New words – 20 September 2021

Peter Dazeley / The Image Bank / Getty

immunity debt noun [U]
UK /ɪˈmjuː.nə.ti.det/ US /ɪˈmjuː.nə.t̬i.det/
the situation where people have been avoiding exposure to the Covid-19 virus and have therefore not developed immunity to other viruses, causing larger, more serious outbreaks of illness later

New Zealand hospitals are experiencing the payoff of “immunity debt” created by Covid-19 lockdowns, with wards flooded by babies with a potentially-deadly respiratory virus, doctors have warned … The “immunity debt” phenomenon occurs because measures like lockdowns, hand-washing, social distancing and masks are not only effective at controlling Covid-19. They also suppress the spread of other illnesses that transmit in a similar way, including the flu, common cold, and lesser-known respiratory illnesses like RSA.
[theguardian.com, 8 July 2021]

pingdemic noun [C usually singular]
/ˌpɪŋ.ˈdem.ɪk/
the situation where a very large number of people have received an alert on their phone telling them that they must self-isolate as they have been in contact with someone who has Covid-19, causing problems for businesses and services as they cannot go to work

With case numbers rising sharply in England as restrictions are lifted, the country has seen what has been dubbed as a “pingdemic”, with hundreds of thousands of people told to stay at home after being deemed to have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
[standard.co.uk, 28 July 2021]

vaccine nationalism noun [U]
/ˌvæk.siːn.ˈnæʃ.ᵊn.ᵊl.ɪ.zᵊm/
the situation where a country tries to buy supplies of a vaccine before or instead of other, usually poorer, countries

This “vaccine nationalism,” in which countries prioritize their domestic needs at the expense of others, may have helped accelerate efforts to develop such drugs, but it is already showing its limits. With wealthy countries claiming the lion’s share of prospective doses for themselves, and with global efforts to equalize vaccine distribution facing enduring unilateralism and limited resources, a coronavirus vaccine returning the world to something resembling “normal” could take considerable time—perhaps even longer than it needs to.
[theatlantic.com, 8 December 2020]

About new words

New words – 13 September 2021

Flashpop / DigitalVision / Getty

vitamin S noun [U]
UK /ˌvɪt.ə.mɪn.ˈes/ US /ˌvaɪ.t̬ə.mɪn.ˈes/
social contact with other people, considered to be as good for your health as the vitamins in food

Someone looking for a quick infusion of vitamin S “could go outside and try to just have one-on-one contact with other people; go to a park, sit on a bench … Why not prepare a cup of coffee? Bring that coffee with you when you go outside, and look for a bench in the park. And before you know it, with an open attitude you’re likely to have some interaction”.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 27 March 2021]

social hangover noun [C]
UK /ˌsəʊ.ʃᵊl.ˈhæŋˌəʊ.vəʳ/ US /ˌsoʊ.ʃᵊl.ˈhæŋˌoʊ.vɚ/
a feeling of tiredness and slight illness after meeting and spending time with friends and family, especially after lockdown

The way to balance everything and minimise the social hangover will be to gradually test your capabilities. It’s important to get out there and have as much fun and social activity as you can, until you’re tired. Then we keep a bit of time for recovery, before getting out there and doing it all again. The reason we have to push sometimes is that becoming avoidant of situations is a very real possibility when trying to minimise social hangovers.
[www.gq-magazine.co.uk, 16 May 2021]

vertical drinking noun [U]
UK /ˌvɜː.tɪ.kᵊl.ˈdrɪŋ.kɪŋ/ US /ˌvɝː.t̬ə.kᵊl.ˈdrɪŋ.kɪŋ/
drinking while standing at a bar rather than seated at a table

Fears that Scotland’s pubs would not be able to allow vertical drinking were squashed by Scottish Government officials yesterday … Scotland’s National Clinical Director confirmed to the BBC that drinking at the bar would be allowed and he suggested that clubbers would not be required to wear masks, although he did advise pubs to consider table service or other measures if overcrowding was likely to be an issue.
[dramscotland.co.uk, 4 August 2021]

About new words

New words – 6 September 2021

Kelly Anderson / EyeEm / Getty

cardening noun [U]
UK /ˈkɑː.dən.ɪŋ/ US /ˈkɑːr.dən.ɪŋ/
the activity of growing and looking after plants inside your car

Cardening is exactly what you think it is – gardening in cars … From planting up the glove compartment area with succulents to hanging plants instead of a car freshener, these mini gardens really push the boundaries of indoor gardening ideas. Technically, there’s nothing wrong with cardening where the plants are concerned. If your car is typically parked in a sunny spot, cacti and succulents will do just fine in there.
[realhomes.com, 25 May 2021]

moon tree noun [C]
/ˈmuːn.triː/
a tree grown from a seed that was taken to the Moon in 1971 by one of the astronauts in the Apollo 14 space mission

