New words – 2 September 2019

jacktheflipper / iStock / Getty Images Plus

homework therapist noun [C]
UK /ˈhəʊm.wɜːk.θer.ə.pɪst/ US /ˈhoʊm.wɝːk.θer.ə.pɪst/
someone whose job is to help students with their schoolwork and exams and to help them deal with issues such as stress and anxiety

Homework therapist? Yes, you read that correctly. It is a growing educational trend in the US, with parents paying fees of $150 to $600 (£115 to £465) for regular sessions of up to 75 minutes. In succeed-at-all costs New York, where parents will do almost anything to get their offspring in pole position on the starting grid of life, paying hundreds of dollars an hour for this specialised and individual approach may be no big deal.
[The Times, 8 September 2018]

break-up concierge noun [C]
UK /ˈbreɪk.ʌp.kɒn.sieəʒ/ US /ˈbreɪk.ʌp.kɑːn.siˈerʒ/
a person or company whose job is to help someone after their relationship has ended, such as by finding new accommodation for them

Onward is a break-up concierge – now, you may be asking yourself, what is a breakup concierge? Is it just someone who delivers you ice cream until you’re ready to move on? Well, kind of. There may not be ice cream, but they are dedicated to helping you through a breakup and getting your life started again – and maybe you can request some ice cream on the side.
[www.bustle.com, 25 February 2019]

data humanist noun [C]
UK /ˌdeɪ.tə.ˈhjuː.mə.nɪst/ US /ˌdeɪ.t̬ə.ˈhjuː.mə.nɪst/
someone who presents information in a way that is beautiful to look at and tells a story

The information designer and data humanist Giorgia Lupi describes her profession as “telling stories with data,” which sounds like an oxymoron, until you see her work … Her work, consistent with her upbringing, brings a tactile feel to computer code, and her appointment is an occasion to assess information design — a field located between graphic design and data science — and the possibilities it holds.
[The New Yorker, 25 May 2019]

About new words

New words – 26 August 2019

Wivoca / iStock / Getty Images Plus

tiny house noun [C]
/ˌtaɪ.ni.ˈhaʊs/
a very small home (measuring less than 37 square metres) whose residents are usually supporters of the Tiny House movement, which promotes a simpler, less materialistic lifestyle

Living large is officially a thing of the past. Settling in a tiny house is more than just a trend – it’s a lifestyle choice that people all over the country are happily taking up. Although many structures can measure less than 300 feet, with ideas this stylish and innovative, small-sized homes are anything but a sacrifice.
[Country Living, 9 January 2019]

co-ho noun [U]
UK /ˈkəʊ.həʊ/ US /ˈkoʊ.hoʊ/
abbreviation for co-housing: a system where several people buy neighbouring houses at the same time and start a community where facilities are shared

The “co-ho” concept has many variations; it usually means a group of like-minded people clubbing together to find a site and then designing and building their own homes. Often co-housing developments have shared spaces and may be aimed at a particular interest group.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 8 May 2019]

microflat noun [C]
UK /ˈmaɪ.krəʊ.flæt/ US /ˈmaɪ.kroʊ.flæt/
a very small apartment, usually found in large cities where there is not enough housing for all the people who live there

A first-time buyer has forked out £285,000 on a microflat the size of a caravan in a bid to get on the London property ladder. Lissa Cardell, 32, bought her minuscule apartment in Croydon just over a year ago and says she is happy to compromise on space because it is “completely her own”.
[www.dailymail.co.uk, 11 October 2018]

About new words

New words – 19 August 2019

J.P.Andersen Images / Moment / Getty

Steve noun [U]
/sti:v/
the nickname for a recently discovered natural appearance of purple lights in the sky, similar to the aurora borealis and aurora australis

Featuring an elongated purple stream and sometimes a green, picket fence-like structure, this odd illumination can be seen lingering at latitudes far lower than typical aurorae. Bemused space physicists couldn’t ascertain whether the entity was a genuine aurora, albeit a weirdly shaped one, or something else entirely. Now, research suggests that perhaps neither answer is correct: Steve could instead be an electrical hybrid.[www.nationalgrographic.com, 3 May 2019]

