New words – 20 January 2020

georgeclerk / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

urban creep noun [U]
UK /ˌɜː.bən.ˈkriːp/ US /ˌɝː.bən.ˈkriːp/
the gradual loss of green space in a city that happens when gardens are paved over, house extensions are built etc.

Urban creep can cause problems because it reduces the amount of open land which can absorb rain water, putting extra pressure on drains … Researchers studying aerial images found that 11 hectares of green land in the capital is being lost annually, more than six hectares of it through urban creep. About one hectare is being gained each year through the regeneration of former industrial areas.
[www.bbc.co.uk, 14 October 2019]

pocket park noun [C]
UK /ˈpɒk.ɪt.pɑːk/ US /ˈpɑː.kɪt.pɑːrk/
a small area of parkland built on an empty piece of land

Unloved urban spaces will be converted into small “pocket parks” with a new round of Government funding … Community groups can now bid for new parks or reimagined spaces to be converted into play areas and vegetable patches. The Government will spend £1.3 million as an extension of its pocket parks plus scheme, which began in December 2018.
[Sunday Telegraph, 27 October 2019]

smart city noun [C]
UK /ˈsmɑːt.sɪt.i/ US /ˈsmɑːrt.sɪt̬.i/
a city where information and communications technology is used to make life better for its residents

Sidewalk Labs’s plans to create a smart city in a disused area of Toronto can proceed but on a much smaller scale than it had wanted. Any data the Google-affiliate collects there must be treated as a public asset … Sidewalk Labs won an initial contract to develop the area in 2017 and promised a radical mix of offices, retail spaces and homes, with high-tech solutions to urban problems such as traffic and waste disposal.
[www.bbc.co.uk, 31 October 2019]

About new words

New words – 13 January 2020

SERGII IAREMENKO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

frozen robot syndrome noun [U]
UK /ˌfrəʊ.zᵊn.ˈrəʊ.bɒt.sɪn.drəʊm/ US /ˌfroʊ.zᵊn.ˈroʊ.bɑːt.sɪn.droʊm/
the situation that occurs when a driverless car senses an obstacle in the road and stops suddenly

A recent investigation by the Law Commission has revealed driverless motors could be stopped in its tracks [sic] by “frozen robot syndrome”. The concerning possibility would occur when the vehicle freezes in the presence of obstacles on the road, such as leaves, plastic bags or even seagulls. Software developers consulted as a part of the report even warned that unexpected weather, such as heavy snow, could cause a widespread traffic disruption.
[The Sun, 16 October 2019]

quantum supremacy noun [U]
UK /ˌkwɒn.təm.suːˈprem.ə.si/ US /ˌkwɑːn.t̬əm.suːˈprem.ə.si/
the situation where a quantum computer (= a computer that works by using the principles of quantum mechanics) is able to solve a problem that a conventional computer cannot

But it is important to note that it is also only a milestone: the real journey is much longer, and there is an awful lot left to do. Scientists are excited about the possibility of achieving quantum supremacy because of what it means about the process of creating really useful quantum computers, not necessarily as an end in itself.
[independent.co.uk, 23 October 2019]

techno-optimism noun [U]
UK /ˌtek.nəʊ.ˈɒp.tɪ.mɪ.zəm/ US /ˌtek.noʊ.’ɑːp.tə.mɪ.zəm/
the belief that technology changes the world for the better

For decades, leading voices in industry and government had subscribed to a prevailing ethos: techno-optimism. According to this notion, technological progress would ineluctably benefit humanity … Newfound access, connectivity, and freedom of expression were not only viewed as profoundly transformative, but inherently good.
[wired.com, 18 September 2019]

About new words

New words – 6 January 2020

danielzgombic / E+ / Getty Images

spite house noun [C]
/ˈspaɪt.haʊs/
a house that has been built or altered in order to annoy its owner’s neighbours, such as painting it a very bright colour or building an extension that blocks the neighbour’s view

In the UK, the most recent spite house to make the papers was the Kensington home of … a property developer who painted candy stripes on the three-storey façade of her house in 2015. She denied that the stripes were to spite neighbours who objected to her plans to demolish the £4.75m property, which she used “for storage”.
[theguardian.com, 8 September 2019]

super-home noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.pə.həʊm/ US /ˈsuː.pɚ.hoʊm/
a house that uses very little energy because it has good insulation and has been built using renewable technologies

An eco-friendly “super-home” in Birmingham which has helped its owners to slash their energy bills by a whopping 85 per cent will open to the public this weekend … Featuring cavity, internal wall and loft and floor insulation, the couple’s home has been designed to stay cool in summer and warm in winter, helping them to cut their energy bills substantially.
[bvt.org.uk [no date]]

corkitecture noun [U]
UK /ˈkɔː.kɪ.tek.tʃəʳ/ US /ˈkɔːr.kə.tek.tʃɚ/
the use of cork as a building material

Shortlisted for the 2019 Stirling prize, the annual award for the best building in Britain, Cork House by Matthew Barnett Howland, Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton takes corkitecture to another level by employing it as a total building material. Cork House is just that: a house constructed from solid blocks of expanded cork, like gingerbread or vegan Lego.
[The Observer, 28 July 2019]

About new words