The subsequent transplanting of the moon trees was a jubilant mess. Some were installed on the grounds of historic buildings, including the White House; others took root in neighborhoods—in front of a public library, a junior high, a hospital, a cemetery. Most were left unmarked, destined to flourish anonymously, far outliving the astronauts who first brought them into the skies.
[orionmagazine.org, 9 July 2021]

hortpreneur noun [C]
UK /ˌhɔː.t.prəˈnɜːʳ/ US /ˌhɔːr.t̬.prəˈnɝː/
a professional gardener who earns money through activities such as advertising a company’s products, appearing on TV, attending events etc.

For hortpreneur Michael Perry, plants are everything. He goes by the moniker Mr Plant Geek and recently listed in The Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world. He also wears the Influencer of the Year crown bestowed upon him by the UK’s Garden Media Guild. He is also ‘that friendly bloke’ the audience so readily connects with on daytime television, radio gardening shows, podcasts, and every single social media platform to the everyday gardener at home.
[aiph.org, 1 March 2021]

About new words

New words – 30 August 2021

Jozef Durok / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus

aire noun [C]
UK /eəʳ/ US /er/
a piece of land where you are allowed to park a motorhome and stay overnight

Scotland appears to be making preparations for a boost in home tourism with plans for an ‘aires’ network for motorhomes. According to a recent BBC report, ‘Highland Council has proposed creating a site which would accommodate up to 30 vehicles in North Kessock on the Black Isle, near Inverness.’ … Black Isle councillor Gordon Adam said ‘that it was hoped that an aires system could be in place for next year’s tourist season’.
[practicalmotorhome.com, 17 November 2020]

flexcation noun [C]
/ˌfleks.ˈkeɪ.ʃᵊn/
a holiday during which parents spend some of the time working from home and children are homeschooled, allowing the family to go away for a longer period than usual and at a time of year when they would not normally be able to go on holiday

With more flexible work and school arrangements, many families are embracing the idea of a “flexcation,” an emerging travel trend where families rent vacation homes later in August, September and October, consider staying longer to mix work and play, and often get better value in high-demand locales. If you missed out on your annual summer trip this year or just want to take advantage of more flexibility in your work and school routine, consider a flexcation.
[vrbo.com, 2021]

midweeker noun [C]
UK /ˌmɪdˈwiːkəʳ/ US /ˌmɪdˈwiːkɚ/
a short holiday taken during the week and not over a weekend

You need three elements for a romantic midweeker: a lovely hotel, ideally with foodie credentials, perhaps a spa; interesting independent shops; and beautiful scenery. The Cotswolds, basically. The quintessential posh weekender returns to its slower self between Monday and Thursday.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 15 July 2021]

About new words

New words – 23 August 2021

Ariel Skelley / DigitalVision / Getty

volunteercation noun [C]
UK /ˌvɒl.ənˈtɪə.ˈkeɪ.ʃᵊn/ US /ˌvɑː.lənˈtɪr.ˈkeɪ.ʃᵊn/
a holiday spent doing volunteer work

With foreign travel prospects still uncertain and lockdown easing postponed, UK-based “volunteercations” are on the rise. Experts are predicting a summer of volunteering – especially among students and young people seeking experience and alternative gap years.
[The Observer, 20 June 2021]

peace tourism noun [U]
UK /ˌpiːs.ˈtʊə.rɪ.zᵊm/ US /ˌpiːs.ˈtʊr.ɪ.zᵊm/
travelling to places which are important because of their commitment to peace, often because they are the location of a previous conflict or war

Examples of peace tourism activities include educational field trips to sites such as the Berlin Wall Memorial and the Hiroshima Peace Park. It might also take the form of attending workshops and conferences among conflict resolution professionals or going on guided peace walks that delve into histories of achieving or searching for peace. Visiting famous peace artworks and peace-themed exhibitions, as well as festivals and perfomances are also considered peace tourism activities.
[theconversation.com, 9 April 2021]

kindness economy noun [U]
UK /ˈkaɪnd.nəs.iˈkɒn.ə.mi/ US /ˈkaɪnd.nəs.iˈkɑː.nə.mi/
an economic system that is based on businesses focusing less on profit and more on the interests and values of their customers, employees and society in general

After moving from fear to acceptance of how the world had changed, Portas began thinking about how to make business more ethical and socially aware. She calls this the “kindness economy” and it forms the basis of her new book, Rebuild. It asserts that we’ve all become heartily sick of consumerism and that companies failing to adapt will fall by the wayside.
[The Times, 26 June 2021]