Goldilocks star noun [C]
UK /ˈgəʊl.dɪ.lɒks.ˌstɑːʳ/ US /ˈgoʊl.di.lɑːks.ˌstɑːr/
a type of star that astronomers consider has exactly the right combination of features to support life

Astronomers want to know which stars are the most likely to have habitable planets. These stars can be thought of as Goldilocks stars that are just right – at least in some ways – for potentially life-supporting planets. … A new peer-reviewed study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters … might help to narrow down the search for Goldilocks stars.
[earthsky.org, 17 March 2019]

space grease noun [U]
/ˈspeɪs.griːs/
a particular type of matter found in space made up of molecules of carbon with a greasy consistency

A team of eight scientists recreated and analyzed material similar to interstellar dust, and used it to estimated how many grease-like carbon molecules … are in interstellar space, beyond the bounds of our solar system. The estimated amount of “space grease” in the Milky Way far exceeded expectations: 10 billion trillion trillion tonnes – or enough to fill 40 trillion trillion trillion packs of butter.
[www.cnn.com, 28 June 2018]

About new words

New words – 12 August 2019

Francesco Carta fotografo / Moment / Getty

microstress noun [C]
UK /ˌmaɪ.krəʊ.ˈstres/ US /ˈmaɪ.kroʊ.ˌstres/
a small act or event that makes someone feel frustrated or anxious and that can combine with other similar acts or events over time to cause emotional harm

As much as we may be living our lives according to the Big Picture, it is the Small Stuff that tends to come between us… . Those tiny, daily, grrrr-type irritations, that some clever folk at Mind International have labelled microstresses. According to their poll, Brits spend the equivalent of 27 days a year worrying about microstresses – yup, that’s just under two hours a day, every day feeling tense. It’s the small stuff like losing your keys, missing a train, forgetting your gym card, running late for a meeting or your car breaking down.
[www.thinrichhappy.com, 9 February 2018]

rage room noun [C]
/ˈreɪdʒ.ˌruːm/
a room where people can pay to smash up objects with the aim of feeling less stressed afterwards

Before discovering the rage room, I tried all kinds of ways to deal with stress: karaoke, trampoline, dodgeball, the gym. Going to the gym is about getting healthy, looking good, but when I’m smashing up toasters, the intent is different. When I behave like a caveman, I leave any negativity behind.
[www.theguardian.com, 29 March 2019]

pyt exclamation
/pʊt/
a Danish word used in response to a stressful situation to tell oneself or someone else not to worry

Pyt can reduce stress because it is a sincere attempt to encourage yourself and others to not get bogged down by minor daily frustrations. One Danish business leader has suggested that knowing when to say “pyt” at work can lead to more job satisfaction.
[www.popsci.com, 1 March 2019]

About new words

New words – 5 August 2019

Weekend Images Inc. / E+ / Getty

mommune noun [C]
UK /ˈmɒm.juːn/ US /ˈmɑː.mjuːn/
a group of mothers who live together with their children, sharing possessions and responsibilities

And so, more by accident than design, the women hit on a new domestic set-up: the “mommune” … . And for the next two years, the three of them and their six children shared their lives: Vicky in the spare room, Nicola a weekend resident and daily visitor. “We were a family,” Janet says. “We went to the supermarket together, cooked together, ate together, shared childcare. Our parents met.” The children, she adds, “became like siblings”.
[www.theguardian.com, 29 September 2018]

mumsplainer noun [C]
UK /ˈmʌm.spleɪnəʳ/  or momsplainer US /ˈmɑːm.spleɪnɚ/
a mother who gives unwanted advice or explains something about pregnancy, childbirth etc. to someone, often a pregnant woman or new parent, that he or she already understands

Just wondering… Is ‘mumsplain’ a word…. My gripe with this particular mumsplainer is she ONLY interacts with me when it is to criticise.
[twitter.com, 3 April 2017]

birth striker noun [C]
UK /ˌbɜːθ.ˈstraɪ.kəʳ/ US /ˌbɝːθ.ˈstraɪ.kɚ/
a woman who chooses not to have children because she is concerned about the world’s population being too big

