Monday 24 February 2014

New Oxford English Dictionary entries for 2013

• apols, pl. n. (informal): apologies.
 A/W, abbrev.: autumn/winter (denoting or relating to fashion designed for the autumn and winter seasons of a particular year). (See also S/S)
• babymoon, n. (informal): a relaxing or romantic holiday taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born; a period of time following the birth of a baby during which the new parents can focus on establishing a bond with their child.
• balayage, n.: a technique for highlighting hair in which the dye is painted on in such a way as to create a graduated, natural-looking effect.
• bitcoin, n.: a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank.
• blondie, n.: a small square of dense, pale-coloured cake, typically of a butterscotch or vanilla flavour.
• buzzworthy, adj. (informal): likely to arouse the interest and attention of the public, either by media coverage or word of mouth.
• BYOD, n.: abbreviation of ‘bring your own device’: the practice of allowing the employees of an organization to use their own computers, smartphones, or other devices for work purposes.
• cake pop, n.: a small round piece of cake coated with icing or chocolate and fixed on the end of a stick so as to resemble a lollipop.
• chandelier earring, n.: a long, elaborate dangling earring, typically consisting of various tiers of gemstones, crystals, beads, etc.
• click and collect, n.: a shopping facility whereby a customer can buy or order goods from a store’s website and collect them from a local branch.
• dappy, adj. (informal): silly, disorganized, or lacking concentration.
• derp, exclam. & n. (informal): (used as a substitute for) speech regarded as meaningless or stupid, or to comment on a foolish or stupid action.
• digital detox, n.: a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.
• double denim, n.: a style of dress in which a denim jacket or shirt is worn with a pair of jeans or a denim skirt, often regarded as a breach of fashion etiquette.
• emoji, n: a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication.
• fauxhawk, n: a hairstyle in which a section of hair running from the front to the back of the head stands erect, intended to resemble a Mohican haircut (in which the sides of the head are shaved).
• FIL, n.: a person’s father-in-law (see also MILBILSIL).
• flatform, n.: a flat shoe with a high, thick sole.
• FOMO, n.: fear of missing out: anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.
• food baby, n.: a protruding stomach caused by eating a large quantity of food and supposedly resembling that of a woman in the early stages of pregnancy.
• geek chic, n.: the dress, appearance, and culture associated with computing and technology enthusiasts, regarded as stylish or fashionable.
• girl crush, n. (informal): an intense and typically non-sexual liking or admiration felt by one woman or girl for another.
• grats, pl. n. (informal): congratulations. • guac, n.: guacamole.
• hackerspace, n.: a place in which people with an interest in computing or technology can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.
 Internet of things, n.: a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.
• jorts, pl. n.: denim shorts.
• LDR, n.: a long-distance relationship. • me time, n. (informal): time spent relaxing on one’s own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy.
• MOOC, n.: a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people.
omnishambles, n. (informal): a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.
• pear cider, n.: an alcoholic drink made from the fermented juice of pears.
• phablet, n.: a smartphone having a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.
• pixie cut, n.: a woman’s short hairstyle in which the hair is cropped in layers, typically so as to create a slightly tousled effect.
• selfie, n. (informal): a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
• space tourism, n.: the practice of travelling into space for recreational purposes.
• squee, exclam. & v. & n. (informal): (used to express) great delight or excitement.
• srsly, adv. (informal): short for ‘seriously’.
• street food, n.: prepared or cooked food sold by vendors in a street or other public location for immediate consumption.
• TL;DR, abbrev.: ‘too long didn’t read’: used as a dismissive response to a lengthy online post, or to introduce a summary of a lengthy post.
• twerk, v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.
• unlike, v.: withdraw one’s liking or approval of (a web page or posting on a social media website that one has previously liked).
• vom, v. & n. (informal): (be) sick; vomit.

Saturday 13 July 2013

AAE Q161: 'would' and 'used to'


What is the difference between would and used to?


Hi Sanjay

The difference between 'would' and 'used to'

  • 'would' is used to describe actions or situations that were repeated again and again.
  • 'used to' is used for any extended action or situation in the past including repeated actions or situations.
Here are some examples

1 - "I used to live in Birmingham, but I moved to Prague last year."

