The English language is constantly on the move, and it can be quite a challenge to keep up with the flow of new words and phrases entering our vocabulary.
Some of these verbs you may be familiar with. For instance, you may have heard of the verb to binge-watch, meaning to watch multiple episodes of a TV serial in succession. To upcycle is to reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original. Mansplaining is the action of a man explaining something to a woman in a condescending way. To vape is to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette, which is also known as a vape.
There are new words to describe people. A frugivore is a fruit eater and a locavore is a person who eats locally grown or locally produced food. A bubblehead is American slang for a submariner, but also means an overly happy or overly friendly person, while a snowflake is a person characterised as overly sensitive or easily offended, or one who feels entitled to special treatment or consideration. A hipster is a person who is keenly interested in fashion trends, although apparently nobody will admit to being a hipster.
New terms involving the environment: carbon offsetting, making a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases in order to compensate for or to offset an emission made elsewhere.
Hippotherapy – no it’s not a massage from a hippopotamus but the use of horse riding as a therapeutic or rehabilitative treatment as a means of improving co-ordination, balance and strength. Hippo is Greek for ‘horse’.
The digital world produces new words all the time, or new meanings of old words. When people talk of the cloud nowadays, they’re rarely involving the white fluffy variety above, but internet storage technology. Tweeting is not just for the birds, but for the twitterati who are the keen or frequent users of the social networking site Twitter. Spam, which is still a canned meat product, is also the name for unwanted emails.
We can’t stop the tide of words, so we might as well try to keep up. After all, learning new words is a great boon for the brain and also for your crossword-solving abilities. We won’t be including all these words in our puzzles yet, but you may have seen those that have been around for a while.