In this, the second of two year-end posts, I look at words associated with some major events and trends of 2018 from the perspective of the US. I’ve picked just six topics from an action-packed year, and I’ve tried to go for variety rather than simply importance, since the purpose of these posts is to provide useful vocabulary, not to report on the news or provide an opinion on it. Continue reading “Wildfires and mid-term elections: a look back at 2018 in the US”
tsundoku noun [U]
UK /tsʊn.ˈdəʊ.kuː/ US /tsʊn.ˈdoʊ.kuː/
the activity of buying a lot of books that you never have time to read
Strictly speaking, the word doku does mean reading, so tsundoku should probably only be used when discussing literature. But you might not be surprised to know some people have applied the term to other aspects of their lives. In a popular post on Reddit’s community dedicated to books, people discussed how this term could explain their relationship with films, television shows and even clothing.
[www.bbc.co.uk, 29 July 2018]
wabi-sabi noun [U]
the Japanese concept of appreciating the beauty in old and imperfect things
As we start to emerge from the cosy cocoon of winter, it’s time to embrace wabi-sabi, the spring interiors trend causing a stir. Wabi-sabi is about embracing a way of living that is authentic, simple and close to nature.
[www.t3.com, 11 January 2018]
kakeibo noun [U]
UK /kæ.ˈkeɪbəʊ/ US /kæ.ˈkeɪ.boʊ/
a Japanese approach to managing your money that involves using a journal to plan and monitor your spending each month
Kakeibo is an analog method of budgeting that’s been used in Japanese households for over 100 years. It combines elements of keeping a money journal, a planner, and a ledger all in one. This creates a system that helps you set, track, and achieve savings goals.
[www.studentloanhero.com, 13 June 2018]
cart abandonment noun [U]
UK /ˈkɑːt.əbæn.dən.mənt/ US /ˈkɑːrt.əbæn.dən.mənt/
the practice of adding items to your online shopping cart on an e-commerce site but leaving the site without making the purchase
Without understanding why customers abandon carts, it is impossible to reduce cart abandonment. We’ve collected the top 10 reasons for cart abandonment. We’ll be breaking down each cause in detail, and provide a quick overview of how you can eliminate cart abandonment and recover sales.
[www.barilliance.com, 28 February 2018]
recommerce noun [U]
UK /ˌriːˈkɒm.ɜːs/ US /ˌriːˈkɑː.mɝːs/
the business of buying and selling used items, such as electronics and clothes, on the internet
Recommerce appeals to the aspirational and value-conscious nature of the Indian consumer. The feeling of status elevation by using a better-quality brand or product at a reasonable price point is helping this segment grow. Even more so, the large number of first-time buyers, students, and technophiles who want to upgrade their gadgets find great value in refurbished smartphones.
[www.techinasia.com, 13 February 2018]
UK /ˌpeɪ.wɒt.jəˈkæn/ US /ˌpeɪ.wɑːt.jəˈkæn/
relating to a way of selling goods that allows the shopper to pay only what they can afford
In a bright, airy Toronto market, the shelves are laden with everything from organic produce to pre-made meals and pet food. What shoppers won’t find, however, is price tags. In what is believed to be a North American first, everything in this grocery store is pay-what-you-can.
[www.guardian.com, 25 June 2018]
daycation noun [C]
a day trip, usually to a hotel or similar resort, where you use the facilities for the day then go home at night
As the name implies, a daycation is about getting away from your hectic life and enjoying all the amenities of a real vacation without all the extra travel or expenses. The service is growing in popularity in cities like Miami where luxury pools and spas are a staple at just about every beachside hotel.
[www.porthole.com, 17 May 2018] Continue reading “New words – 26 November 2018”
free-range parenting noun [U]
UK /ˌfriː.reɪndʒ.ˈpeə.rᵊn.tɪŋ/ US /ˌfriː.reɪndʒ.ˈper.ᵊn.tɪŋ/
a way of raising children that involves allowing them to do many things without being supervised in order to encourage them to become independent and responsible
Free-range parenting isn’t about being permissive or uninvolved. Instead, it’s about allowing kids to have the freedom to experience natural consequences of their behavior — when it’s safe to do so. It’s also about ensuring kids have the skills they need to become responsible adults.
