New words – 13 May 2019

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generation scroll noun [U]
UK /ˌdʒen.əˈreɪ.ʃən.ˈskrəʊl/ US /ˌdʒen.əˈreɪ.ʃən.ˈskroʊl/
a way of referring to the generation of people who watch TV, read news, etc. mostly on a computer or mobile phone

This 25th annual analysis of media habits, based on a survey of 2,000 young people, says this is now ‘generation scroll’ – in which most viewing is through mobile internet devices, whether a phone, laptop or tablet computer. Only 10% now get ‘almost all’ their TV programmes through a TV screen.
[www.bbc.co.uk/news, 30 January 2019]

textavism noun [U]
/ˈtekst.ə.vɪ.zᵊm/
the use of text messages to try to persuade people to act in a way that will achieve a particular result, usually a political or social one

In the past year, text activism, or textavism, has consumed nearly all of Butler’s limited spare time … It often involves sending text messages to voters in swing states. ‘We try to apply pressure where we can do the most good’, Butler said. Recently, in the course of twenty-four hours, texters from MoveOn, where Butler volunteers, sent more than two million messages urging registered Democrats to vote in November.
[www.newyorker.com, 5 November 2018]

sadfishing noun [U]
/ˈsæd.fɪʃ.ɪŋ/
the practice of writing about one’s unhappiness or emotional problems on social media, especially in a vague way, in order to attract attention and sympathetic responses

You’ll have seen sadfishing happening on Facebook. Any time someone puts ‘I’m just so done with all this’ as their Facebook status without any explanation and then replies to anyone who asks a follow question with ‘I’ll PM you’: that’s sadfishing. If you’re a supermodel and influencer from the Hollywood Hills then sadfishing will make you money in #sponcon.
[www.metro.co.uk, 21 January 2019]

About new words

Flies on the wall and fish out of water: animal idioms, part 2

yipengge / iStock / Getty Images Plus

by Kate Woodford

This week we return to animal idioms, starting with the humble – and often irritating! – fly. Though small in size, the fly appears in a surprisingly large number of common idioms. To describe someone who is very gentle and who never offends or hurts others, you might say they wouldn’t hurt a fly:

I don’t believe Molly did that. She wouldn’t hurt a fly! Continue reading “Flies on the wall and fish out of water: animal idioms, part 2”

New words – 6 May 2019

Caiaimage / Paul Bradbury / Caiaimage / Getty

FIRE noun [U]
UK /ˈfaɪəʳ/ US /faɪr/
abbreviation for financial independence, retire early: a way of life that involves working hard and saving as much money as possible during your 20s and 30s in order to be able to retire when you are in your 40s

The ‘retire early’ part of this movement can be something of a misnomer. Many FIRE devotees don’t plan to spend 50 years playing bridge or taking leisure cruises. Instead, the focus is on financial independence: the aim is to save enough of a nest-egg, and live simply enough, so that the ensuing decades can be spent doing something other than chasing payrises and promotions at a corporate job, or worrying about owing the bank a large mortgage.
[www.bbc.co.uk, 2 November 2018]

disloyalty bonus noun [C]
UK /ˌdɪsˈlɔɪ.əl.ti.bəʊ.nəs/ US /ˌdɪsˈlɔɪ.əl.ti.boʊ.nəs/
a salary increase gained through changing to a new job rather than staying in your old one, where salaries for existing workers tend not to increase at the same rate

Workers who choose to stay in their jobs rather than move are missing out on a ‘disloyalty bonus’, a new report suggests. The Resolution Foundation found pay growth has hit 10% for those who change jobs, while those who remain in their posts received a pay rise of just 2.5%.
[news.sky.com, 2 August 2018]

flexism noun [U]
/ˈflek.sɪ.zəm/
discrimination against someone who has flexible working hours

“What I’m really trying to do with the term ‘flexism’ is take out the sexism part of flexibility. It’s not about being discriminated for working flexibly because you’re a woman or a mom. It’s about being discriminated for working flexibly full-stop. Until we make flexibility available to everyone for any reason, we’re going to continue to see flexism in the workforce.”
[www.officespacesoftware.com, 22 June 2018]

About new words

Going from bad to worse: talking about things getting worse

Henrik Weis / DigitalVision / Getty Images

by Liz Walter

Last month I wrote about words and phrases for talking about improvement. This post covers the opposite: talking about things getting worse. Get worse is the most common way of expressing this idea:

The weather seems to be getting worse.

Continue reading “Going from bad to worse: talking about things getting worse”

New words – 29 April 2019

jacoblund / iStock / Getty Images Plus

HIIS noun [U]
/hɪs/
abbreviation for high-intensity interval skipping: physical training that consists of short periods of intense skipping with short periods of rest in between

Forget HIIT, HIIS … is likely to become a big fitness trend in 2019. The exercise, involving short, sharp bursts of skipping, is one of the many ways that the Victoria’s Secret Angels keep in shape, as you can burn up to 1200 calories in a session.
[www.harpersbazaar.com, 14 December 2018]

fitness snacking noun [U]
/ˈfɪt.nəs.snæk.ɪŋ/
keeping fit by doing very short periods of physical activity regularly

British celebrity personal trainer Matt Roberts recently told The Telegraph that ongoing spurts of physical activity can help prevent illnesses associated with sedentary lifestyles, like heart disease and diabetes. The fitness expert said that not enough people get the daily exercise they need, and ‘fitness snacking’ is an approach that helps folks incorporate physical activity in a manageable way.
[globalnews.ca, 1 October 2018]

immersive yoga noun [U]
UK /ɪˈmɜː.sɪv.ˈjəʊ.gə/ US /ɪˈmɝː.sɪv.ˈjoʊ.gə/
a type of yoga accompanied by relaxing sounds and images