About new words

New words – 16 August 2021

mikroman6 / moment / Getty

heat day noun [C]
/ˈhiːt.deɪ/
a day when children do not have to go to school, and sometimes adults do not have to go to work, because the weather is too hot

But “heat days” might soon become just as regular an occurrence. With extreme temperatures blanketing towns in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York this week, schools in dozens of districts across the region where air conditioning is not always the norm closed early or canceled after-school activities.
[grist.com, 14 June 2021]

climate repair noun [U]
UK /klaɪ.mət.rɪˌpeəʳ/ US /ˈklaɪ.mət.rɪˌper/
the act of reversing the effects of climate change

The dangers of climate change are well established but action has been mired in economic and political arguments but, given its effects are diverse and global, there is no longer time to wait for action. Sir David King, the former U.K. chief scientific adviser, and current leader of Independent Sage, has launched an international advisory group of leading climate experts with a program to mitigate the consequences of climate change through emissions reduction, greenhouse gas removal, and climate repair.
[forbes.com, 24 June 2021]

eco score noun [C]
UK /ˈiː.kəʊ.skɔːʳ/ US /ˈiː.koʊ.skɔːr/
information given on the packaging of food products, usually in the form of a letter and a number, that shows the impact the food has had on the environment

A pilot run in the autumn will see a range of food and drink carrying front-of-packaging “eco scores” for the first time, ranking the environmental impact of each item and allowing customers to easily assess whether they are buying goods that have a low-carbon footprint from suppliers focused on sustainability.
[theguardian.com, 27 June 2021]

About new words

New words – 9 August 2021

naruecha jenthaisong / moment / Getty

ocean vinyl noun [U]
UK /ˌəʊ.ʃᵊn.ˈvaɪ.nᵊl/ US /ˌoʊ.ʃᵊn.ˈvaɪ.nᵊl/
records that have been made out of recycled plastic found in the ocean, or the material used to make them

In 2019, Mercury Prize-nominated singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey achieved a world first by releasing his single In The Anthropocene on what has become known as “ocean vinyl”. “Ocean vinyl was a high-quality playable record made entirely from recycled plastic from the local ocean found in beach combs in the south of the UK,” says the musician.
[bbc.co.uk/news, 24 June 2021]

spatial audio noun [U]
UK /ˌspeɪ.ʃᵊl.ˈɔː.di.əʊ/ US /ˌspeɪ.ʃᵊl.ˈɑː.di.oʊ/
a way of streaming music that makes the sound seem to be coming from many different places

You may have missed it, but music was reinvented last week. Some are calling it the biggest shift in the way we listen since mono became stereo more than 60 years ago. It’s called “spatial audio”, and we have Apple to thank for introducing this to our ears … I was wary. But then a man from What Hi-Fi? said: “Sounds will appear to be coming from in front of you, the sides, rear, even above.”
[thetimes.co.uk, 13 June 2021]

hyperpop noun [U]
UK /ˈhaɪ.pə.pɒp/ US /ˈhaɪ.pɚ.pɑːp/
a type of popular music, usually distributed online, that experiments with and exaggerates the traditional elements of pop music

If osquinn has become hyperpop’s most visible star, then glaive, also 15, has had the fastest rise of any artist in the scene. He began recording his first songs at the start of quarantine, at first inspired by the emo rapper Lil Peep, before finding artists in the hyperpop scene and quickly moving on to a brighter, more up-tempo sound that emphasizes his intricately layered vocals.
[nytimes.com, 10 November 2020]

About new words

New words – 2 August 2021

martin-dm / E+ / Getty

re-entry anxiety noun [U]
UK /ˌriːˈen.tri.æŋˌzaɪ.ə.ti/ US /ˌriːˈen.tri.æŋˌzaɪ.ə.t̬i/
a feeling of stress or worry about returning to normal life after the restrictions caused by COVID-19

Everyone is reacclimating to (somewhat) normal life differently, and similarly, re-entry anxiety will look different for those experiencing it. Some may feel general anxiety about the idea of returning to an office, after more than a year of working from home by themselves, while others might be reluctant to meet friends for a cup of coffee at an outdoor cafe.
[travelandleisure.com, 28 May 2021]

supersense noun [C, usually S]
UK /ˈsuː.pə.sens/ US / ˈsuː.pɚ.sens/
a physical sensation that is the result of an emotion or instinctive feeling you are experiencing but are unaware of

What if there were parts of our minds which we never use, but if awakened, could make us so much happier, connected and alive? What if awakening those parts could bring peace to the conflicts and struggles we all go through? From the cutting edge, where therapy meets neuroscience, Steve Biddulph joins us to explore the new concept of “supersense” – the feelings beneath our feelings – which can guide us to a more awake and free way of living every minute of our lives.
[eventbrite.co.uk, 25 April 2021]

main character syndrome noun [U]
UK /meɪn.ˈkær.ək.tə.ˌsɪn.drəʊm/ US /meɪn.ˈker.ək.tɚ.ˌsɪn.droʊm/
the feeling that your life is a film or play and you are the main character in it, with everyone around you playing a less important role