[www.verywellfamily.com, 24 March 2018]
maternymoon noun [C]
UK /məˈtɜː.ni.muːn/ US /məˈtɝː.ni.muːn/
a holiday taken by a family while the mother is on maternity leave from work
For us, we were quite happy with a driving holiday overseas for our first maternymoon, however, we’ve decided on a relaxing, tropical holiday closer to home for our second one. Yep, you heard right – a second one!
[www.nowtolove.com.au, 16 August 2016]
rental family noun [C]
UK /ˈren.tᵊl.fæm.ᵊl.i/ US /ˈren.t̬ᵊl.fæm.ᵊl.i/
actors who are paid to pretend to be someone’s family members in order to provide companionship or to accompany the person to social events such as parties and weddings
Yūichi Ishii, the founder of Family Romance, told me that he and his “cast” actively strategize in order to engineer outcomes like Nishida’s, in which the rental family makes itself redundant in the client’s life. His goal, he said, is “to bring about a society where no one needs our service.”
[New Yorker, 30 April 2018]
brain belt noun [C]
an area of a country that attracts many intelligent people to work in modern industries and areas of new technology
The chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission has called for billions of pounds of infrastructure investment in the Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge ‘brain belt’, which he said could add hundreds of billions to the national economy.
[Transport Network, 17 November 2017]
headtrepreneur noun [C]
UK /ˌhed.trə.prəˈnɜːʳ/ US /ˌhed.trə.prəˈnɝː/
a headteacher who looks for and develops opportunities to raise money to provide funds for their school
Enterprising headteachers are generating hundreds of thousands of pounds for their schools to counter budget cuts. One “headtrepreneur” estimated that he brought in extra money, resources and business donations worth about £300,000 a year. Others are renting out facilities and buildings, selling staff’s professional expertise to other schools or companies or drumming up donations and money from local businesses.
[The Times, 22 June 2018]
T level noun [C]
a public exam in a technical or vocational subject, taken in England by people aged 17 or 18
The first schools and colleges that will teach new technical qualifications called T levels was announced this week, as Theresa May said that … “T levels provide a high-quality, technical alternative to A levels, ensuring thousands of people across the country have the skills we need to compete globally – a vital part of our modern industrial strategy.”
[The Times, 22 June 2018]
mono meal noun [C]
UK /ˈmɒn.əʊ.mɪəl/ US /ˈmɑː.noʊ.mɪəl/
a meal made up of only one food item (usually a type of fruit or vegetable), thought by some people to have health benefits
To count as a true mono meal, it also means that one isn’t drinking anything during the meal. For instance, if you decide to have a bowl of mangoes alone that would be a mono meal: most people have had a mono meal when consuming things like fruits or bread without any spread on top.
[www.tapmagonline.com, 7 January 2017]
speed mating noun [U]
UK /ˈspiːd.ˌmeɪ.tɪŋ/ US /ˈspiːd.ˌmeɪ.t̬ɪŋ/
a way of meeting new friends that involves attending an event at which you talk to a lot of people for a short time to see if you like them
But going to an event such as speed mating is not without stigma. Olivia is a pseudonym because she knows that if she used her real name her students “would take the mick out of me”. After the event, she is exhausted: “I didn’t expect it to be so full-on … It’s also just reassuring to know I’m not the only person to feel like this. It’s not sad and it’s not pathetic, being 29 and not having friends in a new city.”
[The Guardian, 5 May 2018]
cheating mafia noun [U]
UK /ˈtʃiːt.ɪŋ.ˈmæf.i.ə/ US /ˈtʃiːt.ɪŋ.ˈmɑː.fi.ə/
a system in which students can pay to receive help to pass their exams in order to increase their chances of securing a place at a good university
Students need top marks — sometimes over 99 percent — to get into the country’s highly oversubscribed universities and so examiners are bribed, answer sheets leaked and exam rooms infiltrated. No more, said Neena Srivastava, secretary of the Uttar Pradesh board of education, who described the cheating mafia as part of organized crime. “We are fighting against this evil. We have to cleanse the state of this menace.”
[Washington Post, 9 February 2018]
plastic footprint noun [C]
a measurement of the amount of plastic that someone uses and then discards, considered in terms of the resulting damage caused to the environment
As such, Greenpeace suggests a number of small changes people can make to reduce their plastic footprint. The first steps involve avoiding buying items such as plastic bottles of water and carrying a permanent or reusable one instead. It also advises using a refillable cup when buying takeaway coffee to help cut down on the estimated 2.5 billion disposable cups discarded every year in the UK.
[The Telegraph, 10 January 2018]