New words – 28 December 2020

Henrik Sorensen / DigitalVision / Getty

pub desk noun [C]
/ˌpʌb.ˈdesk/
a table in a pub that someone can use as a desk instead of working at home, usually in return for an hourly or daily payment

After seven months of working from home the cabin fever is starting to set in for many people … Now savvy pub and hotel owners who are facing a huge crisis in the hospitality industry have hit on a new trend to revive their coffers and our flagging attention spans – pub desks. Why camp out with your laptop in the spare bedroom when you could be in a cosy pub with snacks and drinks on hand and probably significantly better wifi than you have at home?
[www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk, 29 October 2020]

chumocracy noun [C]
UK /tʃʌ.ˈmɒk.rə.si/ US /tʃʌ.ˈmɑː.krə.si/
the situation in which someone important gives jobs to friends rather than to independent people who have the necessary skills and experience

Cronyism. Chumocracy. One rule for them, another for everyone else. Describe it however you want, but the past few months has painted a damning picture of the Tories’ slapdash approach to governing – one that is wasting taxpayers’ money and ignoring due process, all while placing favours for their friends above delivering for our local communities.
[www.independent.co.uk, 22 November 2020]

chronoleadership noun [U]
UK /ˌkrɒn.ə.ˈliː.də.ʃɪp/ US /ˌkrɑː.nə.ˈliː.dɚ.ʃɪp/
a way of organizing your working hours around the times of day when you naturally feel most awake

Flexible work schedules are currently not the norm, but sleep experts believe they should be. For 15 years, Camilla Kring has run B Society, which advises companies around the world on how to implement “chronoleadership” – the idea that they should adapt their work patterns to suit the sleeping schedules of their employees, rather than the other way around.
[The Observer Magazine, 31 May 2020]

About new words

New words – 21 December 2020

Bloomberg Creative Photos / Getty

black sky event noun [C]
/ˌblæk.skaɪ.ɪˈvent/
a serious event, such as a cyberattack or a natural disaster, that causes a widespread power cut

The National Commission on Grid Resilience, … convened to assess our ability to prevent or respond to a so-called black sky event, concludes in a report released Thursday that the country has fallen behind. The danger of a nation gone dark is rising.
[washingtonpost.com, 15 August 2020]

the Internet of Behaviour noun [S]
UK /ˌɪn.tə.net.əv.bɪˈheɪ.vjəʳ/ US /ˌɪn.t̬ɚ.net.əv.bɪˈheɪ.vjɚ/
a way of using the internet to connect computing devices and use the data from them to track people’s activities

The research and advisory firm says that by 2023, 40 percent of people worldwide will likely be having their individual activities tracked digitally by this Internet of Behaviour. “The Internet of Behaviour captures the ‘digital dust’ of people’s lives from a variety of sources, and that information can be used by public or private entities to influence behaviour,” says Gartner.
[istart.com.au, 29 October 2020]

digital republic noun [C]
UK /ˌdɪdʒ.ɪ.tᵊl.rɪˈpʌb.lɪk/ US /ˌdɪdʒ.ə.t̬ᵊl.rɪˈpʌb.lɪk/
a country whose citizens can access almost all government services on the internet

In Estonia, the only public service not available online is marriage. Dubbed the “digital republic”, Estonia has the most advanced e-government in the world and nurtures a vibrant start-up community. Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia, joins Azeem Azhar to explore how … this digital republic is navigating the Covid-19 pandemic.

[Harvard Business Review, 20 April 2020]

About new words

New words – 14 December 2020

Westend61 / Getty

comfort spending noun [U]
UK /ˈkʌm.fət.ˌspendɪŋ/ US /ˈkʌm.fɚt.ˌspendɪŋ/
the act of buying nice things for yourself in order to feel better when you are stressed or unhappy