But it’s not just me (thankfully) that occasionally pictures myself as the protagonist of my own personal psychodrama – “main character syndrome” has become increasingly prominent in today’s discourse, with more and more of us wallowing in brief seconds of solipsism … Sarah Louise believes that it’s because of social media platforms that “main character” syndrome has become more popularised, with every action being put under the microscope.
[metro.co.uk, 22 June 2021]

About new words

New words – 26 July 2021

Spiderstock / E+ / Getty

lazy lawn noun [C]
UK /ˌleɪ.zi.ˈlɔːn/ US /ˌleɪ.zi.ˈlɑːn/
an area of grass, especially in a garden, that is not cut regularly or treated with chemicals to keep it healthy and free of weeds

Immaculate striped green grass is out of favour. Instead, the trend is for “lazy lawns” with brown patches and weeds, the Royal Horticultural Society claims. Such gardens are better for nature, less work, and dry brown grass patches are better to sit on than damp wet grass. He said the lazy lawn fits better with modern lifestyles and is “giving approval for a more environmentally friendly approach”.
[dailymail.co.uk, 2 April 2021]

marine garden noun [C]
UK /məˈriːn.gɑː.dᵊn/ US /məˈriːn.gɑːr.dᵊn/
a large area of water or very wet land that is used to grow plants for food

“This could be the beginning of a new concept of understanding the sea as a garden.” A pilot project was launched to adapt three small areas across a third of a hectare (0.75 acres) of salt marshes into what León calls a “marine garden” … In the marine garden, León and his team were watching as the plant lived up to its reputation as an architect of ecosystems: transforming the abandoned salt marsh into a flourishing habitat teeming with life, from seahorses to scallops.
[theguardian.com, 9 April 2021]

comfort planting noun [U]
UK /ˈkʌm.fət.plɑːn.tɪŋ/ US /ˈkʌm.fɚt.ˈplæn.t̬ɪŋ/
the activity of putting your favourite plants into the soil in your garden, usually ones that are brightly coloured and easy to grow

But what is comfort planting, exactly? Well, as the name suggests it’s simply the idea of filling our gardens with tried and tested favorites that make our hearts sing. Poppies, foxgloves, delphiniums, lupins, roses and hydrangeas – basically anything to give your plot a dose of color and joy … Given that many of us turned to gardening as a source of solace and calm, it makes total sense that the idea of “comfort gardening” would bloom this year.
[gardeningetc.com, 16 April 2021]

About new words

New words – 19 July 2021

Artur Debat / Moment / Getty

robotaxi noun [C]
UK /ˈrəʊ.bəʊ.tæk.si/ US /ˈroʊ.boʊ.tæk.si/
a taxi that is driven without being controlled directly by humans

AutoX already has more than 100 robotaxis deployed in five Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Wuhan. Over the next year, it aims to double its reach to more than 10 local cities. Whether the company can pull humans from behind the wheel in other markets depends on local regulators, Xiao said.
[edition.cnn.com, 8 December 2020]

Vaxi Taxi noun [C]
/ˈvæk.si.tæk.si/
a taxi that picks people up from their home and takes them to a clinic for their Covid-19 vaccination, with the person sometimes being vaccinated while they are sitting in the taxi

A new “Vaxi Taxi” scheme which sees black cabs transport people to pop-up coronavirus vaccine clinics in London has been launched. The pilot scheme, funded by the Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation, aims to help ferry supplies and patients to temporary clinics set up in faith and community centres across the capital … “We are aiming to have pop-up vaccination clinics across London eventually, with a fleet of Vaxi Taxis to help set them up in community centres and faith centres,” said Dr Raymond.
[www.standard.co.uk, 21 February 2021]

eVTOL adjective, noun [C]
UK /i.ˈviː.tɒl/ US /i.ˈviː.tɑːl/
abbreviation for ‘electric vertical take-off and landing’: an electric aircraft that is able to take off and land vertically, going straight up and straight down from and to the ground

Some might call eVTOL aircraft “flying cars,” but they’re more accurately called electric helicopters. A regular helicopter is a VTOL (as in it takes off up-and-down vertically, rather than rolling down a runway like an airplane), and if you make it electric, then it’s an eVTOL. Basically, every modern consumer drone from DJI or Skydio is a miniature eVTOL. Those small drones are good at carrying small cargo like cameras or vaccines, but now eVTOLs are getting bigger. Much bigger.
[inverse.com, 20 April 2021]

About new words