an office with several young people working at desktop computers at a shared table

New words – 2 January 2023

an office with several young people working at desktop computers at a shared table
Estelle Johnson / EyeEm / Getty

productivity theatre noun [U]
UK /ˌprɒd.ʌkˈtɪv.ə.ti ˈθɪə.təʳ/ US /ˌproʊ.dəkˈtɪv.ə.t̬i ˈθiː.ə.t̬ɚ/
a way someone behaves at work that makes them appear to be working very hard, even if this is not the case

We know there is a disconnect between the views of employers and employees on the productivity of working from home. Employees are happier and believe they are more productive; their managers are not so sure. Now it seems, that some of those employees are indulging in what has been termed “productivity theatre”. They make sure their mouse moves frequently – even if they are not working productively – in case their keystrokes are being monitored. They also attend online meetings which do not directly involve them so managers can spot their participation.
[, 12 October 2022]

anti-perk noun [C]
UK /ˈæn.tiˌpɜːk/ US /ˈæn.t̬iˌpɝːk/
an advantage someone is given because of their job that is in fact not useful or helpful

“Anti-perks” are perks that sound good but don’t actually matter to workers. The biggest offender? Unlimited vacation, which doesn’t really work unless the company encourages employees to take time off. Other perks that drew feisty replies include free booze, free massages, and special-purpose rooms (e.g., fitness, nap, and meditation rooms).
[, 28 September 2022]

boomerang employee noun [C]
/ˈbuː.mə.ræŋ ɪmˌplɔɪ.iː/
someone who goes back to work for a company they have already worked for in the past

Returning workers are also more likely to be given short shrift: coming back to a past employer means there is greater pressure to perform compared to new starters. “Although boomerang employees generally tend to be better performers, they’re also more likely to be fired than external hires – managers expect them to know the organisation right away,” says Keller. “While new starters may be given the benefit of the doubt, a re-hire not living up to expectations is more likely to be laid off.”
[, 9 August 2022]

About new words

an aerial photograph of a river meandering through a dense forest

New words – 26 December 2022

an aerial photograph of a river meandering through a dense forest
FG Trade / E+ / Getty

space brolly noun [C]
UK /ˈspeɪs ˌbrɒl.i/ US /ˈspeɪs ˌbrɑː.li/
a type of antenna in the shape of an umbrella that can measure Earth’s forests from space and collect information on the extent to which they are being destroyed

It looks for all the world like a giant brolly, but there’s no rain where it’s going. This immense reflector-antenna is heading into space, to “weigh” Earth’s forests. When unfurled, the space brolly’s 12m by 15m wire-mesh membrane will be part of a very special P-band radar system. It can look past the leaf canopy of forests to map the woody parts below.
[, 23 August 2022]

energy-positive adjective
UK /ˌen.ə.dʒiˈpɒz.ə.tɪv/ US /ˌen.ɚ.dʒiˈpɑː.zə.t̬ɪv/
An energy-positive building generates more energy than it uses.

Powerhouse Brattørkaia by Snøhetta, an Oslo-based architecture and interior design firm, has the goal of becoming the world’s northernmost energy-positive building and to set a new standard for the construction of the buildings of tomorrow, one that produces more energy than it consumes over its lifespan, including construction and demolition.
[, 6 February 2022]

parking barn noun [C]
UK /ˈpɑː.kɪŋ ˌbɑːn/ US /ˈpɑːr.kɪŋ ˌbɑːrn/
a type of car park for residents in a housing development where the aim is to discourage them from using their car for short journeys

New eco-homes planned in Oxfordshire will provide residents with a communal working space to help them cut the carbon footprint of driving into the office. The 180 homes will also require almost no heating or cooling because of the levels of energy efficiency. Homes will not have more than one allotted car parking space, but instead have the use of a “parking barn”, in order to “make residents think twice” about using their car.
[, 24 September 2022]

About new words

a young man in a sunhat stepping out of a plane

New words – 19 December 2022

a young man in a sunhat stepping out of a plane
izusek / E+ / Getty

place lag noun [U]
/ˈpleɪs ˌlæg/
a feeling of surprise and slight confusion that people experience after making a long journey by plane and arriving in a place that is strange and new

The pilot and writer Mark Vanhoenacker has coined the expression “place lag” to describe the wonder of arriving at new locales after a long flight. Parallel to jet lag and its time difference, the temporary spatial disjuncture between the familiarity of home and the unfamiliarity of elsewhere, enabled through the speed of air travel, can reset one’s perspective on the world.
[, 18 October 2022]

trip stacking noun [U]
/ˈtrɪp ˌstækɪŋ/
the activity of booking more than one holiday for the same time period in case one has to be cancelled, for example because of new travel restrictions

