New words – 31 December 2012

biotic virus noun a non-native plant that invades an area and over time replaces a native plant

‘Cheatgrass is a very insidious kind of biotic virus’, said Stephen Pyne, a western fire historian at Arizona State university.

[New York Times (US broadsheet) 31 July 2012]

earthquake cloak noun an elastodynamic cloak around the base of a building that deflects shock waves

The earthquake cloak will be put to the test by engineers Biswajit Banerjee and Emilio Calius at Industrial Research Limited in New Zealand.

[Smithsonian (US history, science, and culture magazine) Sept. 2012]

FidoCam noun a camera that attaches to the head of a police dog

Staffordshire police demonstrate their new digital crime fighting tool, FidoCam – a camera unit which can be used by police dogs during searches.

[ 19 July 2012]

plasma arc gasification noun a method for reducing large volumes of waste material to a gas that can be used as fuel

A plasma arc gasification system at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base in Florida processes 10 tons of garbage a day, making enough energy to sustain the system.

[New York Times (US broadsheet) 11 Sept 2012]

About new words

New words – 24 December 2012

mini-job noun a part-time job which attracts tax concessions

This week the Treasury has floated the idea of copying Germany’s ‘mini-jobs’ initiative.

[The Guardian (UK broadsheet) 22 Aug 2012]

MOOC abbreviation a massive open online course; an online course that anyone can do and that is geared towards large numbers of students

Given the hype of national media coverage of massive open online courses (MOOCs), it is refreshing to see more recent analysis looking at important attributes such as revenue models, dropout rates, and instructional design.

[ 24 July 2012]

pentrepreneur noun an entrepreneur of pensionable age

BBCDragonsDen pentrepreneur is as excruciating as ‘mumpreneur’.

[ 16 Sept 2012]

zero-hours adjective refers to a contract of employment under which an employee has no guarantee of work but must be available for work as required and is only paid for hours worked

Zero-hours contracts allow you to have people on-call to work whenever necessary and mutually convenient.

[ 14 Sept 2012]

About new words

New words – 17 December 2012

jigsaw family noun a family in which two or more sets of children from previous relationships live together

When she was asked to write a sequel to a classic children’s book, Jacqueline Wilson said no. But then she saw the fun she could have with the wish-granting fairy and a modern jigsaw family.

[ 10 Aug 2012]

momshell noun informal a very attractive and glamorous new mother, usually a celebrity

Call them ‘momshells’ (mother-as-bombshell) for bouncing back after having a baby and jumping right back into their busy Hollywood careers looking svelte and stylish with no signs of baby weight.

[ 20 Aug 2012]

three-parent IVF noun a form of in vitro fertilization in which the egg of a third person is used to provide a shell into which an embryo is planted

Accusations of ‘medical consumerism’ and ‘scientific fetishism’ are levelled at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority today as it seeks the views of the public on the controversial technique known as three-parent IVF.

[The Independent (UK broadsheet) 17 Sept 2012]

About new words

New words – 10 December 2012

@ verb informal to write a message about someone or something on Twitter

Maybe it’s an attempt to get a crate sent to him (after all, he can’t just pop to Boots – the cashier might @ him on Twitter, telling the world the man behind Pass Out has had a rich dinner and as a result is experiencing a spot of heartburn).

[The Guardian (UK broadsheet) 18 Aug 2012]

astroturfing noun creating the false impression that a lot of people support a particular viewpoint, especially online

I also know what you’re thinking – astroturfing could trick most people but not you, right? That might be true on issues like taxing bankers – most people reading this blog would be liberal minded, I would imagine, and as a result would be less likely to be swayed by any astroturfing which aims to convince you that we don’t need to tax bankers any more than we already do.

[ 24 Aug 2012]

Astroturfing – ie the overall cumulative effect of the above [tactics]. Artificial buzz.

[ 26 Aug 2012]

contactless noun a type of debit or credit card that can be waved over a sensor and does not require a pin or signature

I used contactless all the time at the Olympic Park.

[The Guardian (UK broadsheet) 22 Sept 2012]

About new words

New words – 3 December 2012

bantz noun slang banter; witty chat

Harry – party-loving prince, lord of the bantz, royal lad on tour – was captured on camera-phone last weekend, bear-hugging a bikini-less babe in a Las Vegas hotel […]

[The Independent (UK broadsheet) 23 Aug 2012]

pay-neutral adjective describes work that only covers expenses once childcare costs, travel, etc. has been deducted

Charities warned of the rise of the ‘pay-neutral’ job; where you only earn enough to cover childcare, so you’re effectively working for nothing.