Can we use 'would' instead of 'used to' here? No, because 'living in Birmingham' wasn't repeated again and again. It's simply a situation in the past. Therefore, only 'used to' is good in this sentence.

2 - " When he was at school, he used to play tennis every Saturday."

Here, we're talking about 'playing football every Saturday'. This is an action that was repeated many times, so we can also say: "When he was at school, he would play tennis every Saturday".'Used to' and 'would' are both good here, and the meaning is the same.

Hope this helps


Tuesday 9 July 2013

Phrase of the Day 193: 'to lose your bottle'

"to lose your bottle"

definition: bottle- nerve; courage. So if you lose your bottle, you have lost your nerve and if you bottle out of something, you give up an attempt at something after losing your nerve. However you can also have a lotta bottle, especially after a few drinks.

origin: the most likely source is the earlier slang phrase 'not much bottle', or 'no bottle', i.e. 'useless; no good for anything'. This usage is recorded in a glossary of 19th century street English slang The Swell's Night Guide, 1846

Monday 8 July 2013

AAE Q160: Negative prefixes


My question was that,why people use untouchable not intouchable, why non-terminating not interminating?


Hi Supriya,

The reason that these prefixes are different is because of the influence of other languages on the English Language. Take a look at the table and text below.


a- (an-)Greeknot, withoutmedium
dis-Latinnot, opposite oflow
in- (il-im-ir-)Latinnot, opposite ofmedium
un-Germanicnot, opposite ofhigh

The prefixes a- and anti- are both of Greek origin. This explains why the very majority of the words that can use these prefixes also have their origin from Greek (e.g. chromatic, morphous, symmetric, typical, aerobic, hydrous, oxic).

The prefixes dis-, in-, and non- are Latinate in origin. Similarly, words that go along with dis- and in- are mostly from Latin/French. They include words like dishonest, discourteous, dissimiliar, inaccessible, inaccurate, insignificant, to name a few. On the other hand, while non- is also commonly associated with Latinate/French words such as non-negotiable, non-judgmental and non-specific, it has become more productive than the other Latinate prefixes. This prefix can form negative adjectives with many present participles and past participles regardless of the origin of the stem word, such as non-smoking, non-aligned, non-caffeinated, and even with participle phrases, such as non-profit making, non-man made. Another interesting fact about non- is that it can often form neagtive adjectives by joining verbs, to express the meaning that the thing described does not perform the action described by the verb. Examples include non-stop, non-shrink, non-slip

Un- is a prefix native to English. It is mostly attached to native words to form negative adjectives, such as unfriendly, unhappy, unfair, and so on. But it can also be attached to certain Latinate words, giving unable, unsympathetic, unconscious, unreasonable, etc. Like non-, it is a productive prefix and is ready to form adjectives with present and past participles, giving words like unfeeling, undecided, unjustified, etc.

Friday 28 June 2013

Phrase of the Day 192: 'be on the pull'

"be on the pull"

definition: to be trying to find someone to have sex with 

example: John was out on the pull again last night.

Thursday 27 June 2013

Phrase of the Day 191: 'put a spanner in the works'

"to put/throw a spanner in the works"

definition:  to do something that prevents a plan or activity from succeeding, to deliberately cause mayhem.

example: "We were hoping to get the project started in June but the funding was withdrawn so that rather threw a spanner in the works"

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Phrase of the Day 190: 'by the skin of your teeth'

"by the skin of your teeth"

definition: Narrowly; barely. Usually used in regard to a narrow escape from a disaster.
"he escaped by the skin of his teeth"

origin: The phrase first appears in English in the Geneva Bible, 1560, in Job 19:20, which provides a literal translation of the original Hebrew:"I haue escaped with the skinne of my tethe." 
Teeth don't have skin, of course, so the writer may have been alluding to the teeth's surface or simply to a notional minute measure - something that might now be referred to, with less poetic imagery than the biblical version, as 'as small as the hairs on a gnat's bollock'.

Thursday 20 June 2013

New English words from the Oxford Dictionary

Bling (n): Expensive, ostentatious clothing and jewelry.

Bromance (n): A close but non-sexual relationship between two men.

Chillax (v): Calm down and relax.

