New words – 25 December 2017

Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty

slow gifting noun [U]
UK /sləʊ ˈgɪft.ɪŋ/ US /sloʊ ˈgɪft.ɪŋ/
the activity of shopping carefully and thoughtfully for gifts, and buying high-quality, often hand-made items from small shops or individual sellers

[S]low gifting has been hailed as one of this year’s top Christmas trends. Personal shoppers are reporting a surge in popularity of gifts from small independent brands. They claim their clients are increasingly looking for products that tell a story, and they are willing to spend big.
[The Times, 19 November 2017]

Christmas creep noun [U]
the act of advertising and selling Christmas-related goods before the traditional start of the Christmas season

The phenomenon of Christmas creep is nothing new, of course. It’s been a cultural touchpoint at least since Charlie Brown walked into a department store during a 1974 Easter special to find that the aisles were already decked with wreaths. But the migration to online shopping has upped the stakes in recent years and made the final months of the year on which retailers rely most all the more crucial.
[, 1 November 2017]

reverse advent calendar noun [C]
UK /rɪˈvɜːs ˈæd.vent ˌkæl.ən.dᵊr/ US /rɪˈvɝːs ˈæd.vent ˌkæl.ən.dɚ/
an activity that involves putting aside one food item per day during December and then taking all the items to a food bank on Christmas Eve to help people in need

Increasingly, ideas such as the reverse advent calendar are gaining in popularity. It’s a simple concept that encourages the public to give, not receive as they count down to Christmas. People collect one food bank item each day and, on Christmas Eve, the whole calendar is donated … Reverse advent calendars are a great idea, and yet another example of how local communities are taking action to stop their neighbours going hungry.
[The Guardian, 1 December 2017]

About new words

New words – 18 December 2017

Guido Mieth/DigitalVision/Getty

kittenfishing noun [U]
UK /ˈkɪt.ᵊn.fɪʃ.ɪŋ/ US /ˈkɪt̬.ᵊn.fɪʃ.ɪŋ/
the activity of exaggerating your positive qualities in an online profile

Essentially a light version of ‘catfishing’ – when you pretend to be a totally different person online – kittenfishing can be as simple as using profile photos that are out-of-date or heavily edited … An act that we’ve probably all experienced or even been guilty of at some point, kittenfishing comes as the world of dating becomes more and more competitive.
[, 2 July 2017]

finsta noun [C]
a second account on the social media site Instagram, to which a limited number of people have access

The latest development in the world of social media is the concept of a “finsta,” a slang term meaning “fake insta.” Essentially, a finsta is a private social media account a person uses in addition to their public profile to post potentially contentious content.
[, 15 May 2017]

click farm noun [C]
UK /ˈklɪk fɑːm/ US /ˈklɪk fɑːrm/
a place where a team of workers is hired to increase a person or company’s social media profile by clicking on content

Footage has emerged of a giant “click farm” that uses more than 10,000 mobile phones to give product ratings and pages on social media websites phoney “likes”. Companies reportedly pay thousands to get their apps more likes by using services like this massive plant offers.
[Daily Mirror, 15 May 2017]

About new words

New words – 11 December 2017


omurice noun [C]
UK /ˈɒm.jə.raɪs/ US /ˈɑː.mjə.raɪs/
a Japanese dish consisting of an omelette filled with fried rice and topped with ketchup

A 23-year-old Japanese omurice seller who goes by Kuya Omurice on his Facebook page is a college student who sells the yummy ketchup-drizzled omelets with rice by announcing where he’s going to be for the day and carrying his goods with him in an ice bucket.
[, 28 July 2017]

birch water noun [C and U]
UK /bɜːtʃ ˈwɔː.tᵊr/ US /bɝːtʃ ˈwɑː.t̬ɚ/
a drink made from the sap of the birch tree, said to have health-giving properties

What, you haven’t heard of birch water? Because coconut water, aloe water, maple water and cactus water are so passe, there were several companies at Fancy Foods hawking water made from the sap of birch trees. Companies like Absolutely Wild claim that the water is rich in antioxidants and electrolytes, has “detoxifying and restorative properties” and “strengthens your body’s immunity.” 
[The Washington Post, 30 June 2017]

vegducken noun [C]
UK /vedʒ ˈdʌk.ən/ US /vedʒ ˈdʌk.ən/
a cooked dish consisting of three different types of vegetables placed inside each other

There’s no shame in not eating turkey at Thanksgiving, or ham at Christmas—that is, when you have Butternut Squash Vegducken. This vegetable stunner of an entrée is an entirely meatless take on turducken, with butternut squash, eggplant, and zucchini filling in for the usual suspects.
[, October 2015]

