a line of people in office clothing walking down a staircase

New words – 27 December 2021

Robert Daly / OJO Images / Getty

the Great Resignation noun [S]
a trend in the employment market during 2020 and 2021 that has seen a much larger number of people than usual resign from their job

More people are quitting their jobs, and it could shake the world of work forever. But are we making incorrect generalisations about the Great Resignation? Workers are quitting their jobs. A lot of them. So many, in fact, we’re still smack in the middle of the so-called Great Resignation … There are several reasons why workers are walking away – poor working conditions, fears of contracting Covid-19 and existential epiphanies among them.
[bbc.com/worklife, 29 October 2021]

returnment noun [U]
UK /rɪˈtɜːn.mənt/ US /rɪˈtɝːn.mənt/
going back to work after a period of time not in paid employment

In 2012, I burnt out and suffered from depression, and when I launched my own business, three years later, it was terrifying. Nobody returned my phone calls because I was dismissed as “just a housewife”, and I felt incredibly lonely. Whether you’ve been out of work for 18 months or 18 years, “returnment” can be challenging – but it’s not always as difficult as it might seem.
[telegraph.co.uk, 19 October 2021]

overemployment noun [U]
UK /ˌəʊ.vər.ɪmˈplɔɪ.mənt/ US /ˌoʊ.vɚ.ɪmˈplɔɪ.mənt/
the practice of a remote worker secretly having more than one full-time job and working just enough hours at each one for their employers not to notice

The overemployment trend has gained steam with the rise of remote work, which has often meant less employer supervision of workers. This means that juggling multiple jobs in secret is usually more feasible for wealthy, white-collar workers since their work can frequently be done remotely, which isn’t often the case for blue-collar workers.
[uk.news.yahoo.com, 17 November 2021]

About new words

two men having a conversation in a room decorated with soft furnishings, plants and books

New words – 20 December 2021

two men having a conversation in a room decorated with soft furnishings, plants and books
Westend61 / Getty

resimercial adjective
UK /ˌrez.ɪ.ˈmɜː.ʃᵊl/ US /ˌrez.ə.ˈmɝː.ʃᵊl/
A resimercial office combines elements of “residential” and “commercial”, with comfortable furniture and design that makes it look more like a room in a home.

Remote work has been extremely stressful for many people but others have grown accustomed to certain domestic comforts … An office-furniture dealer told me that some employers are aware of this. “How do we bridge that gap [and] bring people back to the office? Maybe if we design it in a way that is more resimercial, more homey, they’ll feel a little bit more comfortable in coming back and using the space,” he said.
[theatlantic.com, 21 September 2021]

broken plan adjective
UK /ˌbrəʊ.kᵊn.ˈplæn/ US /ˌbroʊ.kᵊn.ˈplæn/
A broken plan room or space is divided into smaller areas for different activities.

For years the trend of open plan living has reigned supreme, yet a new contender is entering the ring – broken plan living. A twist on open plan, broken plan retains that sense of openness, while also offering more privacy and cosy nooks. It’s a chance to get creative with your home, allowing you to play with shelves, partitions, and even half walls … You don’t need to undertake a massive renovation project to achieve a broken plan space. If you already enjoy an open layout, but you want to divide up space, get creative with your furniture.
[resi.co.uk, 11 March 2021]

probiotic architecture noun [U]
UK /ˌprəʊ.baɪˈɒt.ɪk.ˈɑː.kɪ.tek.tʃəʳ/ US /ˌproʊ.baɪˈɑː.t̬ɪk.ˈɑːr.kə.tek.tʃɚ/
the practice of designing and making buildings that can host certain types of bacteria that help keep people healthy

Richard Beckett is a researcher working in bio-augmented design … His vision is to create buildings which – like the human body – could allow specific microbial communities (also known as ‘the microbiome’) to grow on them and in turn help us to fight infectious disease … He calls the concept “probiotic architecture”. “These indoor microbiomes can influence our health,” says Richard, “and I’m interested in how we might design buildings and their microbiomes to make buildings healthy and more resilient.”
[ribaj.com, 19 January 2021]

About new words

close-up photograph of someone's hand using a smartphone in a dark room

New words – 13 December 2021

close-up photograph of someone's hand using a smartphone in a dark room
Jub Rubjob / Moment / Getty

tappigraphy noun [U]
the study of how, how often and in what patterns someone taps the keys on their mobile phone, thought to provide information on their behaviour and their physical and mental health

