New words – 2 March 2020

George Pachantouris / Moment / Getty

flower miles noun [plural]
UK /ˈflaʊə.ˌmaɪlz/ US /ˈflaʊ.ɚ.ˌmaɪlz/
the distance between the place where flowers are grown and the place where they are sold to customers

We’re proud to say that our family of independent florists and botanical artisans work with sustainable flower farms worldwide. So whether you’re gifting stems to a loved one across the pond, or sending a feel-good arrangement to yourself, you can order safe in the knowledge that you’re helping cut down on flower miles by championing sustainable practice.
[floom.com, 1 March 2019]

ecological grief noun [U]
UK /ˌiː.kəˈlɒdʒ.ɪ.kᵊl.griːf/ US /ˌiː.kəˈlɑːdʒ.ɪ.kᵊl.griːf/
a feeling of great sadness caused by the effects of the climate emergency

The sense of helplessness is very prevalent – the feeling that the scale of our environmental crisis is so large that as individuals we can’t intervene. And I think that’s actually one of the really powerful mobilising potentials of ecological grief – it’s driving action and anger; climate marches.
[theguardian.com, 12 January 2020]

cli-fi noun [U]
/ˈklaɪ.faɪ/
books, movies etc. about bad events that occur because of climate change, such as wildfires and droughts

“Climate change needs stories, and readers need them to be told,” he said. “There are figures, statistics, but these don’t really say anything. Cli-fi makes people more aware of the situation.”
[phys.org/news, 15 November 2019]

About new words

Quarantine, carriers and face masks: the language of the coronavirus

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by Liz Walter

As coronavirus (officially called COVID-19) continues to dominate the news, I thought it might be useful to look at some of the language we use to talk about it. Regular readers will know my obsession with collocations (word partners), and there are lots of good ones in this topic, most of which can be applied to other diseases too. Continue reading “Quarantine, carriers and face masks: the language of the coronavirus”

New words – 24 February 2020

Dwight Eschliman / Stone / Getty Images Plus

food desert noun [C]
UK /ˌfuːd ˈdez.ət/ US /ˌfuːd ˈdez.ɚt/
an area where there is little or no access to healthy food

A widely held theory maintains that those who live in food deserts are forced to shop at local convenience stores, where it’s hard to find healthy groceries. A proposed solution is to advocate for the opening of supermarkets in these neighborhoods, which are thought to encourage better eating.
[www.nyu.edu, 10 December 2019]

food insecurity noun [U]
UK /ˈfuːd ˌɪn.sɪˈkjʊə.rə.ti/ US /ˈfuːd ˌɪn.səˈkjʊr.ə.t̬i/
the state of not being able to afford to buy enough food to stay healthy

The government is to introduce an official measure of how often low-income families across the UK skip meals or go hungry because they cannot afford to buy enough food, the Guardian can reveal. A national index of food insecurity is to be incorporated into an established UK-wide annual survey run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that monitors household incomes and living standards.
[www.theguardian.com, 27 February 2019]

social supermarket noun [C]
UK /ˌsəʊ.ʃᵊl ˈsuː.pəˌmɑː.kɪt/ US /ˌsoʊ.ʃᵊl ˈsuː.pɚˌmɑːr.kɪt/
a place where food is sold at very low prices to people who do not have enough money to buy it in other shops

A ‘social supermarket’ has opened offering a week’s worth of shopping for just £3 to Britons who struggle to feed themselves and their families. The food, worth between £15 and £25, is donated and … it helps those struggling financially to put food on their tables, serving so many people that it has been forced to open an extra day.
[mirror.co.uk, 14 January 2019]

About new words

Beds of roses and sore thumbs (Newspaper idioms)

Chevanon Wonganuchitmetha/EyeEm/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Readers of this blog often ask us for posts on English idioms. Understandably, they also tell us that it’s important that the idioms are used now. One way that we make sure we focus on up to date idioms is by looking at expressions used in current newspapers. The expressions in this week’s post are taken from a range of national newspapers that were published on February 5th, 2020. Continue reading “Beds of roses and sore thumbs (Newspaper idioms)”

New words – 17 February 2020

OcusFocus / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

orthosomnia noun [U]
UK /ˌɔː.θəˈsɒm.ni.ə/ US /ˌɔːr.θoʊˈsɑːm.ni.ə/
the inability to sleep well, caused by thinking too much about getting enough sleep and by using apps and other technology to measure how much sleep you get

Orthosomnia is a new type of sleep problem that has arisen due to the overload of sleep information thanks to the influx of digital sleep trackers and apps in recent years … In other words, by becoming so dependent upon these devices on their quest to achieve perfect sleep, people with orthosomnia are actually struggling to sleep and may spend countless hours thinking exhaustively about how they cannot optimise their nightly rest.
[greenqueen.com, 9 January 2020]

art acne noun [U]
UK /ˈɑːt.æk.ni/ US /ˈɑːrt.æk.ni/
damage on the surface of paintings in the form of small bumps, caused by a chemical reaction

Some of the world’s finest oil paintings have been self-destructing, developing mysterious lumps and bumps known as “art acne”. Works by Georgia O’Keeffe and Rembrandt are among the hundreds of works blighted by the condition. For decades, art conservators have struggled to control the outbreaks, which look like grains of sand to the naked eye.
[dailymail.co.uk, 17 February 2019]

London throat noun [U]
UK /ˌlʌn.dən.ˈθrəʊt/ US /ˌlʌn.dən.ˈθroʊt/
a mild infection, similar to a cold, said to be common among people who live in London and caused by pollution

Scrapping speed bumps could help protect city dwellers against “London throat” because braking releases toxic dust which may trigger coughs and colds, scientists have said. Urbanites often suffer from intermittent bouts of runny noses and brain fog, which experts have long-suspected are caused by pollution. Dubbed “London Throat”, this ongoing low-level illness can lead to more serious infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
[telegraph.co.uk, 9 January 2020]

About new words

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”

New words – 10 February 2020

artiemedvedev / iStock / Getty Images Plus

triple-screen verb [I]
/ˌtrɪp.ᵊl.ˈskriː.n/
to read or watch three screens at the same time

Parents are using professional coaches in their battles over screen time with their children, behaviour specialists have said. Some families complain their children are “triple-screening”, simultaneously viewing phones, laptops and televisions.
[The Times, 28 September 2019]

juice jacking noun [U]
/ˈdʒuːs.dʒæk.ɪŋ/
an illegal attempt to harm someone’s computer, tablet or smartphone, or the information on it, by using a charging port

There has been much coverage of “juice jacking” of late. This involves a cybercriminal using altered USB charging ports in airports, train stations and hotels to infect your device with malware. You can carry a USB charger that plugs into a power socket or invest in a power-only USB charging cable to prevent this.
[www.guardian.com, 31 December 2019]

digital vellum noun [U]
UK /ˌdɪdʒ.ɪ.tᵊl.ˈvel.əm/ US /ˌdɪdʒ.ə.t̬ᵊl.ˈvel.əm/
a process that will allow digital files to be accessed at any time in the future so that important data and documents will always be available

Another way of solving the problem is “digital vellum”, a concept that is still in development. That involves taking a snapshot of all the ways that a digital file can be opened, and storing it alongside the document itself — meaning that scientists will be able to use the instructions to reproduce the files by following the instructions.
[independent.co.uk, 13 February 2015]

About new words

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

Petra Herr / EyeEm / Getty Images

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”