Now it’s almost fall, and we’ve graduated from hoarding toilet paper to making midnight online purchases that WalletHub calls “comfort spending.” It helps, somehow, to know that choices, even frivolous ones, are still possible. Maybe you can’t control a virus, but you can control Amazon Prime.
[houstonchronicle.com, 10 September 2020]

shecession noun [C]
/ʃiːˈseʃ.ᵊn/
an economic recession that affects mostly women

One of the unique aspects of the current recession is the way it’s impacting women: though men are more likely to die of Covid-19, the pandemic’s toll on employment is heavier for women. While the 1970s marked the start of “mancession” periods in industries like construction, the current “shecession” is heavily affecting sectors like hospitality and retail.
[www.bbc.com/worklife, 27 October 2020]

mortgage prisoner noun [C]
UK /ˈmɔː.gɪdʒ.ˌprɪz.ᵊn.əʳ/ US /ˈmɔːr.gɪdʒ.ˌprɪz.ᵊn.ɚ/
someone who is unable to transfer their mortgage to a lender that offers lower interest rates because the rules for borrowing have become stricter or their house is worth less than they owe

Mortgage prisoners are customers who have previously been unable to switch mortgages despite being up-to-date with their payments. The FCA changed its rules last year to allow lenders to assess affordability based on a mortgage prisoner’s track record of making mortgage payments if they are not looking to move house, or borrow more.
[ftadviser.com, 26 October 2020]

About new words

New words – 7 December 2020

BSIP / Universal Images Group / Getty

super pea noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.pə.piː/ US /ˈsuː.pɚ.piː/
a type of pea that is thought to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by helping to control blood sugar levels

A type of wrinkled ‘super pea’ may help control blood sugar levels and could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, suggests a new study. The research … suggests incorporating the peas into foods, in the form of whole pea seeds or flour, may help tackle the global type 2 diabetes epidemic.
[imperial.ac.uk, 26 October 2020]

polypill noun [C]
UK /ˈpɒl.i.pɪl/ US /ˈpɑː.li.pɪl/
a pill that contains several different drugs

A “polypill” packed with four different medications to treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol can cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes by up to 40 per cent when taken with aspirin, a study has suggested.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 14 November 2020]

inflammageing noun [U]
/ˌɪn.fləˈmeɪ.dʒ.ɪŋ/
a quickening of the ageing process caused by inflammation in the body

If you’re stressed, your diet is out of whack, and your skin is feeling the effects of the colder weather, chances are you might be “inflammageing”. The beauty buzzword describes how an excess of inflammation – the body’s natural immune response to external aggressors – accelerates the skin’s ageing process.
[vogue.co.uk, 11 October 2020]

About new words

New words – 30 November 2020

Julia Davila-Lampe / Moment / Getty

awe walk noun [C]
UK /ˈɔː.wɔːk/ US /ˈɑː.wɑːk/
a walk outdoors during which the person walking makes a conscious effort to look at the objects, views etc. around them

Consciously watching for small wonders in the world around you during an otherwise ordinary walk could amplify the mental health benefits of the stroll, according to an interesting new psychological study of what the study’s authors call “awe walks.” In the study, people who took a fresh look at the objects, moments and vistas that surrounded them during brief, weekly walks felt more upbeat and hopeful in general than walkers who did not.
[nytimes.com, 1 October 2020]

bee broker noun [C]
UK /ˈbiː.brəʊ.kəʳ/ US /ˈbiː.brəʊ.kɚ/
someone who organizes the moving of bees from where they are kept in their hives to where they will be needed to pollinate trees and crops, and to ensure this is done safely

The Monsons don’t own these bees. The father-and-son team are bee brokers who serve as the middle men between beekeepers scattered throughout the eastern states and almond growers, facilitating the rental of hives for almond pollination, representing beekeepers to ensure their hives are safe and, when required, chauffeuring them from one job site to the next.
[junctionjournalism.com, 20 October 2020]

wildbelt noun [C, usually singular]
/ˈwaɪld.belt/
an area of land where building and other development is not allowed, so that nature can be protected and restored

A new “wildbelt” designation protecting land that is being restored for nature must be included in the UK government’s planning reforms, it has been urged … This wildbelt designation would enable new land that currently does not do much for wildlife to be protected, so efforts to create or restore natural habitat or rewild the area are secure from future changes to land use.
[theecologist.org, 17 September 2020]