Arko Ghosh is the company’s cofounder and a neuroscientist at Leiden University in the Netherlands. “Tappigraphy patterns” – the time series of my touches – can, he says, confidently be used not only to infer slumber habits (tapping in the wee hours means you are not sleeping) but also mental performance level (the small intervals in a series of key-presses represent a proxy for reaction time), and he has published work to support it.
[theguardian.com, 7 November 2021]

killware noun [U]
UK /ˈkɪl.weəʳ/ US /ˈkɪl.wer/
a type of computer program used illegally to attack someone’s computer system and designed to cause people physical harm

Unlike malware and ransomware, whose sole purpose is financial gain for the attackers, killware has only one goal – causing physical harm. The name killware appeared in the media after the highly publicized cyberattack on a water plant in Oldsmar, Florida … Fortunately, no killware attack has been successful so far. The moniker itself sounds a bit overhyped, and that might be true at the moment. But the reality is that hackers have a way of not only hurting us emotionally but also physically.
[dailyhawker.com, 26 October 2021]

screenome noun [C]
UK /ˈskriː.nəʊm/ US /ˈskriːn.əʊm/
a very detailed record of someone’s activity on their smartphone or tablet

If Byron Reeves has his way, the concept of “screen time” will be a relic. Instead, it will be your “screenome” that’s important … The Human Screenome Project aims to more accurately capture our digital footprint using an eyebrow-raising technique: background software that screenshots a volunteer’s phone every five seconds while it’s activated. A screenome would offer a way to study smartphones and tablets for patterns of use linked to issues such as social-media addiction and mental health problems.
[technologyreview.com, 15 January 2020]

About new words

a pink plate with crab, mussels and other seafood

New words – 6 December 2021

a pink plate with crab, mussels and other seafood
Saowaluck Voraprukpisut / iStock / Getty Images Plus

blue food noun [U]
food that comes from the sea, such as fish, shellfish and seaweed

Recently, however, calls have emerged not for less fishing, but more, under the banner of a new term encompassing all seafood and aquaculture products: “blue food.” The Blue Food Alliance, launched ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit, has brought together academics, policymakers, and corporate donors focused on increasing the consumption of sustainable seafood.
[wired.com, 24 October 2021]

unconscious reducer noun [C]
UK /ʌnˌkɒn.ʃəs.rɪˈdʒuː.səʳ/ US /ʌnˌkɑːn.ʃəs.rɪˈduː.səʳ/
someone who is eating less meat than they did before, but without having made a deliberate decision to do so

The unconscious reducers were said by the report to mostly be of retirement age and living with fewer people. They were found to be much less likely to experiment with cooking or refer to themselves as a ‘foodie’, preferring more traditional dishes … “How unconscious reducers think and feel about meat isn’t any different to those people who are actually increasing their meat consumption – they’re not turning away on purpose so there is a chance to re-engage them with the category,” explained AHDB senior retail insight manager Kim Malley.
[ahdb.org.uk, 3 December 2020]

foodprint noun [C]
a measurement of the impact on the environment of all the processes needed to bring food to consumers

The issue of carbon “foodprints” – how much CO2 is emitted in the production, transportation, and preparation of various foods – is front-and-centre at this week’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow. On Tuesday, it emerged that restaurants inside the conference centre are printing carbon estimates on their menus, alongside each item’s price … In order to reach the goals defined in the Paris Agreement, we may soon have to limit our foodprint to no more than 0.5kg of CO2 emissions per meal.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 4 November 2021]

About new words

a group of five young adults laughing and celebrating in a shower of colourful confetti

New words – 29 November 2021

a group of five young adults laughing and celebrating in a shower of colourful confetti
AleksandarNakic / E+ / Getty

business shower noun [C]
UK /ˈbɪz.nɪsˌʃaʊəʳ/ US /ˈbɪz.nɪsˌʃaʊ.ɚ/
a party held to celebrate a new start-up business, usually before its official launch

Some business showers include games, decorations and catering. Some founders even ask for gifts, providing links to business registry websites that have also become popular. Business showers generally differ from launch parties because they occur at the very early stages of a start-up, sometimes when the business is still just gestating as an idea.
[nytimes.com, 15 July 2021]

flippening noun [S]
The flippening is an event, expected to take place in the near future, when ethereum will overtake bitcoin as the most valuable cryptocurrency.