The city’s immersive yoga trend feeds into a wider, global movement. New York’s Woom Centre, for example, offers classes complete with sound therapy, blindfolded segments, essential oils and a gulp of a “fresh elixir” shot, while Humming Puppy in Melbourne, Sydney and NYC pipes sound at supposedly healing frequencies into the studio.
[www.eventbrite.com, 20 June 2018]

About new words

Dogs’ breakfasts and cats among the pigeons: animal idioms, part 1

Jennifer Dietrich / EyeEm /GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Readers of this blog often tell us that they want to learn more English idioms. To help with this, we’ve decided to publish a short series of posts on animal idioms. Animals feature in a lot of English idioms. Some learners find them easy to remember because they create such a strong image in the mind. Continue reading “Dogs’ breakfasts and cats among the pigeons: animal idioms, part 1”

New words – 22 April 2019

fahnurjingga / iStock / Getty Images Plus

shrobing noun [U]
UK /ˈʃrəʊ.bɪŋ/ US /ˈʃroʊ.bɪŋ/
wearing a coat around one’s shoulders (from the words shoulder and robing)

Be prepared to go hands-free: There’s no shoulder left to hang a handbag on, so it’s about going it alone with an iPhone and credit card and making the most of utility pockets. Shrobing also demands an assortment of plush polo necks to drive away the cold – the tighter the better to keep the neck looking elongated rather than swaddled.
[Vogue UK, 24 February 2017]

lampshading noun [U]
/ˈlæmp.ʃeɪdɪŋ/
wearing a baggy top or short dress with bare legs and sometimes boots

Ariana Grande has apparently resumed her role as resident fashion inspiration. The pop star … has reportedly brought her trend of lampshading to the masses. According to a report from Lyst, the year’s biggest fashion trend was oversized hoodies, and we all have Ariana to thank. The singer – who frequently coordinates her sweatshirts with knee-high boots – was the source of a 130% increase in searches for oversized hoodies.
[www.teenvogue.com, 27 December 2018]

jarfing noun [U]
UK /ˈdʒɑː.fɪŋ/ US /ˈdʒɑːr.fɪŋ/
wearing a jumper (UK) or sweater (US) wrapped around one’s neck and shoulders (from the words jumper and scarf)

The Sunday Times Style reckons that jarfing is heating up as a trend, and celebs and fashion people have been spotted wearing the look, so it’s officially a thing. … Does jarfing put your favourite jumper at risk of stretching out and being ruined forevermore? For sure. But isn’t that the fun of fashion – ignoring an item of clothing expressly made for the purpose of keeping your neck warm in favour of a trend that looks and feels ridiculous?
[Metro, 31 October 2018]

About new words

Turning the corner by leaps and bounds: talking about improvement

MirageC / Moment / GettyImages

by Liz Walter

Today’s post is about words and phrases that express the idea of things improving or being improved. The most common way to talk about improvement is to say that something gets better or that we make something better:

The weather was terrible earlier, but it’s getting better now.

We are always looking for ways to make our products better. Continue reading “Turning the corner by leaps and bounds: talking about improvement”

New words – 15 April 2019

Naila Ruechel / DigitalVision / GettyImages

vegetable butcher noun [C]
UK /ˈvedʒ.tə.bᵊl.ˌbʊtʃ.əʳ/ US /ˈvedʒ.tə.bᵊl.ˌbʊtʃ.ɚ/
a person who prepares vegetables in a shop

But these days butchery need not involve meat at all, as Harrods has unveiled a new “vegetable butcher” as part of its extended foodhall. … Just like regular butchers, so-called vegetable butchers stand behind glass counters, offer before-your-eyes precision chopping, and can concoct the perfect seasoning for every dish.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 1 November 2018]

planetary health diet noun [U]
UK /ˌplæn.ɪ.tər.i.ˈhelθ.daɪ.ət/ US /ˌplæn.ɪ.ter.i.ˈhelθ.daɪ.ət/
a way of eating that aims to give everyone in the world enough food to eat without damaging the planet

A diet has been developed that promises to save lives, feed 10 billion people and all without causing catastrophic damage to the planet. Scientists have been trying to figure out how we are going to feed billions more people in the decades to come. Their answer – ‘the planetary health diet’ – does not completely banish meat and dairy. But it requires an enormous shift in what we pile onto our plates and turning to foods that we barely eat.
[www.bbc.co.uk/news, 17 January 2019]

LALS noun [abbr]
/læls/
abbreviation for low-alcohol, low-sugar, used to refer to a type of food or drink, or a way of eating, that contains little or no alcohol or sugar

Our tip for 2019? Watch out for the ‘No-groni’ – the LALS cousin of the Negroni (equal parts gin, campari and sweet vermouth), named ‘cocktail of the year’ by Petersham Nurseries in London. The No-groni contains the non-alcoholic versions of each spirit, and doesn’t contain a drop of the hangover.
[www.afr.com, 17 December 2018]

About new words

Glaring errors and patent nonsense: ways of saying that things are obvious

Nora Carol Photography / Moment / GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

One thing that we aim to do on this blog is look at the many different ways we express the same thing in English. This week we’re focusing on words that have the basic meaning of ‘obvious’. As you know, near-synonyms can be different from each other in a number of ways. Many of the synonyms that we will look at here are different because of the things that they usually describe and the words that they are often combined with. Continue reading “Glaring errors and patent nonsense: ways of saying that things are obvious”