New words – 18 June 2018

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space fever noun [U]
UK /ˈspeɪsˌfiː.vəʳ/ US /ˈspeɪsˌfiː.vɚ/
a medical condition in which an astronaut’s body temperature is higher than usual because of the effects of weightlessness

“This space fever, as we may call it, has potential implications for long-term space flights in terms of astronauts’ health, wellbeing and support,” the researchers wrote in their study, published in the journal Scientific Reports.
[www.independent.co.uk, 6 January 2018]

space gene noun [C]
/ˈspeɪs.dʒiːn/
a part of the DNA in the human body that undergoes significant change when the person is in space

Scientists are looking for what they’re calling a “space gene.” By sequencing the RNA in the twins’ white blood cells, researchers found more than 200,000 RNA molecules that were expressed differently between the brothers. It is normal for twins to have unique mutations in their genome, but scientists are “looking closer to see if a ‘space gene’ could have been activated while Scott was in space,” according to NASA.
[www.ukbusinessinsider.com, 1 February 2017]

space sculpture noun [C]
UK /ˈspeɪsˌskʌlp.tʃəʳ/ US /ˈspeɪsˌskʌlp.tʃɚ/
an object made from a heat-resistant material launched into space as a piece of art

An artificial diamond is set to light up the night sky as part of a new art project. Orbital Reflector is a ‘space sculpture’ constructed of a lightweight material similar to Mylar. It is scheduled to launch on a SpaceX rocket in 2018, and its creator says once it inflates 350 miles above Earth, it will be visible with the naked eye.
[www.dailymail.co.uk, 29 September 2017]

About new words

The group of death and the underdog (The language of the World Cup)

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by Kate Woodford

With the FIFA World Cup just one day away, we thought you might like to brush up on (=improve what you know about) your tournament vocabulary.

Let’s start by getting up to date. The qualification phase ended in November 2017. In this period, the various countries’ national teams played against each other in order to qualify for (= succeed in getting into) the tournament. From a field of 211, a total of 31 teams qualified, ‘field’ here meaning ‘all the people or teams in a competition’. As always happens, the host nation (= country where the World Cup takes place – this year, Russia) qualified automatically. The resulting 32 teams were put into eight groups of four teams.

Continue reading “The group of death and the underdog (The language of the World Cup)”

New words – 11 June 2018

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workleisure noun [U]
UK /ˈwɜːk.leʒ.əʳ/ US /ˈwɝːk.liː.ʒɚ/
a fashionable style of clothing that is as comfortable as leisurewear but also formal enough for wearing to work

Simply put, workleisure is office-appropriate clothing that feels like your favorite yoga pants. Think comfortable and stylish.This game-changing wardrobe category is made of technical, durable materials. You can expect incredibly stretchy, low-maintenance fabrics cut into flattering work/dinner/happy hour-appropriate pieces.
[www.brevitybrand.com, 20 November 2017]

schmoo noun [C]
/ʃmu:/
a jumper without a hole for the head to go through, intended to be wrapped around the wearer’s shoulders

August is always silly season, but the fashion industry doesn’t always join in with such humorous abandon. We haven’t even gotten to the schmoo yet. The what? Oh, it’s a jumper – minus the traditional hole for your head to go through – designed to be worn over the shoulders for extra warmth. “It’s like a child’s security blanket,” schmoo inventor Michael Kors said after his New York show in which they debuted.
[The Pool, 17 August 2017]

drouser noun [C]
UK /ˈdraʊ.zəʳ/ US /ˈdraʊ.zɚ/
an item of clothing comprising a dress attached to a pair of trousers

You know how sometimes you can’t make up your mind about wearing a dress or a trouser? Now, you can wear both at the same time. Yes, a hybrid clothing item consisting of the two is now a trend. Don’t confuse it with putting on a skirt over a pair of pants though. The drouser, as it is termed, is one garment by itself. Just have a look at the designs by Elie Saab for the Spring 2017 Haute Couture runway.
[www.star2.com, 25 February 2017]

About new words

It’s nowhere near as good: modifying comparisons

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by Liz Walter

Last month I wrote about how to form comparatives and superlatives. However, there are many occasions when we don’t simply want to say that one person or thing has more or less of a particular quality than another: we want to say how much more or less they have. That is when we need to modify our comparisons.

The most common way to talk about big differences is by using the word much: My pizza’s much bigger than yours. This book is much more interesting. We use far or a lot in the same way: My new computer is far smaller than my old one. It’s a lot less expensive to travel by bus. Very much or a good deal are slightly more formal: He seems very much happier now. Her new job is a good deal more demanding.

Continue reading “It’s nowhere near as good: modifying comparisons”

New words – 4 June 2018

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astral divorce noun [C]
UK /ˈæs.trəl.dɪˈvɔːs/ US /ˈæs.trəl.dɪˈvɔːrs/
a type of therapy session during which someone is helped to move on from a past relationship that is still causing them unhappiness

Astral divorces are a “cutting of ties and contacts” with a past relationship and are performed by psychics. The aim is to rid you of old, residual energy from an ex that may be holding you back and to help move you into a new phase of your life, ready for love again.
[Sunday Times, 10 September 2017]

LAT noun [U]
/ˌel.eɪ.ˈtiː/
abbreviation for living apart together: a type of close romantic relationship where the partners choose not to live together

Recent research demonstrates that there are other ways of establishing long-lasting, high-quality relationships without committing to marriage or living together. However, U.S. society has yet to recognize LAT as a legitimate choice. If more people—young and old, married or not—saw LAT as an option, it might save them from a lot of future heartache.”
[www.sciencedaily.com, 9 February 2017]

stashing noun [U]
/ˈstæʃ.ɪŋ/
the practice of not telling anyone about the person with whom you are in a romantic relationship

Stashing is a super fun dating trend in which someone is dating someone else, but has decided to hide them away from everyone in their life … A victim of stashing is hidden from every other part of the stasher’s life – from their tagged photos to their casual chats with their parents. Why? Because that way, they’re able to pretend that they’re not really dating the person they’re stashing, meaning they can justify getting with other people, doing whatever they fancy, and being generally inconsiderate and awful.
[Metro, 19 August 2017]

About new words

A glimmer of hope (The language of hope)

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by Kate Woodford

For many of us, spring – the season of new beginnings – is a time of great hope. With the flowers and trees in bloom and the temperature rising, it’s a time for feeling positive about the future. With this in mind, we thought we’d take a look at words and phrases related to hope.