For those unaware, the flippening is a hypothetical event in which ETH overtakes Bitcoin in terms of market capitalization. While this hasn’t happened yet, it may not be too far off … ETH is already the top crypto held on the platform in terms of U.S. dollar amount. That could be a sign that the flippening is starting.
[nasdaq.com, 8 July 2021]

emoticonomy noun [U]
UK /ɪ,məʊt.iˈkɒn.ə.mi/ US /ɪ,moʊt.iˈkɑː.nə.mi/
an economic system that is based on the activities people and businesses engage in to make the world a better and happier place

But arguing that capitalism should be unfettered and amoral is itself a political position. No business is without its ideals in the new “emoticonomy”. This is not a circumstance created accidentally by political parties, activists or workers, but deliberately, by businesses. It has been going on for some time.
[newstatesman.com, 20 October 2021]

About new words

five young women wearing fashionable clothes, smiling and standing with crossed arms

New words – 22 November 2021

Delmaine Donson / E+ / Getty

bounceback wardrobe noun [C]
UK /ˈbaʊns.bæk.wɔː.drəʊb/ US /ˈbaʊns.bæk.wɔːr.droʊb/
all the clothes that someone owns, or wants to buy, for the period of time after lockdown, when they are back at work and going out socially again

Now, with the lifting of lockdown restrictions and the great re-entry, it seems a lot of women are finding that their wardrobes are insufficient, dated, or in some way lacking the polish and pep required for their revived professional and social lives. Women spent, on average, £200 between April and June on their “bounceback wardrobes”, according to the new State of Retail Report.
[telegraph.co.uk, 27 July 2021]

circular fashion noun [U]
UK /ˌsɜː.kjə.lə.ˈfæʃ.ᵊn/ US /ˌsɝː.kjə.lɚ.ˈfæʃ.ᵊn/
clothes that are designed and made in such a way that they will last for a long time, can eventually be repaired or redesigned instead of being thrown away, and cause little or no damage to the environment

As it stands, most fashion products are made from new textiles, sold, worn, discarded and sent, eventually, to landfill … or worse, they are incinerated. Circular fashion looks to disrupt that linear trajectory, keeping clothing and materials in use through recycling, repurposing and rewearing, avoiding where possible making completely “new” products and reducing the amount of ecologically harmful waste.
[elle.com, 16 March 2020]

tourdrobe noun [C]
UK /ˈtʊə.drəʊb/ US /ˈtʊr.droʊb/
all the clothes that someone, usually a famous woman, wears when she is on a tour of several different places where she will be seen by the public and the media

And the Duchess of Sussex was also flying the flag for fashion as she brought an expansive tourdrobe to suit every kind of engagement (and her baby bump). Over 16 days in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand we saw the Duchess of Sussex in an array of international designers, from Aussie brands to British labels, and lots of American influence.
[mirror.co.uk, 2 November 2018]

About new words

woman wearing virtual reality goggles reaches out to touch a screen covered in swirling patterns

New words – 15 November 2021

woman wearing virtual reality goggles reaches out to touch a screen covered in swirling patterns
Qi Yang / Moment / Getty

epidermal VR noun [U]
UK /ep.ɪˌdɜː.mᵊl.viː ˈɑːʳ/ US /ep.əˌdɝː.mᵊl.viː ˈɑːr/
a type of virtual reality (a set of images and sounds, produced by a computer, that seem to represent a place or a situation that a person can take part in) that allows the user to experience the sense of touch

These developments are made possible in part because of recent progress in “epidermal VR”. This thin, wireless system adds a sense of touch to any VR experience, meaning that we may at some point be able to shake hands or high-five a business colleague who is halfway across the world.
[stylist.co.uk, 4 December 2020]

the internet of senses noun [S]
UK /ˌɪn.tə.net.əv.ˈsen.sɪz/ US /ˌɪn.t̬ɚ.net.əv.ˈsen.sɪz/
a way of using computer technology to allow people to experience all five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell) when they are online

Currently, consumers online are restricted by technology that focuses on only two senses, sight and sound. However, all of this is expected to change with the emerging internet of senses … The internet of senses creates a network of sensory events, and is expected to make a multi-sensory experience in the digital realm possible.
[futureofmarketinginstitute.com, 9 May 2021]

affective AI noun [U]
a type of artificial intelligence (technology that allows computers to share some of the qualities of the human mind, such as the ability to understand language and solve problems) that can measure and interpret human emotions

The real idea behind artificial intelligence (AI) is to emulate human-like capabilities … Affective AI goes a step further, collecting data from faces, voices, and body languages to measure human emotions. For example, the MIT Media Lab is developing a wearable device to determine a person’s mood by monitoring their heartbeat … If the user is anxious or stressed, the increase in heartbeats will cause the device to emit a scent such as lavender to reduce anxiety.
[morethandigital.info, 6 January 2021]

About new words

a crowd of young people at a music festival on a sunny day

New words – 8 November 2021

a crowd of young people at a music festival on a sunny day
Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty

roséwave noun [U]
UK /ˌrəʊ.zeɪ.ˈweɪv/ US /ˌroʊ.zeɪ.ˈweɪv/
a style of music designed to make the listener think of relaxed summer days and evenings

