New words – 19 March 2018

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reverse vending noun [U]
UK /rɪˈvɜːs ˈven.dɪŋ/ US /rɪˈvɝːs ˈven.dɪŋ/
the activity of putting empty plastic bottles into a machine so that they can be recycled, and getting a small amount of money back for each one

Detailed work is expected to begin this month on how a “deposit-return” scheme for bottles and cans might work in Scotland. One of the radical schemes likely to be considered is “reverse vending”, where the empty plastic bottles are fed into a network of machines in shops and supermarkets. The system has operated for decades in many Scandinavian countries where recycling rates are about double our own.
[, 4 September 2017]

shop dropping noun [U]
UK /ˈʃɒp ˌdrɒp.ɪŋ/ US /ˈʃɑːp ˌdrɑː.pɪŋ/
the activity of leaving messages hidden in a shop (often in the pockets of a piece of clothing) to raise awareness of the ethical practices of the manufacturer or retailer

In an attempt to shine a spotlight on the ethics of the British fashion industry, its members will be spending the four-day clothing festival in high-street stores near LFW’s Somerset House base engaged in “shop dropping”. This involves creating messages of protest, taking them into retailers and planting them inside the pockets of clothing for consumers to find.
[, 4 September 2017]

slow fashion noun [U]
UK /sləʊ ˈfæʃ.ᵊn/ US /sloʊ ˈfæʃ.ᵊn/
the activity of making and buying clothes that are of high quality and designed to last, with low impact on the environment

In just three years, the British footwear label Dear Frances has won a following that includes Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Sienna Miller, as well as industry accolades … Yet despite its rapid rise, the company remains dedicated to the concept of slow fashion. Each piece is handmade in Italy, and although the label introduces some new styles each season, the core of the business remains its collection of best sellers.
[New York Times, 11 October 2017]

About new words

New words – 12 March 2018


coffin cubicle noun [C]
UK /ˈkɒf.ɪn kjuː.bɪ.kᵊl/ US /ˈkɑː.fɪn kjuː.bɪ.kᵊl/
a very small living space for one person made from an apartment that has been subdivided into units

The cost of living in a coffin cubicle? Over half of their monthly income. Few have their own bathroom facilities and virtually none have any sanitary space for cooking, washing or eating. Facilities are shared or, worse still, kitchens share space with bathrooms.
[, 9 October 2017]

broken-heart syndrome noun [U]
UK /ˈbrəʊ.kᵊnˈhɑːt ˈsɪn.drəʊm/ US /ˈbroʊ.kᵊnˈhɑːt ˈsɪn.droʊm/
a temporary medical condition which affects the heart and is usually caused by a stressful or upsetting situation

Once medications stabilised Simpson, the physicians talked to her about the stress in her life, and they told her about broken-heart syndrome. It “made complete sense,” Simpson said. She was sent home after two days, and though she still takes two heart medications, she is doing fine.
[, 20 October 2017]

death cleaning noun [U]
/ˈdeθ kliː.nɪŋ/
the practice of throwing away things you don’t need as you get older, so that after your death your friends or family do not have to deal with a large number of possessions you have left behind

Magnusson says people should start thinking about death cleaning as soon as they’re old enough to start thinking about their own mortality. “Don’t collect things you don’t want,” she says. “One day when you’re not around anymore, your family would have to take care of all that stuff, and I don’t think that’s fair.”
[Time, 17 October 2017]

About new words

New words – 5 March 2018

Somsak Bumroongwong / EyeEm / Getty

stoozing noun [U]
the practice of borrowing money on a credit card with a 0% interest rate and then investing the same money in a bank account that pays a high interest rate so that a profit can be made when the original loan is repaid

“Ideally stoozing would be most appropriate for consumers who already have savings and a decent income,” explained Rachel. “This is so that they could leave the deposit untouched in a high interest current account, while also meeting any minimum funding requirements to be eligible for interest, and at the same time managing repayments on a credit card.”
[, 27 September 2017]

price gouging noun [U]
the act of increasing the price of goods or services beyond what is considered fair, normally during a state of emergency

As Hurricane Irma … hits the northeast Caribbean, Florida residents are already seeing price gouging for items like water, food and gas as they prepare for the storm that is on track to reach parts of the state by the weekend. Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi opened a price-gouging hotline for residents to report these instances, and a “high volume of complaints” have already rolled in since it opened on Monday.
[, 7 September 2017]

robo-adviser noun [C]
UK /ˈrəʊ.bəʊ.ədˈvaɪ.zəʳ/ US /ˈroʊ.boʊ.ədˈvaɪ.zɚ/
a computer system that uses algorithms and other software to provide financial advice

New customers usually answer online questions about their financial goals and attitude to risk. The robo-adviser then suggests portfolios that it will manage for them. This can be done within minutes.
[Sunday Times, 2 July 2017]

About new words

New words – 26 February 2018

Caiaimage/Robert Daly/Caiaimage/Getty

wild cycling noun [U]
/ˈwaɪld ˈsaɪ.klɪŋ/
the activity of exploring the countryside by bicycle, using only small paths and lanes

