New words – 7 May 2018


generation mute noun [U]
a way of referring to the generation of young people who tend to use written forms of communication, such as texting, rather than making phone calls

A survey by the regulator Ofcom has found a new “generation mute”: only 15% of 16 to 24 year olds consider phone calls the most important method of communication, compared with 36% who prefer instant messaging. In America, a study found that 80% of millennials … felt more comfortable conversing via text or online.
[Sunday Times, 5 November 2017]

cyberloafing noun [U]
UK /ˈsaɪ.bə.ləʊf.ɪŋ/ US /ˈsaɪ.bɚ.loʊf.ɪŋ/
the activity of spending working hours engaged in online activities that are not work related, such as checking social media sites and surfing the internet

“Cyberloafing is a compulsive behaviour for many people,” she tells Stylist. “It’s an attempt to replace something that we’re lacking, but we never get that ‘filled-up’ feeling. So it just goes on and on with the empty promise of replacing the things we actually want, like a fulfilling work day or a career in an industry we’re passionate about.”
[Stylist, 24 August 2017]

infobesity noun [U]
UK /ɪn.fəʊˈbiː.sə.ti/ US /ɪn.foʊˈbiː.sə.t̬i/
the state of having access to so much information that it leads to difficulties with decision-making, concentration and understanding

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you couldn’t even make a simple decision? Infobesity affects every company due to innovations like the internet, apps and sensors. Did you know a typical entrepreneur checks her email 50 to 100 times a day? Moreover, 60 percent of computer users feel the need to check their email in the bathroom.
[Huffington Post, 26 July 2017]

About new words

New words – 30 April 2018

efetova/iStock/Getty Images Plus

goth latte noun [C]
UK /gɒθ.ˈlɑː.t̬eɪ/ US /gɑː.θ.ˈlɑː.t̬eɪ/
a latte (a hot drink made from espresso coffee and hot milk) that also contains charcoal, making it black in colour

Now, finally, there’s a coffee that truly speaks to our inner Morticia Addams: say hello to the goth latte … So why is everyone so obsessed with these darker-than-dark coffees? Well, they’re not just good for your Instagram profile, they could also be good for your gut, too.
[Stylist, 19 May 2017]

egg coffee noun [U, C]
UK /ˈeg.kɒf.i/ US /ˈeg.kɑː.fi/
a Vietnamese hot drink consisting of coffee mixed with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and sometimes butter or cheese

The egg coffee is sweet and frothy, much like having a custard on top of an espresso, but with no hint of egg. The coffee underneath is a familiar espresso, improbably warm while not melting the cloud of egg above it. The cup comes in a small bowl filled with warm water to maintain the coffee’s temperature.
[, 11 December 2017]

third-wave coffee noun [U]
UK /θɜːd.weɪv.ˈkɒf.i/ US /θɝːd.ˈweɪv.ˈkɑː.fi/
a trend in coffee retailing that emphasises a high-quality, sustainable product, often roasted and brewed using new techniques

The growth of third-wave coffee is an undeniably good thing, both for coffee lovers and coffee shop owners alike. Coffee’s place in our culinary landscape has been cemented as a legitimate culinary experience as opposed to a simple drink we consume in the morning. The 3rd wave created a market for coffee that entrepreneurs all around the country have tapped to make a living doing what they love — roasting, brewing and serving artisanal coffee.
[, 20 June 2017]

About new words

New words – 23 April 2018

Mattis Quinn/EyeEm/Getty

zebra noun [U]
UK /ˈzeb.rə/, /ˈziː.brə/ US /ˈziː.brə/
a new company that aims to improve society as well as to make a profit

Aniyia … says she thinks too many investors in Silicon Valley are missing opportunities to be part of profitable, sustainable companies because they’re chasing things that aren’t real – unicorns. Zebras, by contrast, she says, are real. I meet Aniyia … at DazzleCon, the first gathering of the zebras, where founders and investors met in person to discuss business strategies and, if nothing else, to realize they’re not alone.
[, 23 November 2017]

kleptopredation noun [U]
UK /ˌklep.tə.prɪˈdeɪ.ʃᵊn/ US /ˌklep.toʊ.prɪˈdeɪ.ʃᵊn/
the act of eating prey that has just hunted so that the predator eats the prey of its prey too

More likely, kleptopredation serves nutritional needs. This way of catching prey boosts nudibranch intake substantially and is so clever that it seems likely sea slugs aren’t the only kleptopredators, the researchers say. The cunning hunting shown by slugs from Sicily could be happening elsewhere. Certainly, the biologists say, their findings suggest marine food webs are more complex than previously believed.
[, 2 November 2017]

ghost species noun [C]
UK /ˈgəʊst.ˌspiː.ʃiːz/ US /ˈgoʊst.ˌspiː.ʃiːz/
an ancient subspecies of human for which no tangible evidence, such as fossils, exists

“This unknown human relative could be a species that has been discovered, such as a subspecies of Homo erectus, or an undiscovered hominin,” says Gokcumen. “We call it a ‘ghost’ species because we don’t have the fossils.”
[, 24 July 2017]

About new words

New words – 16 April 2018

m-gucci / iStock / Getty Images Plus

maranoia noun [U]
the anxiety experienced by marathon runners before their race, especially the fear that they may become ill or injured and not be able to compete

Maranoia can be all-consuming, but you have just trained for a marathon and you’re in peak physical condition, so you’re strong enough to deal with a few mental setbacks. Now is the time to be resilient and soldier on. You are a runner and you can get through this!
[, no date]

vertical walking noun [U]
UK /ˈvɜː.tɪ.kᵊl ˈwɔː.kɪŋ/ US /ˈvɝː.t̬ə.kᵊl ˈwɑː.kɪŋ/
a method of moving yourself between floors of a building using your arms and legs to propel yourself and with the aid of a system of springs and pulleys