Last year, of course, we couldn’t stomach celebrating; it felt downright wrong to act carefree about, well, anything. And even though oftentimes the very best pop music can help take our minds off our troubles, roséwave didn’t feel quite right last summer. But, like an old friend, it was waiting right there when we needed it, chilling to be uncorked at just the right temperature.
[aspenpublicradio.org, 9 June 2021]

glitch noun, verb [U]
a dance, made popular on TikTok, where the dancer moves in a fast, jerky way that makes it look as though the viewer has a bad internet connection, or to dance in this way

“The first video I did wasn’t really a glitch — it was a shoulder dance,” she said. For the second video, she moved in sync with the fast, sputtering beat, which made her look like she was glitching. Within a few days, that video racked up millions of views … Many creators challenged themselves to pull off the moves as seamlessly as Clark, while others invented their own unique glitch maneuvers.
[insider.com, 1 July 2021]

docuality noun [U]
UK /ˌdɒk.jə.ˈæl.ə.ti/ US /ˌdɑː.kjə.ˈæl.ə.t̬i/
television programmes that are part documentary, part reality show, featuring people who are filmed in real situations rather than actors playing a part, and giving facts about a particular subject

Channel 4 is bringing a whole load of entertainment to screens in 2021. From Married At First Sight UK to brand new series, Highlife, there’s no end of reality TV to delve into this year. Dubbed a ‘docuality’ series, Highlife combines documentary-style elements with some reality TV and provides an insight into the lives of a very hardworking and glamorous group of friends.
[realitytitbit.com, 10 September 2021]

About new words

hand holding a used plastic bag in front of two recycling bins

New words – 1 November 2021

hand holding a used plastic bag in front of two recycling bins
Seamind Panada / EyeEm / Getty

wish-cycling noun [U]
putting an item in a recycling bin in the hope that it can be recycled, usually when the item is not actually recyclable

While the US recycling rate worryingly hovers around an at best estimate of 35 percent, wish-cycling might be a well-intentioned habit in an increasingly confusing and incomplete recycling system. But wish-cycling often does more harm than good and has consequences that can impact local programs and global recycling as a whole.
[zerowasteboxes.terracycle.com, 4 August 2020]

energy island noun [C]
UK /ˌen.ə.dʒi.ˈaɪ.lənd/ US /ˌen.ɚ.dʒi.ˈaɪ.lənd/
a platform built on the sea that is used to generate and store electricity from wind turbines (tall structures with blades that are blown by the wind) that surround it

A project to build a giant island providing enough energy for three million households has been given the green light by Denmark’s politicians. The world’s first energy island will be as big as 18 football pitches (120,000sq m), but there are hopes to make it three times that size. It will serve as a hub for 200 giant offshore wind turbines.
[bbc.co.uk/news, 4 February 2021]

climate tech noun [U]
the business of using technology to create products and services that will enable society to adapt to the effects of climate change

Over the next one to two years, I predict that we’ll see a boom in climate tech startups, and startups that build the predicted effects of climate change directly into their business plans. Some of these companies will be explicitly ‘green,’ with business plans and marketing that directly address climate change.
[techstars.com, 18 July 2021]

About new words

Colleagues holding a meeting in a multi-functional office space with glass walls

New words – 25 October 2021

Colleagues holding a meeting in a multi-functional office space with glass walls
Kelvin Murray / Stone / Getty

pivot space noun [C]
an area of an office that can be used for different purposes

Pivot spaces – or multi-functional areas of the office – are not new, but social distancing measures and a focus on improving the employee experience in the office are making them a key feature of tomorrow’s workplace … With employees now returning to the office and coronavirus still a lingering threat, more businesses are thinking about how to best adapt their spaces. Designed well, these pivot spaces can help to make the office somewhere people want to be.
[www.workdesign.com, September 2020]

ask gap noun [S]
UK /ˈɑːsk.gæp/ US /ˈæsk.gæp/
the difference in the salary earned by people who ask for (and receive) a higher amount and those who do not

Research shows that the pay gap, which is well documented, partly stems from the ‘ask gap’: the difference in salary expectations between groups, which undercuts women and minorities in particular. Closing this gendered and racialised ‘ask gap’ can pay major dividends for careers, reducing long-term salary inequality.
[bbc.com, 18 June 2021]

polywork noun [U]
UK /ˈpɒl.i.wɜːk/ US /ˈpɑː.li.wɝːk/
the activity of having several different jobs at the same time

Slightly different than a necessary hustle but still falling into these new lifestyles of Millennials and Gen Z is the concept of polywork: the rejection of traditional full-time jobs in favor of pursuing multiple jobs to fulfill multiple interests. Someone might work as a social media marketer while also being an investor, a writer, and a podcast host; they might also run a nonprofit, manage investments and field more creative roles such as producing plays.
[fierceelectronics.com, 6 August 2021]

About new words