Wild cycling is a release: it’s getting back to nature, and even more to our collective childhoods. That’s when most of us first got bikes. Remember how it felt? The freedom, the means to roam and discover places, and the visceral rush of bombing through the woods and bouncing over the bumps. It’s escaping traffic, living in the moment – but above all wild cycling is childlike fun.
[The Telegraph, 3 September 2017]

slow adventure noun [U, sometimes C]
UK /sləʊ ədˈven.tʃəʳ/ US /sloʊ ədˈven.tʃɚ/
a type of holiday involving outdoor activities that allow you to appreciate the natural environment and are not physically demanding

A new adventure concept called ‘slow adventure’ has just been revealed in Northern Ireland … Slow adventure focuses on slow, immersive experiences that engage with nature and provide an opportunity to learn about the local environment, food and wildlife whilst also taking part in an activity … Those who book onto an experience could get to enjoy walking through the Sperrin Mountains foraging for food along the way, bake their own bread the traditional way in a farmhouse kitchen, see how artisan cheese is produced or have a go at traditional fishing and cook their catch on a wild camp fire.
[Outdoor Enthusiast, 11 September 2017]

river bugging noun [U]
UK /ˈrɪv.ə bʌg.ɪŋ/ US /ˈrɪv.ɚ bʌg.ɪŋ/
a type of outdoor activity involving sitting in a very small inflatable boat shaped like an armchair (called a river bug) and being carried along a river where the current is very strong

River bugging is the latest thing to hit the UK shores from New Zealand … After receiving expert instruction from our experienced river bug guides, we’ll get you out on the white water course. You will be complete with your webbed gloves and full wet suit gear, ready to hit the course.
[, 28 March 2017]

About new words

New words – 19 February 2018

Thomas_EyeDesign/iStock/Getty Images Plus

napercise noun [U]
UK /ˈnæp.ə.saɪz/ US /ˈnæp.ɚ.saɪz/
a type of exercise class that involves sleeping for a short time

David Lloyd Gyms have launched a new health and fitness class which is essentially a bunch of people taking a nap for 45 minutes. The fitness group was spurred to launch the ‘napercise’ class after research revealed 86 per cent of parents said they were fatigued. The class is therefore predominantly aimed at parents but you actually do not have to have children to take part.
[, 28 April 2017]

sweatworking noun [U]
UK /ˈswet.wɜː.kɪŋ/ US /ˈswet.wɝː.kɪŋ/
any activity that combines exercise with networking, such as going to the gym with business clients

“Sweatworking is about combining your work meetings with your workouts, to the benefit of both,” explains Steven Ward, CEO of non-profit fitness lobby UK Active. “It’s an efficient way to get some exercise while developing a greater rapport with clients and colleagues.” Dubious? Don’t be. Sweatworking is a bona fide thing, and yes, real people are actually doing it.
[Men’s Health, 5 September 2017]

Fitstagrammer noun [C]
UK /ˈfit.stə.græm.əʳ/ US /ˈfit.stə.græm.ɚ/
someone who posts on the social media site Instagram about fitness and healthy eating

The disposition of the Fitstagrammer – or certainly the one he live-feeds on social media to his hundreds of thousands of dedicated digital disciples – is one of unchecked buoyancy. He is a human medicine ball with a lunatic’s smile, a Prozac pill with glutes the size of watermelons. He’s like one of those grinning, gormless punchbags once found at fairgrounds: the harder life hits them the faster they come bouncing back up.
[GQ, 26 July 2017]

About new words

New words – 12 February 2018


shoefie noun [C]
a photo of one’s shoes, posted on a social media site

A shoefie—a selfie of your footwear—is the bread and butter of the fashion girl’s Instagram arsenal. After all, in the age of social media, does it even matter that you bought a killer pair of heels if nobody sees it on your grid?
[, 11 August 2017]

plandid noun [C]
a photograph posted on a social media site that is designed to look as though the subject was unaware it was being taken

It’s unclear precisely who coined the term but a quick Instagram search will show you more than 500 plandids of people trying to nail that nonchalant look. You’ll see a stream of people looking oh-so-casually at the ground, or gazing into the horizon. Others will be mid-prance with a hand cocked to a jaunty angle. “Oh, I didn’t even realise you were taking a photo,” is the aesthetic.
[, 1 August 2017]

bothie noun [C]
UK /ˈbəʊθ.i/ US /ˈboʊθ.i/
a split-screen image of two photos or videos taken using the front- and back-facing cameras of a phone at the same time

Allow me to introduce you to “the bothie.” It’s not a selfie, nor a normal photo … but a hybrid of the two. It’s a composite shot from both cameras on your phone, showing both you and whatever else is out there. It’s a bothie. Crazy idea? Maybe. And yet, if history is any indication, you’ll scoff at the bothie now and then while you’re not looking they will take over the world.
[, 16 August 2017]

About new words

New words – 5 February 2018

Krishnadev Chattopadhyay/iStock/Getty Images Plus

living bridge noun [C]
a bridge made of plant roots, usually those of the rubber tree