About new words

New words – 23 November 2020

VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty

genetic scissors noun [plural]
UK /dʒəˈnet.ɪk.ˈsɪz.əz/ US /dʒəˈnet̬.ɪk.ˈsɪz.ɚz/
a method of cutting the DNA in a cell so that it can be repaired

Researchers need to modify genes in cells if they are to find out about life’s inner workings. This used to be time-consuming, difficult and sometimes impossible work. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors, it is now possible to change the code of life over the course of a few weeks.
[nobelprize.org, 7 October 2020]

lyfe noun [U]
/laɪf/, /lɔɪf/
any form of life, including but not limited to the human, animal and plant life we are aware of

“Lyfe” is a recent scientific coinage defined as any system that combines four processes: “dissipation, autocatalysis, homeostasis, and learning”. Life in the familiar sense is merely “the instance of lyfe that we are familiar with on Earth”, but other much weirder types might exist.
[www.theguardian.com, 6 August 2020]

gigafactory noun [C]
/ˌgɪg.ə.ˈfæk.tᵊr.i/
a very large factory where batteries for electric vehicles are made

A £1.2bn project to build Britain’s first ‘gigafactory’ to supply electric batteries for the UK car industry could unravel without changes to UK state aid rules, according to the company’s chief executive.
[telegraph.co.uk, 4 October 2020]

About new words

New words – 16 November 2020

Image Source / DigitalVision / Getty

minimony noun [C]
/ˈmɪnə.mə.ni/
a small wedding ceremony that is held instead of, or before, a bigger celebration

Minimonies are a good compromise for couples who’ve been forced to postpone their weddings due to … COVID-19. A minimony is a wonderful way to honor and celebrate your original wedding date. You can choose to get legally married at your minimony even if you still plan to host a larger celebration at a later time.
[thebudgetsavvybride.com, no date]

microwedding noun [C]
UK /ˈmaɪ.krəʊ.wed.ɪŋ/ US /ˈmaɪ.kroʊ.wed.ɪŋ/
a wedding to which only a small number of guests are invited

Think of a microwedding as a cross between an elopement and a big, traditional wedding … “More is not always necessarily more,” says renowned event planner Stefanie Cove. “A microwedding is for the couple who wants to really focus and spend the majority of their budget on the smaller details, whereas it might be difficult to replicate the same experience for, say, 200 guests.”
[theknot.com, 6 May 2020]

divorce tourism noun [U]
UK /dɪˈvɔːs.tʊə.rɪ.zᵊm/ US /dɪˈvɔːrs.tʊr.ɪ.zᵊm/
the activity of going to another country to take advantage of its divorce laws

Russia’s richest man, Vladmir Potanin, won a London court ruling as part of a long-running legal battle with his former wife after a judge said the English courts shouldn’t be used for “divorce tourism.” The couple divorced in Russia in 2014 and Natalia Potanina had applied to the court for a further award, which would have far outstripped the largest payout in a U.K. divorce.
[bloomberg.com, 8 November 2019]

About new words

New words – 9 November 2020

NicolasMcComber / E+ / Getty Images
mancom noun [C]
UK /ˈmæn.kɒm/ US /ˈmæn.kɑːm/
a romantic comedy film in which the story is seen from the viewpoint of a male character

As men are now being encouraged to talk more and be more open with our feelings, there seems to be a correlation with the rise of the ‘mancom’. That’s a male romantic comedy, as if you didn’t know.
[Sunday Telegraph, 20 September 2020]

Kindie noun [U]
/ˈkɪn.di/
a style of music that appeals equally to children and adults and that is mainly written and performed by independent musicians who do not work for a large music company

In Germany, Baked Beans are the latest exponents of a prospering trend of “Kindie” bands that are wielding serious commercial clout in a music industry transformed by online streaming services.
[The Observer, 12 April 2020]

quit lit noun [U]
/ˈkwɪt.lɪt/
a type of book that gives advice on how to stop drinking alcohol; or a type of book that discusses the experience of resigning from one’s job in academia