Starting with the verb ‘hope’, people sometimes emphasize how much they hope for something by saying they hope and pray that something will happen: I just hope and pray that she’s well enough on the day to take the exam. If you say you hope against hope that something will happen, you very much hope for it, although you know it is not likely: We’re just hoping against hope that the police catch the burglar.

Continue reading “A glimmer of hope (The language of hope)”

New words – 28 May 2018

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parennial noun [C]
/pəˈren.i.əl/
a parent who is a member of the millennial generation, born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s

Parennials spent their formative years steeped in personal technology. As a result they’re “high-information parents,” said Rebecca Parlakian, the program director for Zero to Three, an organization that has been studying new parents since 1977. “The good news is that parents know more about child development than ever before,” she said. “Google is the new grandparent, the new neighbor, the new nanny.”
[New York Times, 4 November 2017]

monster parent noun [C]
UK /ˈmɒn.stə.ˌpeə.rᵊnt/ US /ˈmɑːn.stɚ.ˌper.ᵊnt/
a parent who is excessively authoritarian and over-protective, and who tends to interfere in their children’s education

The monster parent has become a worryingly prevalent archetype in Hong Kong, and the problem appears to be worsening, experts say … Dr Ian Lam Chun-bun, associate professor and associate head in the department of early childhood education at the Education University, acknowledged that the stereotypical monster parent was becoming increasingly common. “I think it is a phenomenon that is intensifying in Hong Kong,” he said.
[South China Morning Post, 22 July 2017]

daddymoon noun [C]
/ˈdæd.i.muːn/
a holiday taken by a man who is about to become a father, as a supposed last chance to relax with friends before the birth of his child

He found out about the concept from his buddy, J. C. Simbana, who went on his own daddymoon in Las Vegas last year, before the birth of his son. “Obviously baby showers are something that are in place and have been done for a while,” Mr. Simbana, 41, said. “I was looking for a way to celebrate with my friends, this transition in my life.”
[New York Times, 30 October 2017]

About new words

Out of the blue (Words and phrases for unexpected events)

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by Kate Woodford

Many of the things that happen to us are expected or even planned but some are not. Some of these unexpected events are welcome while others are less so. In this post, we take a look at the words and phrases that we use to relate events that happen when we are least expecting them.

Starting with a really useful idiom, something that happens out of the blue is completely unexpected: Then one day, out of the blue, she announced she was leaving. Two very useful, less idiomatic, phrases with a similar meaning are all of a sudden and all at once. Both mean ‘suddenly and unexpectedly’: All of a sudden, she collapsed. / All at once there was a loud crashing noise.

Continue reading “Out of the blue (Words and phrases for unexpected events)”

New words – 21 May 2018

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monkey dumpling noun [C]
/ˈmʌŋ.ki.dʌm.plɪŋ/
a group of macaque monkeys standing very close together in order to stay warm

When temperatures drop, macaques often huddle together to pool their body heat, forming what’s known as a saru dango, or “monkey dumpling.” This behavior is common among the 23 species of macaques, all of which form complex matriarchal societies. It is especially important for Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata), which live in colder climates than any other primate aside from humans. On frigid days, their need for warmth clearly outweighs their desire for personal space.
[www.theatlantic.com, 29 June 2017]

starballing noun [U]
UK /ˈstɑː.bɔːl.ɪŋ/ US /ˈstɑːr.bɑːl.ɪŋ/
the phenomenon where starfish curl themselves into a spherical shape and get carried along the seabed by tidal currents

Researchers at Plymouth University observed the species Asterias rubens rolling along the seabed with arms curled into a spheroid shape – a phenomenon they’ve termed “starballing”. It is not yet known whether the technique is a deliberate one that helps the otherwise slow-moving species to change their location, but some were recorded raising a single arm into the water column prior to moving as if to test the conditions.
[The Press and Journal, 13 April 2017]

dog manor noun [C]
UK /ˈdɒg.mæn.əʳ/ US /ˈdɑːg.mæn.ɚ/
a luxurious shelter for a dog to sleep in outside

Our customers and their dogs typically live indoors so we see our dog manor as an extra that gives a pet more comfort – it is the dog’s own house that has all the comforts of an indoor living room, making the whole experience of staying outdoors more fun and enjoyable.
[www.dailymail.co.uk, 13 June 2017]

About new words

Good, better, best: forming comparatives and superlatives

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by Liz Walter

We often need to compare one person or thing with another, and in this post I am going to look at how we do this. This is a fairly basic topic, but one where I find that intermediate students still often make mistakes.

We make comparatives by adding -er to the end of an adjective or by putting more in front of the adjective: Your hair is longer than mine. It is more stylish.

We make superlatives by adding -est to the end of an adjective and the in front of it or by putting the most in front of the adjective: Everest is the highest mountain in the world. It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.

Continue reading “Good, better, best: forming comparatives and superlatives”