a small white cat with black and orange markings on its ears and tail looking frightened by something off-camera

Wimps and scaredy-cats: talking about people who are not brave

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a small white cat with black and orange markings on its ears and tail looking frightened by something off-camera
Brian Farrell / Moment Open / GettyImages

by Liz Walter

My last post was on the topic of bravery, so by way of a contrast, this one looks at words and phrases connected with the opposite. The most common word for someone who isn’t brave is coward. The related adjective is cowardly (one of those rare adjectives that ends in -ly) and the noun is cowardice: Continue reading “Wimps and scaredy-cats: talking about people who are not brave”

a middle-aged woman leaning against a railing in a minimalist white room, wearing jeans, a buttoned white shirt, and a beige jacket

New words – 5 June 2023

a middle-aged woman leaning against a railing in a minimalist white room, wearing jeans, a buttoned white shirt, and a beige jacket
Rick Gomez / The Image Bank / Getty

rich mom energy noun [U]
UK /ˌrɪtʃ mɒm ˈen.ə.dʒi/ US /ˌrɪtʃ mɑːm ˈen.ɚ.dʒi/
the confident attitude and simple, elegant way of dressing that suggests a woman has a lot of money

Rich mom energy was similarly inspired by the lifestyle (and fashion) choices of the superrich. An extension of the quiet luxury trend, it also denotes ostensibly low-key garments—neutral shades, simple cuts, no logos—that are nonetheless ultraluxurious and wildly expensive.
[glamour.com, 17 April 2023]

blandstanding noun [U]
/ˈblænd.stæn.dɪŋ/
wearing clothes that are simple and practical, although very expensive

The quiet, understated rise of blandstanding: standing out amid the sea of gimmicky TikTok trends is an altogether more subtle look. It’s time for blandstanding. Which is? A self-assured appreciation of the familiar, the quotidian, the (maybe just a little bit) boring.
[standard.co.uk, 20 February 2023]

quiet luxury noun [U]
UK /ˌkwaɪ.ət ˈlʌk.ʃər.i/ US /ˌkwaɪ.ət ˈlʌk.ʃər.i/
a fashion trend where clothing is of very high quality, well-cut and in neutral colours

Meanwhile, on TikTok, fashion fans are deeply invested in “quiet luxury,” trading Y2K-inspired trends for minimalist styles and muted colour palettes, and becoming a phenomenon in the process. Thanks to the latter, the search term “quiet luxury” has surpassed 35 billion views on TikTok … Quiet luxury is nothing new. Tech billionaires like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have worn three-figure t-shirts to work for decades.
[refinery29.com, 9 May 2023]

About new words

picture of an old, worn teddy bear against a dark red background

On its last legs (Describing the condition of objects, Part 1)

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picture of an old, worn teddy bear against a dark red background
Pete Noel / iStock / Getty Images Plus

by Kate Woodford

A friend recently told me that she needed a new sofa. Her current one, she said, ‘had seen better days’, meaning that it was clearly old and damaged. This nice idiom (‘have seen better days’) got me thinking about the many ways we describe the condition of objects, both good and bad. This post, in two parts and covering both single words and phrases, is the result of this. Continue reading “On its last legs (Describing the condition of objects, Part 1)”

close-up of a hand withdrawing money from a cash machine

New words – 29 May 2023

close-up of a hand withdrawing money from a cash machine
Image Source / Getty

jugging noun [U]
/ˈdʒʌg.ɪŋ/
a crime in which a robber waits at a cashpoint or bank for someone to withdraw money, before following them and stealing the money from them

Heart-stopping video captured on a home surveillance camera shows a Richardson man run for his life as a stranger darts after him. Richardson police tell NBC 5 it could be an attempted jugging. Juggings involve criminals staking out banks looking for customers leaving with cash. The crooks then follow their potential victim to their next stop and either rob them or break into the victim’s car to take the money.
[nbcdfw.com, 17 March 2023]

rom-con noun [C]
UK /ˈrɒmˌkɒn/ US /ˈrɑːmˌkɑːn/
a situation where a criminal tricks someone into a fake romantic relationship and exploits their trust to get money or personal information out of them

This is romance fraud or, rather snappily, “rom-con”, a crime that’s rising due to the cost-of-living crisis … ITV reported that Santander has launched a specialist division to combat rom-cons: the Break the Spell team works to “interrupt” customers who have been identified as being at high risk, stepping in when the person could be about to send large amounts of cash.
[theguardian.com, 7 May 2023]

infostealer noun [C]
UK /ˈɪn.fəʊ.stiː.ləʳ/ US /ˈɪn.foʊ.stiː.lɚ/
a type of computer software that has been deliberately designed to steal information such as passwords, bank account details etc.

