New words – 12 August 2019

Francesco Carta fotografo / Moment / Getty

microstress noun [C]
UK /ˌmaɪ.krəʊ.ˈstres/ US /ˈmaɪ.kroʊ.ˌstres/
a small act or event that makes someone feel frustrated or anxious and that can combine with other similar acts or events over time to cause emotional harm

As much as we may be living our lives according to the Big Picture, it is the Small Stuff that tends to come between us… . Those tiny, daily, grrrr-type irritations, that some clever folk at Mind International have labelled microstresses. According to their poll, Brits spend the equivalent of 27 days a year worrying about microstresses – yup, that’s just under two hours a day, every day feeling tense. It’s the small stuff like losing your keys, missing a train, forgetting your gym card, running late for a meeting or your car breaking down.
[www.thinrichhappy.com, 9 February 2018]

rage room noun [C]
/ˈreɪdʒ.ˌruːm/
a room where people can pay to smash up objects with the aim of feeling less stressed afterwards

Before discovering the rage room, I tried all kinds of ways to deal with stress: karaoke, trampoline, dodgeball, the gym. Going to the gym is about getting healthy, looking good, but when I’m smashing up toasters, the intent is different. When I behave like a caveman, I leave any negativity behind.
[www.theguardian.com, 29 March 2019]

pyt exclamation
/pʊt/
a Danish word used in response to a stressful situation to tell oneself or someone else not to worry

Pyt can reduce stress because it is a sincere attempt to encourage yourself and others to not get bogged down by minor daily frustrations. One Danish business leader has suggested that knowing when to say “pyt” at work can lead to more job satisfaction.
[www.popsci.com, 1 March 2019]

About new words

The ball’s in your court now: idioms with ‘ball’

Wachira Khurimon / EyeEm / Getty Images

by Liz Walter

There are a surprising number of idioms that contain the word ‘ball’. This post looks at some of the most useful ones.

It seems appropriate to start with the idiom get/start the ball rolling, which means to do something to make an activity start or to encourage other people to do something similar to you:

I’m hoping we can all share our ideas today. Who would like to start the ball rolling? Continue reading “The ball’s in your court now: idioms with ‘ball’”

New words – 5 August 2019

Weekend Images Inc. / E+ / Getty

mommune noun [C]
UK /ˈmɒm.juːn/ US /ˈmɑː.mjuːn/
a group of mothers who live together with their children, sharing possessions and responsibilities

And so, more by accident than design, the women hit on a new domestic set-up: the “mommune” … . And for the next two years, the three of them and their six children shared their lives: Vicky in the spare room, Nicola a weekend resident and daily visitor. “We were a family,” Janet says. “We went to the supermarket together, cooked together, ate together, shared childcare. Our parents met.” The children, she adds, “became like siblings”.
[www.theguardian.com, 29 September 2018]

mumsplainer noun [C]
UK /ˈmʌm.spleɪnəʳ/  or momsplainer US /ˈmɑːm.spleɪnɚ/
a mother who gives unwanted advice or explains something about pregnancy, childbirth etc. to someone, often a pregnant woman or new parent, that he or she already understands

Just wondering… Is ‘mumsplain’ a word…. My gripe with this particular mumsplainer is she ONLY interacts with me when it is to criticise.
[twitter.com, 3 April 2017]

birth striker noun [C]
UK /ˌbɜːθ.ˈstraɪ.kəʳ/ US /ˌbɝːθ.ˈstraɪ.kɚ/
a woman who chooses not to have children because she is concerned about the world’s population being too big

My friend … is another “birth striker”, deciding when she was about 21 that she didn’t want to have children. “At the time lots of friends and family told me that as I got older, the biological clock would start ticking,” she recalls. “But actually the opposite has happened. The older I’ve got the more my decision has solidified. There are now a lot of wider issues that I’m passionate about in terms of the planet and climate change that have confirmed that decision for me.”
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 21 April 2019]

About new words

Working flat out and flagging: describing how we work

Caiaimage/Sam Edwards / Caiaimage / Getty Images

by Kate Woodford

How was your day at work or college? Was it useful (=giving positive results)? Did you get a lot done? Perhaps you had a lot of work to do but, for some reason, found it hard to get down to it (=start working with effort). Some days, we work effectively, finding it easy to concentrate. Sadly, not all days are like this! In this post we look at the language that we use to describe good days at work and bad. Continue reading “Working flat out and flagging: describing how we work”

New words – 29 July 2019

zeljkosantrac / E+ / Getty

veggie disc noun [C]
/ˈvedʒ.i.ˌdɪsk/
a type of food similar to a hamburger but not containing meat, made by pressing together small pieces of vegetables, seeds, etc. into a flat, round shape

Veggie burgers are for the chop, a Brussels committee has decreed, to be replaced by the less palatable-sounding “veggie discs” … after a vote in the European Parliament … approved a ban on producers of vegetarian food using nomenclature usually deployed to describe meat.
[www.theguardian.com, 4 April 2019]

motherless meat noun [C or U]
UK /ˌmʌð.ᵊ.ləs.ˈmiːt/ US /ˌmʌð.ɚ.ləs.ˈmiːt/
meat that has been grown in a laboratory from cells and has not come from a live animal

It’s almost certain that if and when the first generation of motherless meats arrive in grocery stores, they will not be steaks, chops, or filets. They will be meatballs, sausages, and extruded nuggets — processed foods that combine laboratory-raised cells with plant proteins, grains, and other ingredients.
[www.newfoodeceonomy.org, 30 July 2018]

bivalvegan noun [C]
/ˌbaɪ.væl.ˈviː.gən/
a vegan who eats certain types of mollusc that do not have a central nervous system and are therefore not considered to have thoughts, feel pain, etc.

