I wouldn’t trust them an inch: talking about people you don’t trust

Seamind Panadda/EyeEm/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

In my last post, I presented some words and phrases to describe people who are loyal and who you can trust. Today’s post deals with the opposite. Continue reading “I wouldn’t trust them an inch: talking about people you don’t trust”

New words – 20 September 2021

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immunity debt noun [U]
UK /ɪˈmjuː.nə.ti.det/ US /ɪˈmjuː.nə.t̬i.det/
the situation where people have been avoiding exposure to the Covid-19 virus and have therefore not developed immunity to other viruses, causing larger, more serious outbreaks of illness later

New Zealand hospitals are experiencing the payoff of “immunity debt” created by Covid-19 lockdowns, with wards flooded by babies with a potentially-deadly respiratory virus, doctors have warned … The “immunity debt” phenomenon occurs because measures like lockdowns, hand-washing, social distancing and masks are not only effective at controlling Covid-19. They also suppress the spread of other illnesses that transmit in a similar way, including the flu, common cold, and lesser-known respiratory illnesses like RSA.
[theguardian.com, 8 July 2021]

pingdemic noun [C usually singular]
the situation where a very large number of people have received an alert on their phone telling them that they must self-isolate as they have been in contact with someone who has Covid-19, causing problems for businesses and services as they cannot go to work

With case numbers rising sharply in England as restrictions are lifted, the country has seen what has been dubbed as a “pingdemic”, with hundreds of thousands of people told to stay at home after being deemed to have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
[standard.co.uk, 28 July 2021]

vaccine nationalism noun [U]
the situation where a country tries to buy supplies of a vaccine before or instead of other, usually poorer, countries

This “vaccine nationalism,” in which countries prioritize their domestic needs at the expense of others, may have helped accelerate efforts to develop such drugs, but it is already showing its limits. With wealthy countries claiming the lion’s share of prospective doses for themselves, and with global efforts to equalize vaccine distribution facing enduring unilateralism and limited resources, a coronavirus vaccine returning the world to something resembling “normal” could take considerable time—perhaps even longer than it needs to.
[theatlantic.com, 8 December 2020]

About new words

Shrinking violets and tall poppies (Idioms with nature words, part 1)

Ana Maria Serrano/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Like many people, I spent a good deal of 2020 out in nature, walking my dog along the local stream and through the woods. Surrounded by trees, hedges, and flowers, I started to think about all the nature idioms and phrases that we use. This week, we’re looking specifically at flower-related idioms. (By the way, if anyone wants to identify the flowers in these idioms, there are pretty photos at most of our dictionary entries for them.) Continue reading “Shrinking violets and tall poppies (Idioms with nature words, part 1)”

New words – 13 September 2021

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vitamin S noun [U]
UK /ˌvɪt.ə.mɪn.ˈes/ US /ˌvaɪ.t̬ə.mɪn.ˈes/
social contact with other people, considered to be as good for your health as the vitamins in food

Someone looking for a quick infusion of vitamin S “could go outside and try to just have one-on-one contact with other people; go to a park, sit on a bench … Why not prepare a cup of coffee? Bring that coffee with you when you go outside, and look for a bench in the park. And before you know it, with an open attitude you’re likely to have some interaction”.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 27 March 2021]

social hangover noun [C]
UK /ˌsəʊ.ʃᵊl.ˈhæŋˌəʊ.vəʳ/ US /ˌsoʊ.ʃᵊl.ˈhæŋˌoʊ.vɚ/
a feeling of tiredness and slight illness after meeting and spending time with friends and family, especially after lockdown

The way to balance everything and minimise the social hangover will be to gradually test your capabilities. It’s important to get out there and have as much fun and social activity as you can, until you’re tired. Then we keep a bit of time for recovery, before getting out there and doing it all again. The reason we have to push sometimes is that becoming avoidant of situations is a very real possibility when trying to minimise social hangovers.
[www.gq-magazine.co.uk, 16 May 2021]

vertical drinking noun [U]
UK /ˌvɜː.tɪ.kᵊl.ˈdrɪŋ.kɪŋ/ US /ˌvɝː.t̬ə.kᵊl.ˈdrɪŋ.kɪŋ/
drinking while standing at a bar rather than seated at a table

Fears that Scotland’s pubs would not be able to allow vertical drinking were squashed by Scottish Government officials yesterday … Scotland’s National Clinical Director confirmed to the BBC that drinking at the bar would be allowed and he suggested that clubbers would not be required to wear masks, although he did advise pubs to consider table service or other measures if overcrowding was likely to be an issue.
[dramscotland.co.uk, 4 August 2021]

About new words

As good as your word: Talking about trust and loyalty


by Liz Walter

This post looks at words and phrases connected with the question of trust. I’ll start with ways of talking about people you are certain will keep their promises. You can depend on, rely on or count on them to do what they say they will do:

I know I can depend on Patrick to keep the business running while I’m away.