Basically, trip stacking refers to the strategy of booking all your reservations ― from flights to accommodations to restaurants to activities ― for multiple vacations during the same time frame. That way, you have backup options if something disrupts your primary travel plans.
[, 22 April 2022]

regenerative tourism noun [U]
UK /rɪˌdʒen.ə.rə.tɪv ˈtʊə.rɪ.zəm/ US /rɪˌdʒen.ə.rə.t̬ɪv ˈtʊr.ɪ.zəm/
the activity of going on holiday to a particular destination and making a positive impact on the place and the people who live there

By definition, regenerative tourism is “the idea that tourists should leave a place in better condition than it was before.” For example, it would be like visiting a garden and instead of leaving no trace, each person planted a tree or air-purifying plant to further build the environment rather than simply leaving it status quo. In a way, regenerative tourism involves travelers to be active in their acts of sustainability rather than neutral, providing a better future for places that do fall victim to overtourism.
[, 12 July 2022]

About new words

a wooden serving board spread with butter and decorated with raspberries, figs, and honey, surrounded by pieces of bread

New words – 12 December 2022

a wooden serving board spread with butter and decorated with raspberries, figs, and honey, surrounded by pieces of bread
StephanieFrey / iStock / Getty Images Plus

butter board noun [C]
UK /ˈbʌt.ə ˌbɔːd/ US /ˈbʌt̬.ɚ ˌbɔːrd/
a wooden board spread generously with butter and topped with other foods, such as herbs, spices, fruit, sauces, etc.

If you’ve ever put together a charcuterie board, you know it usually costs a small fortune to buy all the fixings. Luckily, that’s not the case with a butter board. The simple ingredients make it a much more affordable option that still packs a punch and will leave your guests feeling just as satisfied.
[, 13 October 2022]

sourfaux noun [U]
UK /ˈsaʊə.fəʊ/ US /ˈsaʊr.foʊ/
bread that is labelled “sourdough” by the shop that sells it but actually contains cheaper ingredients and is made in a way that takes less time

Sourfaux, sold as sourdough, contains extra ingredients, such as yeast, ascorbic acid and yoghurt and vinegar. While these are not necessarily bad for you or unhealthy, it is misleading. When you are buying something, you should get what you pay for. Particularly when some of the supermarkets are charging a premium for that product. The Real Bread Campaign group says it wants to see a legal definition of the terms “sourdough” or “artisan bread”, so stores cannot “misinterpret” them.
[, 11 April 2022]

cloud bread noun [U]
/ˈklaʊd ˌbred/
a very light, sweet food, made by mixing egg whites with sugar and cornflour, then forming the mixture into round shapes and baking

First up, cloud bread isn’t actually bread at all – made of just 3 ingredients, egg whites, sugar and corn starch, it’s more soft baked meringue than loaf of bread. Essentially, don’t try to slice this up and stick slices of cheese between it.
[, 18 May 2022]

About new words

New words – 28 November 2022

lucigerma / iStock / Getty Images Plus

thermal tourism noun [U]
UK /ˌθɜː.mᵊl ˈtʊə.rɪ.zᵊm/ US /ˌθɝː.mᵊl ˈtʊr.ɪ.zᵊm/
travel to a warmer country to spend the winter months there in order to avoid the cold weather and higher heating bills in your own country

Tourism operators in Southern European countries are hoping to capitalise on cold winters and energy bills elsewhere on the continent by advertising their warmer climates as winter approaches. Destinations including Greece, southern Spain and the Canary Islands are taking advantage of “thermal tourism”, a trend in Britain for flying to cheaper, warmer climates to escape the winter and the cost of living crisis in the UK.
[, 11 October 2022]

African plume noun [C]
/ˌæf.rɪ.kən ˈpluːm/
a long, thin mass of warm air that moves upwards from Africa, causing warmer weather in more northerly parts of the world

Parts of the UK could be in for a rare Indian summer this month – with temperatures rising as high as 22C. An “African plume” will push temperatures up across the country over the next two weeks, with some forecasters suggesting that the mild spell will last up to Halloween on October 31.
[, 17 October 2022]

warm bank noun [C]
UK /ˌwɔːm ˈbæŋk/ US /ˌwɔːrm ˈbæŋk/
a place such as a library, museum or other public building where someone can go to get warm in the winter if they cannot afford to heat their home, run as a public service by a town council, charity etc.