[Grazia (UK fashion magazine) 1 Sept 2012]

Soaring childcare costs, stagnant salaries and government cuts to tax credits and benefits, have led to an increasing number of people being thrown into so-called ‘pay-neutral’ work.

[ 01 Sept 2012]

spankbuster noun informal a popular novel featuring scenes of sado-masochism

Sales of 5.3m in print and ebook drive EL James’s ‘spankbuster’ past the Highway Code and Dan Brown

[ 07 Aug 2012]

About new words

New words – 26 November 2012

adorkability noun informal a look which combines chic and geeky quirkiness in equal measure

In just one short TV season, New Girl’s Zooey Deschanel has gone from a ukulele-strumming indie princess — of rock and film — to an omnipresent poster child for a new yet immediately overused word: adorkability.

[ 25 April 2012]

lean back experience noun the relaxed experience of watching e.g. a TV show, as opposed to using a computer

A company spokesman said that internet on television needed to be more of a ‘lean back experience’ than it is on a computer.

[ 25 June 2012]

omnishambles noun informal a show of utter incompetence

Aircraft carrier ‘omnishambles’ wastes £100 million.
The Ministry of Defence has spent £100 million preparing to use fighter jets that have now been abandoned, ministers have admitted.

[ 10 May 2012]

re-mode verb to use another method, e.g. of travel

Ms Greening declared: ‘Across the whole department, we’re trying to re-route, re-mode, re-time and just generally reduce our travel.’
‘So I’m re-moding at the moment and having a good old walk up to Cabinet. It does me a lot of good.’

[ 16 May 2012]

About new words

New words – 19 November 2012

microbiome noun all of the trillions of microbes that live in the human body considered together

Tending the microbiome may also help in the treatment of disorders that may not seem to have anything to do with bacteria, including obesity and diabetes.

[New York Times (US broadsheet) 19 June 2012]

motif noun a particular genetic pattern that is passed on from one generation to the next

In particular they looked at a snippet of DNA called the Malagasy motif, found almost exclusively in Madagascar.

[New York Times (US broadsheet) 10 April 2012]

virome noun all of the viruses that live in the human body considered together; a part of the human microbiome

Many species in the human ‘virome’ specialize in infecting our resident bacteria.

[New York Times (US broadsheet) 19 June 2012]

About new words

New words – 12 November 2012

négociant noun a wine maker or merchant who buys grapes, juice, or wine to blend from small producers and bottles the finished wines under their own name

But this sherry, bottled by Equipo Navazos, a sort of high-end sherry négociant, was fresh, tangy, complex, and deep.

[New York Times (US broadsheet) 20 June 2012]

nip-slip noun informal an accidental showing of a nipple

Should you, like Florence Welch, find yourself wearing a dress that covers 90 per cent of your body in voluminous fabric, at least go the extra inch to make sure that you don’t also seem to be one deep breath away from having an improbable nip-slip.

[Grazia (UK celebrity magazine) 21 May 2012]

walk for phrasal verb to be employed as a catwalk model for a particular fashion house

She’s walked for designers such as McQueen, Balenciaga, Chanel […]

[ 6 May 2012]

About new words

New words – 5 November 2012

biomining noun a method of extracting minerals from ores in which micro-organisms are used to draw out the minerals. It is thought to be less harmful to the environment than other forms of mining.

In Chile, they’re using biomining.

[BBC Radio 4 14 June 2012]

extreme energy noun the extraction of energy from the Earth’s core, using such techniques as shale-gas fracking and tar-sands extraction

Extreme Energy (sometimes written Xtreme Energy) is a term used to describe a group of energy extraction methods that have emerged in recent years as the availability of fossil fuel resources has become more constrained.

[ 3 April 2012]

microhydro noun the small-scale use of flowing river water to produce up to 100 KW of power

Microhydro pioneers all say the same: battling against bureaucracy is the hardest part.

[The Observer (UK broadsheet) 3 June 2011]

About new words

New words – 29 October 2012

generation rent noun young people in the UK and the US, most of whom cannot now afford to buy their own homes and consequently rent them

The current clutch of young adults have been nicknamed “generation rent” after a series of studies suggested that Britain is changing from a nation of home owners into a continental-style society where renting is the norm.

[ 27 June 2012]

passive parenting noun a style of parenting in which the parent shows unwillingness to impose rules and discipline

Viewpoint: Childhood obesity and passive parenting

[ 6 June 2012]

quarterlife crisis noun the feeling that some people in their early twenties suffer of being unsettled and unfulfilled

The concept of a quarter-life crisis isn’t new. John Mayer was caterwauling about this ‘stirring of the soul’ on a CD (that no one ever bothered to change) at my very first office job

[ 3 June 2012]

About new words