The Indian state of Meghalaya experiences some of the highest levels of rainfall on Earth. Floods could cut off villages during the monsoon season, but the indigenous Khasi people use the roots of the rubber tree (Ficus elastica) to create so-called “living bridges” to allow crossings throughout the year.
[, 24 March 2017]

forest city noun [C]
UK /ˈfɒr.ɪstˈsɪt.i/ US /ˈfɔːr.ɪstˈsɪt̬.i/
a city with a very large number of plants and trees that absorb substances causing pollution and create a healthy atmosphere

Plans for a green ‘forest city’ that will help to fight pollution are about to become a reality as construction begins on an innovative new project in southern China. The Liuzhou Forest City … is the first ever city of its kind as it will produce 900 tonnes of oxygen and help absorb almost 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and 57 tonnes of pollutants every year.
[, 30 June 2017]

Wood Wide Web noun [U]
the underground network of roots and fungi that links trees and other plants to each other

The term Wood Wide Web has come to describe the complex mass of interactions between trees and their microbial counterparts underneath the soil. Spend enough time among trees and you may get a sense that they have been around for centuries, standing tall and sturdy, self-sufficient and independent. But anchoring trees and forestry everywhere, and therefore enjoining them into an almost singular superorganism, is a very intimate relationship between their roots and microbes called mycorrhizal fungi.
[The New Statesman, 28 August 2016]

About new words


New words – 29 January 2018

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peticure noun [C]
UK /ˈpet.ɪ.kjʊəʳ/ US /ˈpet.ɪ.kjʊr/
a pedicure (a beauty treatment for the feet and toenails) given to pets such as dogs

Ria Winstanley runs the Pet Spa in Chelsea, west London. She doesn’t see the peticure business booming in the UK just yet. She says her salon used to occasionally paint dogs’ nails back when they had an outlet in Harrods, “but we certainly don’t do cats – if you had ever had to groom a cat, I don’t think you’d be asking me that question. When grooming cats, you do what you can, then get out.”
[The Guardian, 13 September 2017]

Continue reading “New words – 29 January 2018”

New words – 22 January 2018

Noel Hendrickson/DigitalVision/Getty

flightseeing noun [U]
the activity of seeing interesting places from an aircraft

Forget sightseeing. Who wants tedious queues to tick off must-see sights when you can rise above it all and go flightseeing instead? Yep, flightseeing – essentially sightseeing by air – which makes it infinitely more appealing, particularly in Vancouver, a city made to be seen from above.
[The Times, 19 August 2017]

megamoon noun [C]
a honeymoon on which the married couple’s friends are also invited

When they sent the invite through it was pretty bananas. It said how much it would cost, where it would be and that they’d love us to come on their honeymoon with them. I didn’t have a megamoon, but now I’m thinking, why not? I loved bringing groups together before the big day, so I wish I’d extended that to afterwards.
[Grazia, 22 August 2017]

biometric border noun [C]
UK /ˌbaɪ.əʊˈmet.rɪk ˈbɔː.dəʳ/ US /ˌbaɪ.oʊˈmet.rɪk ˈbɔːr.dɚ/
the place in an airport where someone’s identity is checked using image recognition technology

It is a tedious indignity of modern air travel but the bleary-eyed wait at passport control could soon become a thing of the past. A British company has been commissioned by one of the world’s busiest airports to develop a “biometric border” that recognises faces automatically in anticipation of a future without queues. Passengers at Dubai airport would have their faces scanned using lasers as they walked through a tunnel. Those recognised and approved for entry could collect their baggage without the need to wait at passport control.
[The Times, 14 June 2017]

About new words

New words – 15 January 2018

DreamPictures/Blend Images/Getty

latte levy noun [C]
UK /ˈlæt.eɪˌlev.i/ US /ˈlɑː.t̬eɪˌlev.i/
a tax paid on disposable, non-recyclable coffee cups the aim of which is to encourage customers to bring their own cup and therefore reduce waste

MPs on the Environment Audit Committee have argued that a so-called latte levy should apply to disposable cups with the revenue used to pay for improved recycling facilities. 
[, 4 January 2018]

raw water noun [U, C]
UK /rɔːˈwɔː.təʳ/ US /rɑːˈwɑː.t̬ɚ/
water that is unfiltered and untreated, thought by some people to be a healthier alternative to tap water

Thinking of buying some “raw water”? Well, first of all, congratulations. Money is obviously not a major constraint for you if you can afford to spend $36.99 or more on a 2.5 gallon jug of water. … Secondly, as with all products, caveat emptor (or buyer beware). After all, raw water is a completely new thing (or actually a very old thing from [the] 1800s back when life expectancy was 40 years or below), and regulations have yet to catch up to this new fad.
[, 7 January 2018]

super coffee noun [U, C]
UK /ˈsuː.pəʳˌkɒf.i/ US /ˈsuː.pɚˌkɑː.fi/
coffee that has had ingredients such as seeds, oats and spices added in order to increase its health benefits

Turns out ordering a skinny latte is so 2015. Instead in 2018, your go-to barista is going to be inundated with orders for ‘super coffee’ with saves up 218%. Think adding protein powders and superfoods like maca to your caffeine hit.
[, 15 December 2017]

About new words