There’s a wide range of data that cybercriminals aim to access through the use of infostealers. Most notably, payment card details and login credentials are highly valuable. A criminal could either directly use this data to their advantage or sell it on a dark web marketplace to other malicious actors.
[makeuseof.com, 30 October 2022]

About new words

a man with his mouth open and eyebrows raised in a shocked expression, halfway through removing his glasses as he stares at something off-camera

Stunned and thunderstruck (Words for being surprised or shocked)

Listen to the author reading this blog post:

a man with his mouth open and eyebrows raised in a shocked expression, halfway through removing his glasses as he stares at something off-camera
izusek / iStock / Getty Images Plus

by Kate Woodford

This post is for anyone who feels they use the words ‘surprised’ and ‘shocked’ too much and is looking for more interesting alternatives. It will include both single words and phrases. Continue reading “Stunned and thunderstruck (Words for being surprised or shocked)”

a man in a black suit and glasses has a concerned expression as he looks at a model of the Earth

New words – 22 May 2023

a man in a black suit and glasses has a concerned expression as he looks at a model of the Earth
westend61 / getty

doomerism noun [U]
/ˈduːmər.ɪz.ᵊm/
a feeling of worry and fear that a situation will not get better, especially with regard to climate change

Doomerism, or extreme pessimism, is an increasingly common attitude regarding the disheartening trends of climate change. It’s not uncommon to hear “We’re screwed, and nobody is going to help us.” While this attitude is understandable, it can distract from the fight against climate change.
[future.green, 15 August 2022]

danger season noun [S]
UK /ˈdeɪn.dʒə ˌsiː.zən/ US /ˈdeɪn.dʒɚ ˌsiː.zən/
a new way of referring to summer because of the increased likelihood of droughts, wildfires and extreme heat caused by climate change

But summer isn’t what it used to be. The season is getting so hot that it might be time for a new name: “danger season.” … “Climate change has pushed a lot of these types of events into a new realm that is much more dangerous,” said Kristy Dahl, a climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “So as we were thinking about this season, and how we’re going to respond to it, the phrase ‘danger season’ seemed appropriate.”
[wired.com, 18 June 2022]

flash drought noun [C]
/ˌflæʃ ˈdraʊt/
a sudden period of little or no rain

Fast-forming droughts are occurring more often and with greater speed in many parts of the world due to climate change, a new study finds. These “flash droughts” are replacing more typical, slower ones and are harder to predict and prepare for, which could make their management more difficult.
[sciencenews.org, 13 April 2023]

About new words

a relaxed woman leaning back in her chair in a modern office with large plant in the background

New words – 15 May 2023

a relaxed woman leaning back in her chair in a modern office with large plant in the background
westend61 / Getty

Bare Minimum Mondays noun [plural]
UK /ˌbeə ˌmɪn.ɪ.məm ˈmʌn.deɪz/ US /ˌber ˌmɪn.ə.məm ˈmʌn.deɪz/
the trend of doing as little as possible at work on Mondays in order to reduce stress during the rest of the week

There’s a new day of the week that’s gaining popularity among Gen Z workers — “Bare Minimum Mondays.” Bare Minimum Mondays give employees the opportunity to focus only on the most essential tasks on Mondays, freeing up the rest of the week for more creative and fulfilling work.
[realresearcher.com, 27 March 2023]

the Great Regret noun [S]
/ðə ˌgreɪt rɪˈgret/
a trend in the employment market that has seen many people who left their jobs during the Great Resignation regret their decision

The “Great Resignation” is now the “Great Regret”: 80% of job hoppers wish they hadn’t quit their old roles, with Gen Z the most regretful … It seemed like such a good idea at the time. And yet for those who handed in their notice during the so-called “Great Resignation” of 2021, many have seen little benefit for the upheaval.
[fortune.com, 9 February 2023]

proximity bias noun [U]
UK /prɒkˈsɪm.ə.ti ˌbaɪ.əs/ US /prɑːkˈsɪm.ə.t̬i ˌbaɪ.əs/
the way in which people, usually managers, are more likely to treat an employee better if the employee is physically present in the workplace rather than working remotely