Vertical walking, an experimental prototype by Rombout Frieling Lab designed “to move ourselves between floors in a building,” exploits the potential of the human body, materials and intelligent design to require less than 10% of the effort required by taking a flight of stairs – and without the need for any sort of ancillary power supply. The ultimate aim of the designers is to allow people to “move harmoniously through our vertical habitats of the future.”
[, 24 October 2016]

Bokwa noun [U]
UK /ˈbɒk.wɑː/ US /ˈbɑːk.wɑː/ TRADEMARK
a type of exercise in which you do dance moves and step aerobics, usually in a class with other people

Aditi Pandey, a Belapur resident and mother of a six-year-old, credits Bokwa for her high energy levels. Enrolled for a year in a Bokwa class in the area, Pandey said that it is a very simple dance form and requires no memorisation of steps. “It is a cardio-stimulating activity and involves a little bit of hip-hop and step aerobics. We move according to English letters and jazz it up with shimmies or freestyle moves. There is no involvement of any choreographer or intense training.”
[The Times of India, 4 June 2017]

About new words

New words – 9 April 2018

Kathleen Finlay/Image Source/Getty

range anxiety noun [U]
UK /ˈreɪndʒ æŋˈzaɪ.ə.ti/ US /ˈreɪndʒ æŋˈzaɪ.ə.t̬i/
the worry experienced by the driver of an electric car that the vehicle will run out of power before it reaches its destination

There could be no better time to buy an electric car as finally the infrastructure to support these vehicles seems to be catching up. Range anxiety is a dark cloud hanging over electric cars in the minds of customers, but the new investment in charging networks could greatly alleviate this.
[, 7 November 2017]

droneway noun [C]
UK /ˈdrəʊn.weɪ/ US /ˈdroʊn.weɪ/
a long, level piece of ground with a specially prepared smooth, hard surface on which drones take off and land

It sounds like something one might find in California’s “Silicon Valley” rather than on the wild and often windy west coast of Scotland. But the world’s first dedicated “droneway” will see the remotely controlled aircraft cross from the mainland to Stornoway on the island of Lewis. Telecoms experts hope to show that, with the use of established routes, drones can travel safely alongside commercial aircraft.
[, 11 September 2017]

multicopter noun [C]
UK /ˈmʌl.ti.kɒp.təʳ/ US /ˈmʌl.ti.kɑːp.tɚ/
a type of helicopter that has more than one rotor

The Volocopter VC200 made aircraft history as the first certified multicopter to fly with a person onboard. Designed by German company e-volo, this electric aircraft gives people a glimpse into a future where, one day, ubers and taxis travel above street traffic to their next destination.
[, 27 April 2016]

About new words

New words – 2 April 2018


distracted walking noun [U]
UK /dɪˈstræk.tɪd ˈwɔː.kɪŋ/ US /dɪˈstræk.tɪd ˈwɑː.kɪŋ/
the minor crime of crossing the road while looking at your mobile phone or similar device and therefore posing a danger to motorists and other pedestrians

As such, the newly tabled private member’s bill at Queen’s Park aimed at curbing so-called “distracted walking” amounts to evidence-blind legislative overreach. The proposed law, which would impose fines of up to $125 for crossing the street while using a cellphone, is itself a distraction from the real causes and solutions to Ontario’s – and, in particular, Toronto’s – growing pedestrian safety problem.
[, 30 October 2017]

smombie noun [C]
UK /ˈsmɒ US /ˈsmɑː
a pedestrian who is distracted by their mobile phone or similar device

Germany also boasts the distinction of installing some of the world’s first traffic lights in the pavement, designed to stop smombies walking out in front of a bus.
[, 29 November 2016]

zombie law noun [C]
UK /ˈzɒ lɔː/ US /ˈzɑː lɑː/
a law that bans people from crossing the road while distracted by their mobile phone or similar device

As Honolulu rolls out the new “zombie law”, other North American cities have been watching carefully. Earlier this year, the Toronto City Council in Canada voted to ask provincial Ontario to amend the existing traffic laws to make distracted walking an offence. However, the province turned the request down, and the city is instead concentrating on public education.
[, 27 October 2017]

About new words

New words – 26 March 2018

Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision/Getty

STEMinist noun [C]
UK /ˈstem.ɪ.nɪst/ US /ˈstem.ə.nɪst/
someone who promotes equal opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (known collectively as STEM)

Providing young women with positive role models is crucial if we are to inspire them to take up a career in science, technology, engineering or maths. That’s why Randox has teamed up with other key employers and organisations within Northern Ireland to celebrate the work of STEMinists across the country and share their stories.
[, 16 June 2017]

bropropriation noun [U]
UK /brəʊˌprəʊ.priˈeɪ.ʃᵊn/ US /broʊˌproʊ.priˈeɪ.ʃᵊn/
a situation when a man takes a woman’s idea, claims that it is his own and gets the credit for it

So what can you do? In her book, Feminist Fight Club, author Jessica Bennett suggests the following: find a male ally who sees the problem and put him on bropropriation watch, getting him to point it out when he sees it.
[The Pool, 3 August 2017]

hepeating noun [U]
a situation when a man repeats a good idea expressed by a woman and acts as though it were his own

Pretty much any woman you ask will have experienced some form of hepeating over the course of her life. For me it was university, where I’d say something in a tutorial and then some guy … would say, ‘Yeah, just coming off the back of that, I was thinking…’ and then say exactly what I had just said without adding anything.
[, 26 September 2017]

About new words

New words – 19 March 2018

voronas/iStock/Getty Images Plus

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