Crunk (adj): Very excited or full of energy.

D'oh (ex): Exclamation used to comment on a foolish or stupid action, especially one’s own.
Droolworthy (adj): Extremely attractive or desirable.

Frankenfood (n): Genetically modified food.

Grrrl (n): A young woman regarded as independent and strong or aggressive, especially in her attitude to men or in her sexuality (A blend of “Grrrr” and “Girl.”)

Guyliner (n): Eyeliner that is worn by men.

Hater (n): A person who greatly dislikes a specified person or thing.

Illiterati (n): People who are not well educated or well informed about a particular subject or sphere of activity.

Infomania (n): The compulsive desire to check or accumulate news and information, typically via mobile phone or computer.

Jeggings (n): Tight-fitting stretch trousers for women, styled to resemble a pair of denim jeans.

La-la Land (n): A fanciful state or dream world. Also, Los Angeles.

Locavore (n): A person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.

Mankini (n): A brief one-piece bathing garment for men, with a T-back.

Mini-Me (n): A person closely resembling a smaller or younger version of another.

Muffin Top (n): A roll of fat visible above the top of a pair of women’s tight-fitting low-waisted trousers.

Muggle (n): A person who is not conversant with a particular activity or skill.

Noob (n): A person who is inexperienced in a particular sphere or activity, especially computing or the use of the Internet.

Obvs (adv): Obviously.

OMG (ex): Used to express surprise, excitement, or disbelief. (Dates back to 1917.)

Po-po (n): The police.

Purple State (n): A US state where the Democratic and Republican parties have similar levels of support among voters.

Screenager (n): A person in their teens or twenties who has an aptitude for computers and the Internet.

Sexting (n): The sending of sexually explicit photographs or messages via mobile phone.

Textspeak (n): Language regarded as characteristic of text messages, consisting of abbreviations, acronyms, initials, emoticons. (wut hpns win u write lyk dis.)

Totes (adv): Totally.

Truthiness (n): the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true.

Twitterati (n): Keen or frequent users of the social networking site Twitter.

Unfriend (v): Remove (someone) from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking site.

Upcycle (v): Reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.

Whatevs (ex, adv): Whatever.

Whovian (n): A fan of the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who.

Woot (ex): (Especially in electronic communication) Used to express elation, enthusiasm, or triumph.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Phrase of the Day 189: 'talk the hind legs off a donkey''

"he can talk the hind legs off a donkey!"

definition: A person who is excessively or extremely talkative can talk the hind legs off a donkey

origin: During the history of this expression numerous other animals have featured in it: a horse, a dog, a cow and a bird (which of course has no hind legs). It was originally an expression of admiration for a person's powers of successful persuasion - a suggestion that one could bring about the impossible by talking. Nowadays, though said of a person admiringly, it is more usually a complaint.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

AAE Q159 'nice seeing you'


When must i use "nice seeing you"?   just for the first meeting?

Hi Nima

This expression is used when you meet/see someone you haven't seen in a long time, in the following ways.

'It is nice to see you' - This would be used at the start of the conversation when you meet each other

'It is nice seeing you' - This would be used during the conversation

'It was nice seeing you'/ 
'It was nice to see you' - These would be used at the end of the conversation as you say goodbye.


Thursday 18 August 2011

AAE Q158: "You'd better be sorry!!."


If sorry is replied by "you better be sorry" than what does it mean?




The correct response in English is "You had better be sorry." or "You'd better be sorry.". This is an angry response which is sometimes aggressive and threatening.

For example, my friend spilled his drink on me and said "Sorry". I angrily responded, "You'd better be sorry, this shirt cost me 100 euros!"

However it is possible to use this expression as a joke between friends.



New Words in the Oxford English Dictionary 2011

alternative vote: an electoral system whereby voters rank candidates in order of preference, candidates being eliminated and votes redistributed until one candidate achieves the required majority.

domestic goddess: (informal) a woman with exceptional domestic skills, especially cookery.

mankini: (pl. mankinis) a brief one-piece bathing garment for men, with a T-back.

retweet: (on the social networking service Twitter) repost or forward (a message posted by another user).

sexting: (informal) the sending of sexually explicit photographs or messages via mobile phone.

woot: (especially in electronic communication) used to express elation, enthusiasm, or triumph

Monday 25 July 2011

AAE Q157: 'so have I, 'so do I'


I came across this problem when studying grammar of 'So do I', 'Neither do I'.

