smiling young woman showing A+ test results to the camera

Smashing it and scraping through (The language of success, Part 2)

smiling young woman showing A+ test results to the camera
SDI Productions/E+/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In the first of our ‘success’ posts, we looked mainly at nouns in this area (Triumphs and success stories). Today, we’re focusing on verbs and phrasal verbs that mean ‘succeed’ and, as ever, looking at the important differences in meaning between them. Continue reading “Smashing it and scraping through (The language of success, Part 2)”

close-up photograph of someone's hand using a smartphone in a dark room

New words – 13 December 2021

close-up photograph of someone's hand using a smartphone in a dark room
Jub Rubjob / Moment / Getty

tappigraphy noun [U]
/təˈpɪg.rə.fi/
the study of how, how often and in what patterns someone taps the keys on their mobile phone, thought to provide information on their behaviour and their physical and mental health

Arko Ghosh is the company’s cofounder and a neuroscientist at Leiden University in the Netherlands. “Tappigraphy patterns” – the time series of my touches – can, he says, confidently be used not only to infer slumber habits (tapping in the wee hours means you are not sleeping) but also mental performance level (the small intervals in a series of key-presses represent a proxy for reaction time), and he has published work to support it.
[theguardian.com, 7 November 2021]

killware noun [U]
UK /ˈkɪl.weəʳ/ US /ˈkɪl.wer/
a type of computer program used illegally to attack someone’s computer system and designed to cause people physical harm

Unlike malware and ransomware, whose sole purpose is financial gain for the attackers, killware has only one goal – causing physical harm. The name killware appeared in the media after the highly publicized cyberattack on a water plant in Oldsmar, Florida … Fortunately, no killware attack has been successful so far. The moniker itself sounds a bit overhyped, and that might be true at the moment. But the reality is that hackers have a way of not only hurting us emotionally but also physically.
[dailyhawker.com, 26 October 2021]

screenome noun [C]
UK /ˈskriː.nəʊm/ US /ˈskriːn.əʊm/
a very detailed record of someone’s activity on their smartphone or tablet

If Byron Reeves has his way, the concept of “screen time” will be a relic. Instead, it will be your “screenome” that’s important … The Human Screenome Project aims to more accurately capture our digital footprint using an eyebrow-raising technique: background software that screenshots a volunteer’s phone every five seconds while it’s activated. A screenome would offer a way to study smartphones and tablets for patterns of use linked to issues such as social-media addiction and mental health problems.
[technologyreview.com, 15 January 2020]

About new words

Our new vocabulary practice app is here

Expand your vocabulary with the Cambridge Dictionary +Plus app!

Our new vocabulary practice app is hereWe’re delighted to announce that the Cambridge Dictionary +Plus mobile app is now available to download for free from Apple and Google Play stores. This means that you can now learn English vocabulary anytime and anywhere you have an online connection, whether you’re sitting on a train, waiting for a bus or filling the minutes in a café before a friend turns up. What’s more, you can learn in a very personalized way, creating vocabulary lists that are right for you, matching both your level of English and your personal interests. Continue reading “Expand your vocabulary with the Cambridge Dictionary +Plus app!”

a metal statuette of the personification of justice: a blindfolded woman holding scales and a sword

Fundamental and inalienable rights

a metal statuette of the personification of justice: a blindfolded woman holding scales and a sword
SimpleImages/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Human Rights Day is celebrated internationally on December 10th. On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document which describes the rights (= things that you are allowed by law) of all human beings. To mark this very important date, we’re looking at the way the noun ‘right’ is used and the words that often come with it. Continue reading “Fundamental and inalienable rights”

a pink plate with crab, mussels and other seafood

New words – 6 December 2021

a pink plate with crab, mussels and other seafood
Saowaluck Voraprukpisut / iStock / Getty Images Plus

blue food noun [U]
/ˌbluː.ˈfuːd/
food that comes from the sea, such as fish, shellfish and seaweed

Recently, however, calls have emerged not for less fishing, but more, under the banner of a new term encompassing all seafood and aquaculture products: “blue food.” The Blue Food Alliance, launched ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit, has brought together academics, policymakers, and corporate donors focused on increasing the consumption of sustainable seafood.
[wired.com, 24 October 2021]

unconscious reducer noun [C]
UK /ʌnˌkɒn.ʃəs.rɪˈdʒuː.səʳ/ US /ʌnˌkɑːn.ʃəs.rɪˈduː.səʳ/
someone who is eating less meat than they did before, but without having made a deliberate decision to do so

The unconscious reducers were said by the report to mostly be of retirement age and living with fewer people. They were found to be much less likely to experiment with cooking or refer to themselves as a ‘foodie’, preferring more traditional dishes … “How unconscious reducers think and feel about meat isn’t any different to those people who are actually increasing their meat consumption – they’re not turning away on purpose so there is a chance to re-engage them with the category,” explained AHDB senior retail insight manager Kim Malley.
[ahdb.org.uk, 3 December 2020]

foodprint noun [C]
/ˈfuːd.prɪnt/
a measurement of the impact on the environment of all the processes needed to bring food to consumers

The issue of carbon “foodprints” – how much CO2 is emitted in the production, transportation, and preparation of various foods – is front-and-centre at this week’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow. On Tuesday, it emerged that restaurants inside the conference centre are printing carbon estimates on their menus, alongside each item’s price … In order to reach the goals defined in the Paris Agreement, we may soon have to limit our foodprint to no more than 0.5kg of CO2 emissions per meal.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 4 November 2021]