About new words

New words – 4 December 2017

Dan Dalton/Caiaimage/Getty

Black Fiveday noun [C, usually singular]
/blæk ˈfaɪv.deɪ/
the five-day period around Thanksgiving, when shops reduce the price of goods in order to attract customers

But part of the reason for the soaring spending figures is because retailers are stretching the November promotional period for longer than ever before. Last year saw the introduction of the ghastly “Black Fiveday” to festive vocabulary as retailers started to discount from five consecutive days from the Thursday before to “Cyber Monday”.
[Sunday Telegraph, 19 November 2017]

doorbuster noun [C]
UK /ˈdɔː.bʌs.təʳ/ US /ˈdɔːr.bʌs.tɚ/
an article that is sold very cheaply in order to attract customers into a shop and make them buy other, more expensive, things

This year, in-store deals may not be quite as limited because Walmart has more than tripled the number of products available compared with last holiday season. The retailer has even done away with the wristband system used to manage its high-demand, low-supply doorbuster items.
[Yahoo! Finance, 21 November 2017]

golden quarter noun [C]
UK /ˌgəʊl.dᵊn ˈkwɔː.təʳ/ US /ˌgoʊl.dᵊn ˈkwɔːr.t̬ɚ /
the three-month period from October to December when retailers usually make the most profit

“October marked yet another reversal of fortunes for retailers, reinforcing just how volatile consumer spend has been,” said Paul Martin, head of retail at KPMG. “Despite the positive picture last month, these latest figures will be a real disappointment and not the start to the golden quarter retailers had hoped for.”
[, 7 November 2017]

About new words

New words – 27 November 2017


screen fatigue noun [U]
/ˈskriːn fəˌtiːg/
the situation where people feel they spend too much time reading text on an e-reader, tablet, etc.

Britons are abandoning the ebook at an alarming rate with sales of consumer titles down almost a fifth last year, as “screen fatigue” helped fuel a five-year high in printed book sales. 
[The Guardian, 27 April 2017]

Rovable noun [C]
UK /ˈrəʊvə.bᵊl/ US /ˈroʊvə.bᵊl/
a very small robot that can be worn on your body and carry out a number of different tasks

In the future, the researchers imagine that Rovables might shrink to the size of a fingernail. Picture lots of robots scurrying around your clothes on a programmed routine: onto your limbs to track your movements at the gym, up to your neck to let you take an incoming call, then over to your back to flash lights while you bike home from work in the dark.
[, 21 October 2016]

digital notepad noun [C]
UK /ˈdɪdʒ.ɪ.tᵊl ˈnəʊt.pæd/ US /ˈdɪdʒ.ə.t̬ᵊl ˈnoʊt.pæd/
a small computer with a special screen you can write or draw on, using a type of pen called a stylus

The ReMarkable digital notepad produced by a Norwegian company is a revolution on the tablets market … The first digital paper tablet for reading, writing and sketching was produced. ReMarkable has a digital paper display without screen glare, and a higher-friction surface. 
[, 1 June 2017]

About new words

New words – 20 November 2017

Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty

femoir noun [C]
a book or other piece of writing based on a female writer’s personal knowledge and experiences, written from a feminist viewpoint

Tracey Spicer says women must speak up on entrenched gender discrimination, take charge of personal finances and shun gruelling beauty routines. The esteemed journalist and author of the self dubbed ‘femoir’ The Good Girl Stripped Bare has shaken off internet trolls and continues to call out sexism in the workplace.
[, 27 April 2017]

equel noun [C]
a book that features some elements of a previous book, such as characters and places, but tells a separate story that is not connected

So … is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? It’s neither. In fact, The Book of Dust is… an ‘equel’. It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognise, and characters they’ve met before.
[, 14 February 2017]

flybrary noun [C]
UK /ˈflaɪ.brər.i/ US /ˈflaɪ.brer.i/
a collection of books at an airport or on an aeroplane that people can borrow to read during their flight

Easyjet is placing thousands of children’s classics on planes during the summer holidays … in an initiative it calls “flybraries” … Kids can read the books on the flight (let’s hope, for a change, for delays, so they can finish) and, when they land, download free samples of other classics for the beach.
[The Sunday Times, 23 July 2017]

About new words

New words – 13 November 2017

Degui Adil/EyeEm/Getty

macroscope noun [C]
UK /ˈmæk.rə.skəʊp/ US /ˈmæk.rə.skoʊp/
a system of computer programs and mathematical instructions that will enable very large amounts of data about the world to be analysed and understood

In five years, we will use machine-learning algorithms and software to help us organize the information about the physical world to help bring the vast and complex data gathered by billions of devices within the range of our vision and understanding. We call this a “macroscope” – but unlike the microscope to see the very small, or the telescope that can see far away, it is a system of software and algorithms to bring all of Earth’s complex data together to analyze it by space and time for meaning.
[, January 2017]