If there is a verb 'have got' in a asentence, e.g. "I have got lots of sweets.", what is the auxiliary that I have to repeat when I want to agree.

Is it: 'So have I', or 'so do I'? And what happens in the negative, e.g. I haven't got many friends. Is it: 'Neither have I' or 'neither do I'?

Thank you for answering me.


Hi Eva,
  • "I have got lots of sweets."
  • "So have I"
  • "I haven't got many friends"
  • "Neither have I"

In both sentences the auxiliary verb is 'have'.


Tuesday 24 August 2010

AAE Q156: 'as per'


What is the origin of "as per" and is it outdated to use it ?



'as per'

definition: according to
example: 'as per your instructions'
origin: 'per' originates from Latin, 'as per' dates back to 1782

I don't think it is old fashioned although it is used in academic writing and journalism more than in spoken language.


AAE Q155: relative adverb/pronoun


What is the difference between a relative adverb and a relative pronoun?



Relative Pronouns

relative pronounuseexample
whosubject or object pronoun for peopleI told you about the woman who lives next door.
whichsubject or object pronoun for animals and thingsDo you see the cat which is lying on the roof?
whichreferring to a whole sentenceHe couldn’t read which surprised me.
whosepossession for people animals and thingsDo you know the boy whose mother is a nurse?
whomobject pronoun for people, especially in non-defining relative clauses (in defining relative clauses we colloquially prefer who)I was invited by the professor whom I met at the conference.
thatsubject or object pronoun for people, animals and things in defining relative clauses (who or which are also possible)I don’t like the table that stands in the kitchen.

Relative Adverbs

A relative adverb can be used instead of a relative pronoun plus preposition. This often makes the sentence easier to understand.

This is the shop in which I bought my bike.
→ This is the shop where I bought my bike.

relative adverbmeaninguseexample
whenin/on whichrefers to a time expressionthe day when we met him
wherein/at whichrefers to a placethe place where we met him
whyfor whichrefers to a reasonthe reason why we met him


AAE Q154:sentence without a verb


Can a sentence be completed without using a verb?


Hi Amit,

As a general rule, sentences without verbs are incomplete sentences, i.e., sentence fragments.

However, exclamations are considered grammatically correct even without a verb:

"How sweet!" or "What a mess!"

Hope this helps


Friday 11 September 2009

Phrase of the Day 188: 'The hair of the dog'

"The hair of the dog"

definition: A small measure of drink, intended to cure a hangover.

origin: The fuller version of this phrase, i.e. 'the hair of the dog that bit me', gives a clue to the source of the name of this supposed hangover cure. That derivation is from the mediaeval belief that, when someone was bitten by a rabid dog, a cure could be made by applying the same dog's hair to the infected wound.