If you stand for election, you can count on me to support you! Continue reading “As good as your word: Talking about trust and loyalty”

New words – 6 September 2021

Kelly Anderson / EyeEm / Getty

cardening noun [U]
UK /ˈkɑː.dən.ɪŋ/ US /ˈkɑːr.dən.ɪŋ/
the activity of growing and looking after plants inside your car

Cardening is exactly what you think it is – gardening in cars … From planting up the glove compartment area with succulents to hanging plants instead of a car freshener, these mini gardens really push the boundaries of indoor gardening ideas. Technically, there’s nothing wrong with cardening where the plants are concerned. If your car is typically parked in a sunny spot, cacti and succulents will do just fine in there.
[realhomes.com, 25 May 2021]

moon tree noun [C]
a tree grown from a seed that was taken to the Moon in 1971 by one of the astronauts in the Apollo 14 space mission

The subsequent transplanting of the moon trees was a jubilant mess. Some were installed on the grounds of historic buildings, including the White House; others took root in neighborhoods—in front of a public library, a junior high, a hospital, a cemetery. Most were left unmarked, destined to flourish anonymously, far outliving the astronauts who first brought them into the skies.
[orionmagazine.org, 9 July 2021]

hortpreneur noun [C]
UK /ˌhɔː.t.prəˈnɜːʳ/ US /ˌhɔːr.t̬.prəˈnɝː/
a professional gardener who earns money through activities such as advertising a company’s products, appearing on TV, attending events etc.

For hortpreneur Michael Perry, plants are everything. He goes by the moniker Mr Plant Geek and recently listed in The Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world. He also wears the Influencer of the Year crown bestowed upon him by the UK’s Garden Media Guild. He is also ‘that friendly bloke’ the audience so readily connects with on daytime television, radio gardening shows, podcasts, and every single social media platform to the everyday gardener at home.
[aiph.org, 1 March 2021]

About new words

girl reading a book lying on the grass

Getting lost in books: the language of reading


by Kate Woodford

I was lucky enough to be on holiday last week and spent a portion of it with my nose in a book (=reading). It made me think about all the nice reading-related language that we use, and I thought I’d share it with you in today’s blog post. Continue reading “Getting lost in books: the language of reading”

New words – 30 August 2021

Jozef Durok / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus

aire noun [C]
UK /eəʳ/ US /er/
a piece of land where you are allowed to park a motorhome and stay overnight

Scotland appears to be making preparations for a boost in home tourism with plans for an ‘aires’ network for motorhomes. According to a recent BBC report, ‘Highland Council has proposed creating a site which would accommodate up to 30 vehicles in North Kessock on the Black Isle, near Inverness.’ … Black Isle councillor Gordon Adam said ‘that it was hoped that an aires system could be in place for next year’s tourist season’.
[practicalmotorhome.com, 17 November 2020]

flexcation noun [C]
a holiday during which parents spend some of the time working from home and children are homeschooled, allowing the family to go away for a longer period than usual and at a time of year when they would not normally be able to go on holiday

With more flexible work and school arrangements, many families are embracing the idea of a “flexcation,” an emerging travel trend where families rent vacation homes later in August, September and October, consider staying longer to mix work and play, and often get better value in high-demand locales. If you missed out on your annual summer trip this year or just want to take advantage of more flexibility in your work and school routine, consider a flexcation.
[vrbo.com, 2021]

midweeker noun [C]
UK /ˌmɪdˈwiːkəʳ/ US /ˌmɪdˈwiːkɚ/
a short holiday taken during the week and not over a weekend

You need three elements for a romantic midweeker: a lovely hotel, ideally with foodie credentials, perhaps a spa; interesting independent shops; and beautiful scenery. The Cotswolds, basically. The quintessential posh weekender returns to its slower self between Monday and Thursday.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 15 July 2021]

About new words

Delusions of grandeur: talking about people with a high opinion of themselves

Deagreez/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

My last post talked about words for describing levels of confidence.  This post looks specifically at some of the colourful derogatory phrases to describe people who are over-confident or have a very high opinion of themselves. Continue reading “Delusions of grandeur: talking about people with a high opinion of themselves”

New words – 23 August 2021

Ariel Skelley / DigitalVision / Getty

volunteercation noun [C]
UK /ˌvɒl.ənˈtɪə.ˈkeɪ.ʃᵊn/ US /ˌvɑː.lənˈtɪr.ˈkeɪ.ʃᵊn/
a holiday spent doing volunteer work

With foreign travel prospects still uncertain and lockdown easing postponed, UK-based “volunteercations” are on the rise. Experts are predicting a summer of volunteering – especially among students and young people seeking experience and alternative gap years.
[The Observer, 20 June 2021]

peace tourism noun [U]
UK /ˌpiːs.ˈtʊə.rɪ.zᵊm/ US /ˌpiːs.ˈtʊr.ɪ.zᵊm/
travelling to places which are important because of their commitment to peace, often because they are the location of a previous conflict or war

Examples of peace tourism activities include educational field trips to sites such as the Berlin Wall Memorial and the Hiroshima Peace Park. It might also take the form of attending workshops and conferences among conflict resolution professionals or going on guided peace walks that delve into histories of achieving or searching for peace. Visiting famous peace artworks and peace-themed exhibitions, as well as festivals and perfomances are also considered peace tourism activities.
[theconversation.com, 9 April 2021]

kindness economy noun [U]
UK /ˈkaɪnd.nəs.iˈkɒn.ə.mi/ US /ˈkaɪnd.nəs.iˈkɑː.nə.mi/
an economic system that is based on businesses focusing less on profit and more on the interests and values of their customers, employees and society in general

After moving from fear to acceptance of how the world had changed, Portas began thinking about how to make business more ethical and socially aware. She calls this the “kindness economy” and it forms the basis of her new book, Rebuild. It asserts that we’ve all become heartily sick of consumerism and that companies failing to adapt will fall by the wayside.
[The Times, 26 June 2021]

About new words