Once you start reading quit lit – you can’t help but keep seeking more. As a voracious reader, I get it. Without further ado, I’m bringing you the ultimate quit lit book list along with a few recommendations from other genres that can help continue your journey of discovery.
[thisnakedmind.com, 31 July 2020]

If you’re reading quit lit, you’ve likely been in higher education long enough to have experienced the disillusionment of the academic job market. You understand how universities work and see a need for transformation in the academic job market, in the use of contingent faculty and graduate student labor, and in the structure of PhD programs.
[beyondprof.com, 7 March 2020]

About new words

New words – 2 November 2020

Glasshouse Images / The Image Bank / Getty Images
goldfish generation noun [U]

UK /ˈgəʊld.fɪʃ.ˌdʒen.əˈreɪ.ʃᵊn/ US /ˈgoʊld.fɪʃ.ˌdʒen.əˈreɪ.ʃᵊn/
a way of referring to the group of people who have grown up with smartphones and other technology and have a poor memory and attention span as a result

As a result, it’s feared, both our memories and our concentration are weaker … We have become, it seems, the goldfish generation, yes, the attention span of a goldfish. And it’s not just adults we should be worried about — there’s growing concern about the impact of smart devices on our kids’ brains, concentration levels, and memory capacity too.
[irishexaminer.com, 30 January 2020]

green swan noun [C]
UK /ˌgriːn.ˈswɒn/ US /ˌgriːn.ˈswɑːn/
a very serious event, especially one that causes disruption to the world’s financial markets, that is caused by the effects of climate change

The green swan is different: it graphically describes the sense of urgency now evident in banking boardrooms about global warming, the dire state of the planet and the consequent effects on the finance sector.
[climatenewsnetwork.net, 1 January 2020]

wonderchicken noun [C]
UK /ˈwʌn.də.tʃɪk.ɪn/ US /ˈwʌn.dɚ.tʃɪk.ɪn/
a prehistoric bird that is the oldest known ancestor of today’s ducks and chickens

The animal, affectionately dubbed the ‘wonderchicken’ by the international team of scientists that analysed the fossil, lived 66.7 million years ago, just 700,000 years before the asteroid impact that killed off all non-avian dinosaurs.
[www.nationalgeographic.co.uk, 19 March 2020]

About new words

New words – 26 October 2020

Peter Cade / Stone / Getty

Blue Health noun [U]
/ˌbluːˈhelθ/
the benefits to your physical and mental health that come from spending time in, on, or near water

The healing power of water is a phenomenon now being labelled “Blue Health”, and is one that scientists are starting to examine in earnest. One of the biggest research projects is led by the European Centre for Environment and Human Health based at the University of Exeter. It involves more than 90 experts across the continent, and is due to report on the bulk of its findings at the end of the year.
[telegraph.co.uk, 15 August 2020]

grounding noun [U]
/ˈgraʊn.dɪŋ/
an activity that involves direct contact with the Earth, such as walking barefoot outdoors, thought by some people to increase physical and mental health

The simplest and most natural method of grounding is to go outdoors and place your bare feet and hands directly on the earth—many people choose to go for a barefoot walk in the park or on the beach. (A note: Walking barefoot in your home, where minimally conductive or nonconductive materials like concrete foundations and hardwood floors insulate us from the earth’s electric potential, will not have the same effect.)
[www.goop.com, no date]

empowerment space noun [C]
UK /ɪmˈpaʊə.mənt.speɪs/ US /ɪmˈpaʊ.ɚ.mənt.speɪs/
a place where people can attend different types of classes and workshops in order to improve their mental and emotional wellbeing

Britain is finally catching on to one of the biggest trends from America’s east coast: “empowerment spaces” … inspired by cult luxury wellness hubs such as NYC’s The Well. In the UK, an emporium dedicated to mental health called the Soke will open in Chelsea on September 28. Based in a five-storey townhouse, it will offer services inclusing psychiatry, psychotherapy and counselling, as well as leadership development.
[Sunday Times, 6 September 2020]

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