Continue reading “New words – 13 November 2017”

New words – 6 November 2017

a_namenko/Getty Images Plus/Getty

bubble waffle noun [C]
UK /ˈbʌb.ᵊl ˈwɒf.ᵊl/ US /ˈbʌb.ᵊl ˈwɑːf.ᵊl/
a type of food made from a mixture of milk, flour, and egg, that is cooked in a special pan whose surface forms a pattern of raised spheres and is then filled with other sweet or savoury foods

Inspired by a Hong Kong street food known as gai daan jai, this confection is continuing to make inroads around the world … Instead of a Belgian waffle’s grid, a bubble waffle, or egg waffle, consists of an interconnected hive of spheres. Think bubble wrap, but edible (and much less noisy).
[The Washington Post, 6 April 2017]

rainbow croissant noun [C]
UK /ˈreɪn.bəʊ ˈkwæs.ɒ̃/ US /ˈreɪn.boʊ kwɑːˈsɑ̃ː/
a piece of light, crescent-shaped pastry made with dough that has been dyed in a pattern of different colours

Now, a café in London has started selling rainbow croissants.The serious stylish pastry features bold shades and precise lines – and you can guarantee they’re as easy on the tastebuds as they are on the eye. The pigmented pastries have been dreamt up by Sarah Barber, a pastry chef who has luxury hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants on her culinary CV.
[, 11 May 2017]

snackadium noun [C]
a selection of snack foods arranged in the form of an American football stadium, usually served to a group of people who are watching the annual Super Bowl game

A growing fringe of snackadium builders like Mr. Aron spend days meticulously constructing elaborate football-arena models using Super Bowl party food. Guacamole end zones rest under beef-jerky goal posts. Spectator stands seat hot wings, sliders and sushi. Cocktail weenies become players with Frito helmets. Cheese blocks perched on skewers make excellent stadium lights.
[, 2 February 2017]

About new words

New words – 30 October 2017

Michael Blann/DigitalVision/Getty

manel noun [C]
a panel made up only of men

Some of my male peers in the industry joke about it, calling the consistently male dominated talks or panels ‘manels’ – recognising the distinct lack of female voices. What’s telling is that ‘manels’ are everywhere – in the boardroom, C-Suite and across the tech sector, especially finance.
[, 6 August 2015]

manfant noun [C]
an adult male who behaves like a young child

With these new manfants suddenly taking the reins of power, being a pathetic mewling mess has become socially acceptable.  ... In the US, there are the #ProudBoys, a sort of baby-man movement created for failed jocks who need constant reassurance that daddy loves them.

[The Guardian, 8 January 2017]

manosphere noun [U]
UK /ˈmæn.ə.sfɪəʳ/ US /ˈmæn.ə.sfɪr/
a loose network of websites, blogs and online forums on issues related to men and masculinity, normally with an anti-feminist perspective

But within just a few months, Futrelle was attracting a significant female audience: women eager to learn what men were getting up to online but put off by the prospect of trudging through the manosphere themselves.
[New York Times, 13 June 2017]

About new words

New words – 23 October 2017

Tracy Packer Photography/Moment Open/Getty

dopamine dressing noun [U]
UK /ˌdəʊ.pə.miːn ˈdres.ɪŋ/ US /ˌdoʊ.pə.miːn ˈdres.ɪŋ/
the activity of wearing brightly coloured, relaxed clothes in order to be happier

So-called dopamine dressing is everywhere this season. Based on the idea that wearing overtly fun clothes can help lift your mood in depressing times, it begs the question: can wearing “happy clothes” really make us more happy?
[, 3 February 2017]

gorpcore noun [U]
UK /ˈgɔːp.kɔːʳ/ US /ˈgɔːrp.kɔːʳ/
a fashionable way of dressing inspired by clothes worn for outdoor activities such as camping and hiking

For a festival as famed for its mud as its music, this actually makes a lot of sense. Glastonbury gave us Hunter Wellingtons as a trend. Whether or not gorpcore will reach those heights probably depends on whether Kate Moss and Alexa Chung take it up.
[, 20 June 2017]

Shuber noun [C]
UK /ˈʃuː.bəʳ/ US /ˈʃuː.bɚ/
a shoe, usually one with a very high heel, that is too uncomfortable to walk in and so requires the wearer to take a taxi (an Uber) to and from home

Stupid stilettos are back, unfortunately. Just as I have adjusted to flats, the new heel trend is the ‘Shuber’ … Where once a ‘driver at your beck and call’ was reserved for the rich and famous, we can now all feel like Posh, with Uber and Hailo, and jump in a nearby car in less than two minutes. So voila – no need to walk – and those incredibly lean heels needn’t be a problem.
[ (blog), 19 May 2017]

About new words