New words – 18 October 2021

Sagitta, Let’s Make your own Style / Moment / Getty

aerohaptics noun [plural or U]
UK /ˌeə.rəʊ.ˈhæp.tɪks/ US /ˌer.oʊ.ˈhæp.tɪks/
feelings of physical touch produced by using puffs of air

My colleagues and I … have now developed a system of holograms of people using “aerohaptics”, creating feelings of touch with jets of air. Those jets of air deliver a sensation of touch on people’s fingers, hands and wrists. In time, this could be developed to allow you to meet a virtual avatar of a colleague on the other side of the world and really feel their handshake.
[, 17 September 2021]

Hycean adjective
A Hycean planet has hydrogen in its atmosphere and water on its surface, meaning that it could potentially support a form of life that is found on Earth.

The search for life outside our Solar System could be accelerated following the discovery of a new class of habitable exoplanet by University of Cambridge researchers. Dubbed “Hycean planets”, these ocean-covered worlds have hydrogen-rich atmospheres and it is believed they could support microbial life similar to that found in some of Earth’s most extreme aquatic environments … Bizarrely, such planets also include tidally-locked “dark” Hycean worlds that may have habitable conditions only on their permanent night sides.
[, 2 September 2021]

Dragon man noun [U]
a nickname given to an early species of human which some scientists now think may be the most closely related species to modern humans

Dragon man’s well-preserved skull is the largest Homo skull on record. An analysis of the cranium revealed that Dragon man might be the closest-known related species to Homo sapiens, even closer than Neanderthals, who were long thought to be our closest relation, the study found.
[, 25 June 2021]

About new words

New words – 11 October 2021

yacobchuk / iStock / Getty Images Plus

panic master’s noun [C]
UK /ˌpæn.ɪk.ˈmɑː.stəz/ US /ˌpæn.ɪk.ˈmæs.tɚz/
a postgraduate degree that someone studies for because they cannot find a job after completing their first degree, rather than because they want to continue their studies

Record numbers of students are expected to apply for “panic master’s” degrees as a flat jobs market for graduates pushes them towards postgraduate study. Last year 18 per cent of students secured jobs after graduation compared with about 60 per cent in a normal year … It has exacerbated the phenomenon of the “panic master’s”, when students sign up for a second degree not because they necessarily wish to pursue further study but so that they are not left unemployed.
[, 30 July 2021]

nanolearning noun [U]
UK /ˈnæn.əʊ.lɜː.nɪŋ/ US /ˈnæn.oʊ.lɝː.nɪŋ/
a way of learning that involves reading or watching very small pieces of information or other content, usually on the internet

Nanolearning is learning that takes a minute or two — or even less. It is a way to deliver condensed information in an engaging format. It provides a few soundbites or sentences of valuable and relevant content. Viewers learn the immediate requirement for training — right now and in the moment of need — to solve a specific problem, such as creating a pivot table in Microsoft Excel.
[, 18 May 2021]

cradle-to-career adjective
UK /ˌkreɪ.dᵊl.tə.kəˈrɪᵊr/ US /ˌkreɪ.dᵊl.tə.kəˈrɪr/
A cradle-to-career school or education is one that supports the pupil from when they are born through to young adulthood and offers different activities at different stages of the pupil’s life.

Cradle-to-career school designs are the latest in a long line of attempts to coordinate schools with other local services, in order to tackle the causes of social and educational inequality … Schools cannot address inequality on their own, but neighbourhoods often lack local, coordinated support systems. Cradle-to-career school designs are a bold attempt to go beyond a school’s typical role. They join up local services to improve prospects for young people and their communities.
[, 2 December 2020]

About new words

New words – 4 October 2021

7713Photography / iStock / GettyImagesPlus

finfluencer noun [C]
UK /ˈfɪn.flu.ən.səʳ/ US /ˈfɪn.flu.ən.sɚ/
someone who attracts followers on social media through giving financial advice

Becoming a finfluencer can be highly lucrative. On TikTok the hashtag #FinTok has been viewed more than 340 million times … But as lucrative as this trend may be for those who make it to the top of the finfluencer money tree, the gains for followers are far less certain. It is the wild west for financial information, with few of the checks and balances that regulate other areas of financial advice.
[, 25 May 2021]

soonicorn noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.nɪ.kɔːn/ US /ˈsuː.nɪ.kɔːrn/
a startup that is likely to become a unicorn (a business valued at over $1 billion) in the near future

In 2020, the local tech startups that made it to the soonicorn list were iflix, Carsome, and Fave … At the time this list was created in March 2020, iflix was supposedly the most promising soonicorn, as it had a disclosed funding of US$350 million, followed by Carsome with US$86 million, and Fave with US$32 million. There were over 2.7k tech startups and over 40 public ones.
[, 3 May 2021]

cyber mercenary noun [C]
UK /ˈsaɪ.bə.mɜː.sᵊn.ri/ US /ˈsaɪ.bɚ.mɝː.sᵊn.ri/
someone who is paid by an organization to use the internet to illegally enter a computer system without permission, for example in order to get secret information or to damage the system

Generally, mercenaries provide support for military operations – most often in the form of defensive security, training for national forces, and technical support. The UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries has identified cyber mercenaries as one category of actors that can generate mercenary-related activities. This entails a wide range of military and security services provided in cyberspace, including data collection and espionage.
[, 15 May 2021]

About new words

New words – 27 September 2021

Onkamon Buasorn / iStock / Getty Images Plus

moon water noun [U]
UK /ˈmuːn.wɔː.təʳ/ US /ˈmuːn.wɑː.t̬ɚ/
water that has been left in a container outside under the light of the Moon, thought by some people to absorb energy from the Moon and have health benefits when used later

As you might expect from the name, moon water is simply water that has been energetically charged by moonlight … According to Paolo, different phase of the lunar cycle are best for different purposes. “You will need to decide the lunar phase in which you are going to make your moon water, as each phase serves a different purpose,” he says.
[, 1 August 2021]

sea snot noun [U]
UK /ˈsiː.snɒt/ US /ˈsiː.snɑːt/
a thick, sticky substance found in the sea, made up of small organisms and thought to be partly caused or made worse by climate change

A thick layer of organic matter known as marine mucilage has spread in the Sea of Marmara, covering harbours, shorelines and swathes of the surface south of Istanbul. Some of the “sea snot” has sunk below the waves, suffocating seabed life … Turkey has vowed to save the Sea of Marmara by launching a disaster management programme meant to clean up the sea snot.
[, 9 June 2021]

fire cloud noun [C]
UK /ˈfaɪə.klaʊd/ US /ˈfaɪr.klaʊd/
a type of cloud that develops in very hot, dry conditions from a large amount of smoke that rises into the air from a fire on the ground

Severe wildfires that engulfed parts of western Canada this week were so intense that they generated massive “fire clouds” that spawned their own lightning storms. In what some experts said was one of the most extreme events they’ve ever witnessed, more than 700,000 intracloud and cloud-to-ground flashes of lightning — from both fire clouds and regular thunderstorms — were recorded Wednesday over a 15-hour period.
[, 2 July 2021]

About new words

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.
[, 8 July 2021]

pingdemic noun [C usually singular]
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.
[, 28 July 2021]

vaccine nationalism noun [U]
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.
[, 8 December 2020]

About new words

New words – 13 September 2021

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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”.
[, 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.
[, 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.
[, 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.
[, 25 May 2021]

moon tree noun [C]
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.
[, 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.
[, 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’.
[, 17 November 2020]

flexcation noun [C]
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.
[, 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.
[, 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.
[, 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]
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.
[, 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.
[, 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.
[, 27 June 2021]

About new words