My friend … is another “birth striker”, deciding when she was about 21 that she didn’t want to have children. “At the time lots of friends and family told me that as I got older, the biological clock would start ticking,” she recalls. “But actually the opposite has happened. The older I’ve got the more my decision has solidified. There are now a lot of wider issues that I’m passionate about in terms of the planet and climate change that have confirmed that decision for me.”
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 21 April 2019]

About new words

New words – 29 July 2019

zeljkosantrac / E+ / Getty

veggie disc noun [C]
/ˈvedʒ.i.ˌdɪsk/
a type of food similar to a hamburger but not containing meat, made by pressing together small pieces of vegetables, seeds, etc. into a flat, round shape

Veggie burgers are for the chop, a Brussels committee has decreed, to be replaced by the less palatable-sounding “veggie discs” … after a vote in the European Parliament … approved a ban on producers of vegetarian food using nomenclature usually deployed to describe meat.
[www.theguardian.com, 4 April 2019]

motherless meat noun [C or U]
UK /ˌmʌð.ᵊ.ləs.ˈmiːt/ US /ˌmʌð.ɚ.ləs.ˈmiːt/
meat that has been grown in a laboratory from cells and has not come from a live animal

It’s almost certain that if and when the first generation of motherless meats arrive in grocery stores, they will not be steaks, chops, or filets. They will be meatballs, sausages, and extruded nuggets — processed foods that combine laboratory-raised cells with plant proteins, grains, and other ingredients.
[www.newfoodeceonomy.org, 30 July 2018]

bivalvegan noun [C]
/ˌbaɪ.væl.ˈviː.gən/
a vegan who eats certain types of mollusc that do not have a central nervous system and are therefore not considered to have thoughts, feel pain, etc.

Eight years on, and I now live as a bivalvegan … Choosing this diet isn’t a cop out. If I believed for two seconds that eating certain kinds of bivalve was morally wrong and harmful to the planet, I would stop consuming them tomorrow.
[www.earthedupmedia.com, 12 January 2018]

About new words

New words – 22 July 2019

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mumoir noun [C]
UK /ˈmʌm.wɑːʳ/ US /ˈmʌm.wɑːr/
a book or other piece of writing based on the writer’s personal knowledge of being a mother

Why this sudden rush of “mumoirs” now? What need are they fulfilling in our society in the late 2010s? Perhaps one purpose is an antidote to the pastel-hued fantasies of motherhood on Instagram, the impossible pressure to “have it all” and present an image of unflustered perfection.
[www.independent.co.uk, 19 April 2019]

chat fiction noun [U]
/ˌtʃæt.ˈfɪk.ʃən/
a type of story that is divided into short sections and delivered to the reader by text message

To be sure, people who read chat fiction are generally not reading Game of Thrones–length tales. The average story length on Hooked is around 1,300 words — intentionally short, to be quickly consumed on the go. But they also offer many serialized stories — essentially “chapters” — so you can get a meatier read.
[www.ozy.com, 22 March 2019]

book stuffing noun [U]
/ˈbʊk.stʌf.ɪŋ/
(of a self-published author) the fraudulent practice of adding extra, usually irrelevant content to a book in order to take advantage of a system that pays the author per word read

Book stuffing is when authors take all their works and stuff them into the back of every other book to artificially inflate their page count. Some authors even stuff in newsletters: the goal is to inflate the page count as much as possible, and thus the payout on KU page reads. Said books are usually offered at 99 cents or free, as the author is looking to get all their money out of KU.
[www.madgeniusclub, 8 April 2019]

About new words

New words – 15 July 2019

Kenneth_Keifer / iStock / Getty Images Plus

agritecture noun [U]
UK /ˈæg.riˌtek.tʃəʳ/ US /ˈæg.rə.tek.tʃɚ/
the art and practice of designing and making buildings that are inspired by farm buildings, or this architectural style

Architects are not only converting period barns; they are being asked to design contemporary homes that echo grain silos and storage units clad in undulating tin. The rise of agritecture can be attributed to a rebellion against showy homes. While much of the architecture world wants to go bigger, shinier and more tricksy, some practices are heading in the other direction, where restraint and modesty lead to a home blending in with its location.
[The Times, 6 April 2018]

landscraper noun [C]
UK /ˈlændˌskreɪ.pəʳ/ US /ˈlændˌskreɪ.pɚ/
a very large building that takes up a lot of space on the land