If you were in any doubt about the scale of the cost of living crisis devastating the UK, the fact councils and charities are preparing to open “warm banks” should tell you everything you need to know … The charity New Beginnings Reading is setting up Reading’s first warm bank this winter, hosted in an old refurbished pub. It will keep its heating on around the clock, and act as a social place where people can enjoy a hot drink and soup together.
[, 16 September 2022]

About new words

a man wearing earbuds asleep in bed

New words – 21 November 2022

a man wearing earbuds asleep in bed
monkeybusinessimages / iStock / Getty Images Plus

brown noise noun [U]
/ˌbraʊn ˈnɔɪz/
a type of sound that resembles a low rumble or the noise the sea makes, thought by some people to encourage sleep and relaxation

Welcome to the cult of brown noise, a sometimes hazily-defined category of neutral, dense sound that contains every frequency our ears can detect. Brown noise is like white noise but has a lower, deeper quality … There have been few studies on using brown noise as a sleep aid, though one of the claims floating around TikTok is that it can help you nod off.
[, 23 September 2022]

motion pillow noun [C]
UK /ˈməʊ.ʃən ˌpɪl.əʊ/ US /ˈmoʊ.ʃən ˌpɪl.oʊ/
a type of pillow that automatically adjusts the position of the sleeping person’s head when it detects that they are snoring

With innovative sleeping technology like a motion pillow, individuals suffering from chronic snoring enable uninterrupted nasal breathing. When this device detects snoring, it inflates and gently adjusts the user’s head without causing disturbances to alleviate snoring slowly. In turn, the person can avoid releasing annoying sounds at night and enable a restful sleep for their roommates.
[, 31 August 2022]

nap box noun [C]
UK /ˈnæp ˌbɒks/ US /ˈnæp ˌbɑːks/
a type of narrow cupboard designed for someone to stand in while they have a short nap, the inside having special shelves to support the person’s head and body

The workforce in Japan is apparently so overwhelmed that two companies are partnering up to create new upright “nap boxes.” Illustrations of the new design show neutral, innocuous-looking tubes with midcentury-inspired wooden legs. The shelves inside act like full-body armrests — helpful for preventing users from falling over as they doze off between meetings.
[, 15 July 2022]

About new words

a close-up photograph of one person passing a handful of bank notes to another - only their hands are visible against a black background

New words – 14 November 2022

a close-up photograph of one person passing a handful of bank notes to another - only their hands are visible against a black background
naruecha jenthaisong / Moment / Getty

Great Wealth Transfer noun [S]
UK /ˌgreɪt ˈwelθ ˌtræns.fɜːʳ/ US /ˌgreɪt ˈwelθ ˌtræns.fɝː/
the gradual movement of money from baby boomers (people born in the mid-1940s to mid-1960s) to younger generations, either given as gifts or passed on through inheritance

Ultimately, while the specific impacts at this stage remain relatively unknown, it’s important to acknowledge that the Great Wealth Transfer won’t just be about passing down money to adult children. It’s clear the transfer will redefine many aspects of the economy. So, what can you do today to stay ahead of the economic changes coming?
[, 27 September 2022]

effective altruism noun [U]
UK /ɪˌfek.tɪv ˈæl.tru.ɪ.zᵊm/ US /əˌfek.tɪv ˈæl.tru.ɪ.zᵊm/
a movement and area of research that aims to work out the best way of helping other people and solving the world’s problems

In a few short years, effective altruism has become the giving philosophy for many Silicon Valley programmers, hedge funders and even tech billionaires. At its core, effective altruism is devoted to the question of how one can do as much good as possible with the money and time available to them.
[, 8 October 2022]

thriftifarian noun [C]
UK /ˌθrɪft.əˈfeə.ri.ən/ US /ˌθrɪft.əˈfer.i.ən/
someone who is well off but pretends they have to spend less money and not buy certain things so that they appear to be in the same situation as most other people

I came up with a name for a similar group of people: “thriftifarians”. These are middle- or upper-class people who take virtuous pleasure in the selective economies they don’t need to make, especially during times of recession. It seems the thriftifarian is back, only this time what matters most is signalling your fictitious need to economise, whether you actually do so or not.
[, 17 October 2022]

About new words

a group of four young people on a boat smiling at the camera

New words – 7 November 2022

a group of four young people on a boat smiling at the camera
AscentXmedia / iStock / Getty Images Plus

liveaboard noun [C]
UK /ˈlɪv.əˌbɔːd/ US /ˈlɪv.əˌbɔːrd/
someone who lives permanently on a boat

The couple are currently in Greece, “a seagoing nation” they adore for its free mooring and the warm welcome extended to liveaboards. They dropped anchor on the small island of Meganisi when Covid struck but plan to cruise on towards Turkey. “Loads of liveaboards want to lap the world in five years or whatever,” Natalie says. “But we like to get to know new places rather than mindlessly circumnavigating the globe.”
[, 28 August 2022]

flying ferry noun [C]
/ˌflaɪ.ɪŋ ˈfer.i/
a large boat that can travel quickly above the surface of the water, used for taking passengers and often vehicles from one place to another