Wednesday 9 September 2009

List of English prefixes

List of English prefixes

Prefix Meaning Example
A-/an- lacking in, lack of asexual, anemic
A- verb > predicative adjective with progressive aspect afloat, atremble
Ante- before antebellum, antediluvian
Anti- against anti-war, antivirus, anti-human
Arch- supreme, highest, worst arch-rival, archangel
Be- equipped with, covered with, beset with (pejorative or facetious) bedeviled, becalm, bedazzle, bewitch
Co- joint, with, accompanying co-worker, coordinator, cooperation
Counter- against, in opposition to counteract, counterpart
De- reverse action, get rid of de-emphasise
Dis- not, opposite of disloyal, disagree
Dis- reverse action, get rid of disconnect, disinformation
En-/em- to make into, to put into, to get into enmesh, empower
Ex- former ex-husband, ex-boss, ex-colleague
Fore- before forearm, forerunner
In-/il-/im-/ir- not, opposite of inexact, irregular
Inter- between, among interstate, interact
Mal- bad(ly) malnourish
Mid- middle midlife
Mini- small minimarket, mini-room
Mis- wrong, astray misinformation, misguide
Out- better, faster, longer, beyond outreach, outcome
Over- too much overreact, overact
Pan- all, worldwide pan-African
Post- after post-election, post-graduation
Pre- before pre-election, pre-enter
Pro- for, on the side of pro-life
Re- again, back rerun
Self- self self-sufficient
Step- family relation by remarriage stepbrother
Trans- across, from one place to another transatlantic
Twi- two twibill, twilight
Ultra- beyond, extremely ultraviolet, ultramagnetic
Un- not, opposite of unnecessary, unequal
Un- reverse action, deprive of, release from undo, untie
Under- below, beneath, lower in grade/dignity, lesser, insufficient underachieve, underground, underpass
Vice- deputy vice-president, vice-principal
With- against withstand
Afro- relating to Africa Afro-American
Ambi- both ambitendency
Amphi- two, both, on both sides amphiaster, amphitheater, amphibian
An-, a- not, without anemic, asymmetric
Ana-/an- up, against anacardiaceous, anode
Anglo- relating to England Anglo-Norman
Ante- before antenatal
Anti- opposite anti-clockwise
Apo- away, different from apomorphine
Astro- star astrobiology
Auto- self autobiography, automatic
Bi- two bicycle
Bio- biological biodegrade
Circum- around circumnavigate
Cis- on this side of cislunar
Con-/com-/col-/cor-/co- together or with confederation, commingle, colleague, correlation, cohabit
Contra- opposite contradict
Cryo- ice cryogenics
Crypto- hidden, secret cryptography
De- down depress
Demi- half demigod
Demo- people demography
Di- two dioxide
Dis-, di-, dif- apart differ, dissect
Down- to make something lesser, lower or worse downgrade
Du-/duo- two duet
Eco- ecological ecosystem
Electro- electric, electricity electro-analysis
Epi- upon, at, close upon, in addition epidermis
Euro- European Eurocentric
Ex-, e-, ef- out of export
Extra- outside extracurricular
Fin- kinship affinity
Franco- French, France Francophile
Geo- relating to the earth or its surface geography
Hetero- different heterosexual
Hemi- half hemimorphic
Homo- same homosexual
Hydro- relating to water, or using water hydroelectricity
Hyper- above, over hyperthermia
Hypo- under or below something, low hypothermia
Ideo- image, idea ideograph
Idio- individual, personal, unique idiolect
In- in, into insert
Indo- relating to the Indian subcontinent Indo-European
Infra- below, beneath infrared
Inter- among, between intercede
Intra- inside, within intravenous
Iso- equal isochromatic
Macr(o)- long macrobiotic
Maxi- very long, very large maxi-skirt
Mega-, megalo- great, large megastar, megalopolis
Meta- after, along with, beyond, among, behind meta-theory
Micro- small microbacillus
Midi- medium-sized midi-length
Mon(o)- sole, only monogamy
Multi- many multi-storey
Neo- new neolithic
Non- not nonexistent
Omni- all omnipotent, omnipresent
Paleo- old paleolithic
Para- beside, beyond parallel
Ped-/pod- foot pedestrian, podiatrist
Per- through, completely, wrongly, exceedingly permeate, permute
Peri- around periphrase
Photo- light, photography, photograph photoelectric
Poly- many polygon
Post- after postpone
Pre- before predict
Preter- beyond, past, more than preternatural
Pro- substitute, deputy proconsul
Pro- before procambium
Pros- toward prosthesis
Proto- first, original protoplasm, prototype
Pseudo- false, imitation pseudonym
Pyro- fire pyrokinetic
Quasi- partly, almost, appearing to be but not really quasi-religious
Retro- backwards retrograde
Semi- half semicircle
Socio- society, social, sociological sociopath
Sub-, su-, suc-, suf-, sug-, sum-, sup-, sur-, sus- below, under submerge, success, support, surreptitious, suspect, sustain
Super- above, over supervisor
Supra- above, over suprarenal
Sur- above, over surname, surreal, surrender
Syn-, sy-, syl-, sym-, sys- together, with synthesis, symbol, syllable, system
Tele- at a distance television
Trans- across transverse
Tri- three tricycle
Ultra- beyond ultraviolet
Uni- one unicycle
Up- to make something greater, higher, or better upgrade