KONE Corporation, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, has won an order to equip Google’s new UK headquarters building, KGX1. The 11-story-tall and 312-meter-long “landscraper” will run parallel to the platforms of London’s King’s Cross railway station in England and will sit at the heart of a campus for 7,000 Google employees.
[news.cision.com, 6 March 2019]

superblock noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.pə.blɒk/ US /ˈsuː.pɚ.blɑːk/
a space in a city made up of several blocks, where only local traffic is permitted and the needs of the people who live there are given priority

On Barcelona’s superblocks, local access for motor vehicles is still permitted, but through traffic is not. The streets are designed to make drivers feel like they are visitors, with narrow rights-of-way for cars. Almost all car traffic is local residents or people with personal business on the block. Without dangerous car traffic overrunning the streets, generating noise and pollution, superblocks are full of life.
[vimeo.com, 3 August 2018]

About new words

New words – 8 July 2019

Westend61 / Getty

mean world syndrome noun [U]
UK /ˌmiːn.ˈwɜːld.sɪn.drəʊm/ US /ˌmiːn.ˈwɝːld.sɪn.droʊm/
a belief that the world is a more dangerous place than it actually is

Sarah Krongard and Mina Tsay-Vogel … published a paper examining whether people who view the most popular binge-watched shows see the world as meaner than it really is—a phenomenon known as “mean world syndrome.” This idea stems from a long-standing theory called cultivation, which proposes that watching television leads people to believe the real world is closely aligned to what they see on their screen.
[www.bu.edu, 6 March 2019]

super-feeler noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.pə.ˌfiːləʳ/ US /ˈsuː.pɚ.ˌfiːlɚ/
someone who experiences their own emotions and those of other people very intensely

So what makes someone a super-feeler? According to Dr Z, super-feelers may be wired differently, with studies suggesting that they have an overactive amygdala, the “fire alarm” part of the brain that alerts us if a situation is perceived as threatening. But modern life can exacerbate things, particularly as it feels like we’ve never been busier, more tired or more stressed.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 28 July 2018]

interoception noun [U]
UK /ˌɪn.tər.əˈsep.ʃᵊn/ US /ˌɪn.t̬ɚˌr.əˈsep.ʃᵊn/
an awareness of the inside of the body

When we think of our senses, he explains, we imagine sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. Actually, these are just our exteroceptive senses, the ones that tell us about the outside world. Each of us also has interoception, the perception of sensations inside the body, like the pounding of my heart or the growling of your stomach.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 15 April 2019]

About new words

New words – 1 July 2019

Caiaimage / Paul Bradbury / Getty

flat white economy noun [U]
UK /ˌflæt.waɪt.iˈkɒn.ə.mi/ US /ˌflæt.waɪt.iˈkɑːn.ə.mi/
the wealth created through the large number of people using a coffee shop or café to work in, rather than working in an office

[This is] their adopted office where, thanks to a combination of flexible working and not being able to afford the heating bills in their own home, they are fuelling the “flat white economy”. This sector (so-called after the less-frothy coffee beloved of hipsters) is now the largest driver of Britain’s economic output, overtaking even the current manufacturing boom.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 1 April 2019]

blue economy noun [U]
UK /ˌbluː.iˈkɒn.ə.mi/ US /bluː.iˈkɑː.nə.mi/
the wealth created through the use of the world’s oceans, such as through jobs in the oil and fishing industries

Britain’s maritime heritage is quietly being reimagined as the “blue economy”, a sphere in which centuries-old sectors touch the forefront of technology to help create a more sustainable economic future.
[Sunday Telegraph, 15 April 2018]

anxiety economy noun [U]
UK /æŋˈzaɪ.ə.ti.iˈkɒn.ə.mi/ US /æŋˈzaɪ.ə.t̬i.iˈkɑː.nə.mi/
the wealth created through the production and sale of products designed to ease anxiety

The anxiety economy shows no signs of shrinking, with white noise machines, salt lamps and meditation headbands advertised alongside yoga selfies on Instagram. Aids for anxiety disorders in 2019 are branded like covetable scented candles – scrolling through the products, one starts to think of it as a small but universal ill like dry lips or shaving rash, and one just as easily treated.
[www.theguardian.com, 10 March 2019]

About new words