Three feet above the waves, with only its hydrofoils cutting through the water, the boat leaves virtually no wake, noise, or emissions—a sea change from the hulking diesel-powered ferries that currently haul commuters through the archipelago that makes up the Swedish capital. The aim is to have the flying ferry form a part of Stockholm’s public transport fleet.
[, 14 July 2022]

GOAT noun [C]
UK /gəʊt/ US /goʊt/
abbreviation for Greatest Of All Trips: used to refer to or describe the best, most expensive, most adventurous etc. holiday that someone has ever taken

More than two-thirds of Americans are planning to go big on their next trip. Expedia is calling this new “no-regrets” style of travel the “GOAT” (Greatest of All Trips) mindset … In the coming year, American travelers are going after their GOAT by stepping outside their comfort zone and immersing themselves in a destination, culture, and experiences completely different to their own.
[, 1 December 2021]

About new words

a bathtub with red and yellow petals floating in the water

New words – 31 October 2022

a bathtub with red and yellow petals floating in the water
courtneyk / iStock / Getty Images Plus

spiritual bath noun [C]
UK /ˌspɪr.ɪ.tʃu.əl ˈbɑːθ/ US /ˌspɪr.ə.tʃu.əl ˈbæθ/
a ritual that involves having a bath to encourage wellbeing, with oils, herbs, flowers etc. added to the water and in a relaxing environment, for example with candles and soft music

A souped up version of the bubble bath, spiritual baths are an art form. Replete with petals, candles, various elixirs and some seriously aesthetically pleasing decor, they’re designed to be blissfully drawn out, contemplative, great for your mental health and truly indulgent.
[, 22 August 2022]

wearapy noun [U]
UK /ˈweərə.pi/ US /ˈwerə.pi/
the activity of wearing particular clothes as a form of therapy, with the clothes chosen to make the wearer feel happy or comforted etc.

While you can use fashion to boost your mood and make you feel powerful, Forbes-Bell also wants us to consider the emotional importance of what we wear – something she calls “wearapy”. “It’s about understanding the emotional significance and attachment your clothes have,” she explains. “Within that, it’s asking you to understand when you’re putting something on, not just thinking, does this look good? But also, how does this make me feel?”
[, 15 September 2022]

scream pot noun [C]
UK /ˈskriːm ˌpɒt/ US /ˈskriːm ˌpɑːt/
a type of clay pot that you can scream into as a way of releasing negative emotions such as anger and frustration

Golkar started making his scream pots in 2011, seeking both to expand his practice with clay – and an outlet for his own repressed emotions. “It’s really difficult to pinpoint what the origins of those frustrations were,” he says, “but suffice to say, they must have been piling up for a while.”
[, 23 September 2022]

About new words

extreme close-up photograph of a nose overlaid with a translucent zig-zag line representing the sense of smell

New words – 24 October 2022

extreme close-up photograph of a nose overlaid with a translucent zig-zag line representing the sense of smell
artpartner-images / The Image Bank / Getty

super-smeller noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.pəˌsmeləʳ/ US /ˈsuː.pɚˌsmelɚ/
someone whose sense of smell is so powerful that they can smell things most other people cannot

From petrol and perfume to Parkinson’s disease, super-smellers can detect scents others are oblivious to … One of the most extreme cases of a super-smeller to emerge in recent years is a Scottish woman who noticed a certain “musty smell” on her husband in the years preceding his diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease. It was only once she walked into a support group for people living with Parkinson’s that she realised the scent was common among them.
[, 22 January 2022]

tomato flu noun [U]
UK /təˈmɑː.təʊ fluː/ US /təˈmeɪ.t̬oʊ fluː/
an infectious disease found in children that usually causes red blisters to form on the skin

Ever since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, people have been more concerned than ever about potential disease threats. The newest of these is called “tomato flu,” and has affected over 100 children in India, according to a recent correspondence in The Lancet. The authors report that tomato flu, likely a viral disease, was first identified in the Kollam district of Kerala, India on May 6, 2022.
[, 26 August 2022]

milestone anxiety noun [U]
UK /ˌmaɪl.stəʊn æŋˈzaɪ.ə.ti/ US /ˌmaɪl.stoʊn æŋˈzaɪ.ə.t̬i/
a condition in which someone feels frightened or very worried because they have not achieved the same things in life as other people of the same age

Sometimes it seems like everyone but you is reaching the traditional milestones – getting married, buying a house, having a baby, getting a promotion or starting a new business. The strain of not hitting these landmarks by a certain age can negatively impact wellbeing … Counsellors say that milestone anxiety is increasingly cropping up in therapy sessions, and that family, friends and social media can add to these feelings of inadequacy.
[, 16 September 2022]

About new words