out in the end. Continue reading “Deal with it! (Phrasal verbs for managing problems)”

New words – 1 May 2017

Tom Merton/Caiaimage/Getty
Chief Happiness Officer noun [C]
UK /tʃiːf.ˈhæp.i.nəsˌɒf.ɪ.səʳ/ US /tʃiːfˈhæp.i.nəsˌɑː.fɪ.sɚ/
someone whose job is to ensure that employees of a particular company are happy and fulfilled

Chief Happiness Officer is perhaps the most controversial job title in business. To some, it’s a sign that employee engagement is finally being taken seriously. To others, it signals an unwelcome move towards employers tinkering with our emotions at work.
[www.engageforsuccess.org, 13.10.2016]

funsultant noun [C]
/fʌnˈsʌl.tᵊnt/
someone who advises employees on how to make the company a more fun place to work

In The Wellness Syndrome … we took a look at the increasing fascination with happiness at work. We found a growing industry of “funsultants” offering advice on how to make workforces more positive.
[The Guardian, 12.12.2016]

vibe manager noun [C]
UK /ˈvaɪb.mæn.ɪ.dʒəʳ/ US /ˈvaɪb.mæn.ɪ.dʒɚ/
someone whose job is to create a good atmosphere in the workplace

Kerry Robinson has worked extensively in the start-up world – at Airbnb, Crowdsurfing, Soundcloud and Headspace – as a self-styled ‘vibe manager’. That means she uses any tool she can – from food and yoga to parties and funky settings – to maintain a positive mindset inside the organisation and make sure people are enjoying their time at work.
[www.worktechacademy.com, 16.09.2016]

About new words

Sweltering, torrential and gusty: interesting words for talking about weather.

by Liz Walter

Paulien Tabak/EyeEm/Getty

Most students learn words for weather quite early in their studies. It’s easy to stick with well-known phrases such as sunny day or heavy rain, but there is a lot of more interesting vocabulary associated with the weather, as you would expect for one of the world’s favourite topics of conversation! In this post, I offer some suggestions for expanding your range of weather vocabulary.

Let’s start with temperature. Very hot weather can be described as scorching, sweltering or boiling. If it is the kind of heat that makes you feel as if you can’t breathe, it is stifling or oppressive. At the other end of the scale, we can describe very cold weather as freezing, bitter or even bone-chilling if we find it unpleasant. Wintry weather is also cold, but this is not necessarily a negative description – it can be used for a pleasant snowy or icy day. In between these two extremes, mild is a positive adjective for weather that is not particularly hot but not too cold either. Continue reading “Sweltering, torrential and gusty: interesting words for talking about weather.”

New words – 24 April 2017

Shestock/Blend Images/Getty Images

heartfulness noun [U]
UK /ˈhɑːt.fᵊl.nəs/ US /ˈhɑːrt.fᵊl.nəs/
a type of meditation that involves being aware of your heart, thought to create a feeling of calm

Heartfulness is a simple and effective way to integrate meditation into our daily life. The heartfulness technique shows us to gently turn our attention towards our heart and experience that inner presence for ourselves.
[www.active.com, 03.01.2017]

gratitude journal noun [C]
UK /ˈgræt.ɪ.tʃuːdˌdʒɜː.nᵊl/ US /ˈgræt̬.ə.tuːdˌdʒɝː.nᵊl/
a written record of good things that have happened each day

This isn’t an ordinary diary, but my gratitude journal. I don’t record the seasons or churn through my feelings for profound conclusions. Each night, just before bed, I simply write a list of the three most wonderful things that have happened in the last 24 hours.
[Sunday Telegraph, 21.01.2017]

Buddha diet noun [U]
UK /ˈbʊd.əˌdaɪ.ət/ US /ˈbʊd.əˌdaɪ.ət/
a type of eating plan in which someone eats only during a nine-hour period each day and not at any other time, in order to lose body weight

A new concept from California based on ancient principles in which monks confined eating to a nine-hour window, the Buddha diet is supposed to help you get back in tune with your natural hunger cycle, rather than succumb to constant snacking.
[Metro, 19.01.2017]

About new words

I messed up! (Phrasal verbs for problems)

by Kate Woodford

Bjorn Vinter/UpperCut Images/Getty

Last month we focused on words and phrases that are used to describe problems and difficult situations. This week we’re looking specifically at phrasal verbs in this area. In a week or so, we’ll look at a group of phrasal verbs that describe how we deal with these situations. (Did you see what I did there?)

The machines that we use in daily life can cause problems for us and when they do, we often describe the problem with a phrasal verb. If a machine or vehicle breaks down, it stops working: Her car broke down on the way to work. If a machine or engine cuts out, it suddenly stops working: Without any warning, the engine just cut out. Meanwhile, if a piece of equipment plays up, it doesn’t work as it should: Ah, my laptop’s playing up again! You can also describe a part of the body as ‘playing up’, meaning that it is hurting or not functioning as it should. (In this sense, ‘play up’ can be transitive as well as intransitive in British English.): His knee’s been playing (him) up again. Lastly, a computer system that goes down stops working for a period: The computers went down and we were unable to work for three hours. Continue reading “I messed up! (Phrasal verbs for problems)”