The recent shift to remote and hybrid work has created a “visibility” concern for many employees. Proximity bias describes how people in positions of power tend to treat workers who are physically closer to them more favorably, and stems from the antiquated assumption that those who work remotely are less productive than those who work from the office.
[https://hbr.org/, 4 October 2022]

About new words

two women in an office laughing and taking a selfie together

New words – 8 May 2023

two women in an office laughing and taking a selfie together
Luis Alvarez / DigitalVision / Getty

frolleague noun [C]
UK /ˈfrɒl.iːg/ US /ˈfrɑː.liːg/
a colleague who becomes a friend

By having frolleagues you feel a little bit less at work and more with folks that you have a personal connection with. In interactions with frolleagues your work feels less transactional. I’ve found that I can find trusted frolleagues in different parts of the company, not just in my own area, which is great for collaborating and getting other perspectives.
[linkedin.com, 8 November 2022]

friendshoring noun [U]
/ˈfrend.ʃɔː.rɪŋ/
the practice of operating a business or part of a business in a country that is an ally

Essentially friendshoring refers to the rerouting of supply chains to countries perceived as politically and economically safe or low-risk, to avoid disruption to the flow of business. Tech giant Apple is one American company to have recently made friendshoring moves, relocating some of its iPhone production to India from China.
[weforum.org, 17 February 2023]

friendship recession noun [C]
/ˈfrend.ʃɪp rɪˌseʃ.ən/
a period when many people have few or no friends

American men appear to be stuck in a “friendship recession” — a trend that predates the Covid-19 pandemic but that seems to have accelerated over the past several years as loneliness levels have crept up worldwide. In a 2021 survey of more than 2,000 adults in the United States, less than half of the men said they were truly satisfied with how many friends they had, while 15 percent said they had no close friends at all.
[nytimes.com, 28 November 2022]

About new words

a blue sky seen through tree canopies

New words – 1 May 2023

a blue sky seen through tree canopies
Taiyou Nomachi / DigitalVision / Getty

skychology noun [U]
UK /skaɪˈkɒl.ə.dʒi/ US /skaɪˈkɑː.lə.dʒi/
the act of looking up at the sky, thought by some people to be good for your wellbeing

Introducing “skychology” – the simple act of looking upwards, towards the sky. It has been found to have a positive effect on our wellbeing. The practice of skychology was coined by coaching psychologist Paul Conway. Paul says: “The sky can often mirror how we are feeling, and remind us that everything is constantly changing – including our emotions and how we are feeling”.
[countryliving.com, 6 October 2022]

soil bathing noun [U]
/ˈsɔɪl ˌbeɪ.ðɪŋ/
the practice of immersing your body in wet earth as a way of improving your mental health

Given the connection between soil and wellbeing, it’s no surprise that soil-related experiences could be the next big thing in wellness-based tourism and hospitality, with some companies already offering experiences that connect people quite literally with the earth. Typical offerings like organic plant-based menus will be built upon with experiences like soil bathing, mud spa treatments and food foraging tours.
[nzherald.co.nz, 16 May 2022]

mind gym noun [C]
/ˈmaɪnd ˌdʒɪm/
a place or club where you can go to do classes and have treatments that improve your mental health

When I got an email inviting me to visit London’s first-ever “mind gym”, it’s safe to say I jumped at the opportunity. As someone who writes a lot about mental health and wellbeing, I not only wanted to see what on earth a mind gym actually is but also whether the classes and therapies on offer would make a noticeable difference to how I felt when I went in.
[stylist.co.uk, October 2022]

About new words

four seated men seen from the chest downwards - three are sitting formally and wearing plain black suits, and one is sitting casually with crossed legs and wearing a bright red suit

Out of the ordinary: ways of saying that something is unusual (2)

Listen to the author reading this blog post:

four seated men seen from the chest downwards - three are sitting formally and wearing plain black suits, and one is sitting casually with crossed legs and wearing a bright red suit
Peter Cade / Stone / Gettymages

by Kate Woodford

My last blog post looked at adjectives used to describe things that are unusual or in some way different. In today’s post, I focus on idioms and phrases in this area. Continue reading “Out of the ordinary: ways of saying that something is unusual (2)”