Eight years on, and I now live as a bivalvegan … Choosing this diet isn’t a cop out. If I believed for two seconds that eating certain kinds of bivalve was morally wrong and harmful to the planet, I would stop consuming them tomorrow.
[www.earthedupmedia.com, 12 January 2018]

About new words

Evolving and disrupting: verbs meaning ‘change’

wildpixel / iStock / Getty Images Plus

by Kate Woodford

In a post last month, we looked at adjectives and phrases that describe change. This post will look at some of the many verbs that mean ‘change’.

A lot of ‘change’ verbs mean ‘to change slightly’, but some have additional meanings. For example, if you adapt something, you change it slightly for a different use:

Most of the vegetarian options can be adapted for vegans. Continue reading “Evolving and disrupting: verbs meaning ‘change’”

New words – 22 July 2019

fotostorm / E+ / Getty

mumoir noun [C]
UK /ˈmʌm.wɑːʳ/ US /ˈmʌm.wɑːr/
a book or other piece of writing based on the writer’s personal knowledge of being a mother

Why this sudden rush of “mumoirs” now? What need are they fulfilling in our society in the late 2010s? Perhaps one purpose is an antidote to the pastel-hued fantasies of motherhood on Instagram, the impossible pressure to “have it all” and present an image of unflustered perfection.
[www.independent.co.uk, 19 April 2019]

chat fiction noun [U]
/ˌtʃæt.ˈfɪk.ʃən/
a type of story that is divided into short sections and delivered to the reader by text message

To be sure, people who read chat fiction are generally not reading Game of Thrones–length tales. The average story length on Hooked is around 1,300 words — intentionally short, to be quickly consumed on the go. But they also offer many serialized stories — essentially “chapters” — so you can get a meatier read.
[www.ozy.com, 22 March 2019]

book stuffing noun [U]
/ˈbʊk.stʌf.ɪŋ/
(of a self-published author) the fraudulent practice of adding extra, usually irrelevant content to a book in order to take advantage of a system that pays the author per word read

Book stuffing is when authors take all their works and stuff them into the back of every other book to artificially inflate their page count. Some authors even stuff in newsletters: the goal is to inflate the page count as much as possible, and thus the payout on KU page reads. Said books are usually offered at 99 cents or free, as the author is looking to get all their money out of KU.
[www.madgeniusclub, 8 April 2019]

About new words

My very best friend: talking about friendship

Sam Edwards / Caiaimage / Getty Images

by Liz Walter

July 30th is the United Nations’ International Day of Friendship, so this post is all about words and phrases for talking about friends and friendship.

A friend can be anyone you like and spend time with, so we use adjectives to say how much we like or love someone. A good friend or a close friend is someone you spend a lot of time with and care very much about, and your best friend is the person you love most of all:

I’d like you to meet my good friend Mateo.

He doesn’t have many close friends.

Sarah is my very best friend.

Continue reading “My very best friend: talking about friendship”

New words – 15 July 2019

Kenneth_Keifer / iStock / Getty Images Plus

agritecture noun [U]
UK /ˈæg.riˌtek.tʃəʳ/ US /ˈæg.rə.tek.tʃɚ/
the art and practice of designing and making buildings that are inspired by farm buildings, or this architectural style

Architects are not only converting period barns; they are being asked to design contemporary homes that echo grain silos and storage units clad in undulating tin. The rise of agritecture can be attributed to a rebellion against showy homes. While much of the architecture world wants to go bigger, shinier and more tricksy, some practices are heading in the other direction, where restraint and modesty lead to a home blending in with its location.
[The Times, 6 April 2018]

landscraper noun [C]
UK /ˈlændˌskreɪ.pəʳ/ US /ˈlændˌskreɪ.pɚ/
a very large building that takes up a lot of space on the land

KONE Corporation, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, has won an order to equip Google’s new UK headquarters building, KGX1. The 11-story-tall and 312-meter-long “landscraper” will run parallel to the platforms of London’s King’s Cross railway station in England and will sit at the heart of a campus for 7,000 Google employees.
[news.cision.com, 6 March 2019]

superblock noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.pə.blɒk/ US /ˈsuː.pɚ.blɑːk/
a space in a city made up of several blocks, where only local traffic is permitted and the needs of the people who live there are given priority

On Barcelona’s superblocks, local access for motor vehicles is still permitted, but through traffic is not. The streets are designed to make drivers feel like they are visitors, with narrow rights-of-way for cars. Almost all car traffic is local residents or people with personal business on the block. Without dangerous car traffic overrunning the streets, generating noise and pollution, superblocks are full of life.
[vimeo.com, 3 August 2018]

About new words

Black sheep and cans of worms: animal idioms, part 4

pkanchana / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Kate Woodford

This post – the last in our popular ‘animal idioms’ series – looks at idioms featuring animals that range in size from an elephant to a worm. Most of today’s idioms have a rather negative meaning.

Let’s start with the elephant idiom. If people know that a problem exists but they find it too embarrassing or difficult to talk about, the problem may be described as the elephant in the room:

We all know that Tom will have to retire at some point, but no one mentions it – it’s the elephant in the room. Continue reading “Black sheep and cans of worms: animal idioms, part 4”