About new words

a man wearing a tuxedo and holding a trophy, with stage lights in background

Triumphs and success stories (The language of success, Part 1)

a man wearing a tuxedo and holding a trophy, with stage lights in background
Hill Street Studios/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

We like positive posts on the About words blog, so this week we’re looking at language connected with success. As there are so many useful words and phrases in this area this post, focusing mainly on nouns, is the first of three. As ever, we’ll look at the most frequent and useful words and phrases. Continue reading “Triumphs and success stories (The language of success, Part 1)”

a group of five young adults laughing and celebrating in a shower of colourful confetti

New words – 29 November 2021

a group of five young adults laughing and celebrating in a shower of colourful confetti
AleksandarNakic / E+ / Getty

business shower noun [C]
UK /ˈbɪz.nɪsˌʃaʊəʳ/ US /ˈbɪz.nɪsˌʃaʊ.ɚ/
a party held to celebrate a new start-up business, usually before its official launch

Some business showers include games, decorations and catering. Some founders even ask for gifts, providing links to business registry websites that have also become popular. Business showers generally differ from launch parties because they occur at the very early stages of a start-up, sometimes when the business is still just gestating as an idea.
[nytimes.com, 15 July 2021]

flippening noun [S]
/ˈflɪp.ᵊn.ɪŋ/
The flippening is an event, expected to take place in the near future, when ethereum will overtake bitcoin as the most valuable cryptocurrency.

For those unaware, the flippening is a hypothetical event in which ETH overtakes Bitcoin in terms of market capitalization. While this hasn’t happened yet, it may not be too far off … ETH is already the top crypto held on the platform in terms of U.S. dollar amount. That could be a sign that the flippening is starting.
[nasdaq.com, 8 July 2021]

emoticonomy noun [U]
UK /ɪ,məʊt.iˈkɒn.ə.mi/ US /ɪ,moʊt.iˈkɑː.nə.mi/
an economic system that is based on the activities people and businesses engage in to make the world a better and happier place

But arguing that capitalism should be unfettered and amoral is itself a political position. No business is without its ideals in the new “emoticonomy”. This is not a circumstance created accidentally by political parties, activists or workers, but deliberately, by businesses. It has been going on for some time.
[newstatesman.com, 20 October 2021]

About new words

two women talking and smiling as they sit together on a porch

Passing the time of day and talking shop: talking about conversations

two women talking and smiling as they sit together on a porch
MoMo Productions/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

Talking is one of the most basic things we do. Back in 2019, I wrote a post about collocations connected with communication. This post looks at words that describe various types of conversation. Continue reading “Passing the time of day and talking shop: talking about conversations”

five young women wearing fashionable clothes, smiling and standing with crossed arms

New words – 22 November 2021

Delmaine Donson / E+ / Getty

bounceback wardrobe noun [C]
UK /ˈbaʊns.bæk.wɔː.drəʊb/ US /ˈbaʊns.bæk.wɔːr.droʊb/
all the clothes that someone owns, or wants to buy, for the period of time after lockdown, when they are back at work and going out socially again

Now, with the lifting of lockdown restrictions and the great re-entry, it seems a lot of women are finding that their wardrobes are insufficient, dated, or in some way lacking the polish and pep required for their revived professional and social lives. Women spent, on average, £200 between April and June on their “bounceback wardrobes”, according to the new State of Retail Report.
[telegraph.co.uk, 27 July 2021]

circular fashion noun [U]
UK /ˌsɜː.kjə.lə.ˈfæʃ.ᵊn/ US /ˌsɝː.kjə.lɚ.ˈfæʃ.ᵊn/
clothes that are designed and made in such a way that they will last for a long time, can eventually be repaired or redesigned instead of being thrown away, and cause little or no damage to the environment

As it stands, most fashion products are made from new textiles, sold, worn, discarded and sent, eventually, to landfill … or worse, they are incinerated. Circular fashion looks to disrupt that linear trajectory, keeping clothing and materials in use through recycling, repurposing and rewearing, avoiding where possible making completely “new” products and reducing the amount of ecologically harmful waste.
[elle.com, 16 March 2020]

tourdrobe noun [C]
UK /ˈtʊə.drəʊb/ US /ˈtʊr.droʊb/
all the clothes that someone, usually a famous woman, wears when she is on a tour of several different places where she will be seen by the public and the media

And the Duchess of Sussex was also flying the flag for fashion as she brought an expansive tourdrobe to suit every kind of engagement (and her baby bump). Over 16 days in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand we saw the Duchess of Sussex in an array of international designers, from Aussie brands to British labels, and lots of American influence.
[mirror.co.uk, 2 November 2018]

About new words

Close-up of the words 'The End' typed on an old-fashioned typewriter

Conclusions and last hurrahs (Words and phrases meaning ‘end’)

Close-up of the words 'The End' typed on an old-fashioned typewriter
Nora Carol Photography/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In a recent post, we focused on different ways of talking about the start of things. We looked at phrases such as ‘from the get-go’ and considered more formal words for ‘start’ such as ‘genesis’ and ‘advent’. As the saying goes, ‘all good things must come to an end’ and this week, we’re looking at the opposite – words and phrases for the end of things. Continue reading “Conclusions and last hurrahs (Words and phrases meaning ‘end’)”