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Keep up to date with new words in English

Here are some words that have become established in the language over the past year. 


do-over
n
An opportunity to repeat something, usually in the hope of improving performance. For example, one can ask for a do-over (a retake) on a test or exam.

the takeaway n

Mainly USA but spreading via business English. The main message or information one takes away from a discussion or class. In the UK a takeaway refers to food bought in a shop and taken away or to one's home to eat. In the USA this is called a 'takeout', which left room for a different American meaning for 'takeaway'.
Example: What was the takeaway from yesterday's meeting?

clickbait n
A link on a website that encourages visitors to read more. They may be paid for by advertisers. Sometimes they are sensational stories in online newspapers that encourage readers to link to more content on the same site. From 'click' and 'bait' (attraction, bribe, lure, temptation).
A classic technique for creating clickbait is to craft a 'curiosity gap' in a headline. For example: 'A little girl in New York met Santa for the first time, and you'll never believe what happened next.'
Another simple technique is to create 'top 5' or 'top 10' lists that require the reader to click 4 or 9 times to find out what was chosen as number 1.

listicle n
An article on the internet presented in the form of a numbered or bullet-pointed list. From 'list' and 'article'.

culture jamming n
Criticising mainstream cultural, social, economic or political behaviour by using the methods employed by mainstream organisations.
The non-violent techniques include changing or modifying the words on big brand advertising posters or modifying the images. A simple, well known example involved a sign for Esso. The culture jammers replaced the 'ss' with $$ signs.
A significant culture jamming event occurred during the interval of a classical music concert in St Louis, USA. One by one, singers in the choir rose from their seats and sang 'Which Side Are You On?, a famous civil rights protest song. This was to protest the killing of an unarmed black youth by police.

sciencey adj

An adjective that has become quite common thanks to TV sit-coms such as 'Big Bang Theory'.
1 Relating to or concerning science.
Example: I learned a lot of sciencey stuff at school.
2 Appearing to be related to science but in fact having little or nothing to do with it.
Example: The photographer set up a sciencey shot of a model in a white coat, wearing heavy black spectacles and holding a glass jar in what was made to look like a chemistry lab.

five-second rule n
The idea that if you drop food on the ground it will be safe to eat and not contaminated with bacteria if it is picked up within 5 seconds. However, scientific experiments have demonstrated that this is a myth. While some bacteria on some surfaces may not infect food in under five seconds, some dangerous bacteria can do so.
contaminated – infected, polluted

digital footprint n
The information about a particular person that exists on the internet as a result of their online activity.

ped-text vb
To text on one's mobile phone while walking.
Example: Plenty of people ped-text then wonder what happened when they walk into street furniture or other people.
From 'pedestrian' (a walker) and 'text'.

shirtfront vb
To confront a person with the aim of complaining or criticising in a vigorous manner. From Australia. The verb's original meaning in Australian rule football is 'to shoulder barge another player in the chest', a move that is common but against the rules.
Example: 'The Australian Prime Minister announced that he would shirtfront the Russian President at their next meeting.'

couplie n
Informal. Similar to the selfie, last year's most popular new word. The new term refers to a photo of a couple taken by themselves.
Example: The selfie is over! Oh good, we hear you cry. But no, it's just been replaced by the 'couplie'. (Grazia magazine, February 2014)

photobomb vb
To appear in somebody else's photo, selfie or couplie. Queen Elizabeth II did this in 2014 when she famously appeared smiling in the background as two Australian athletes snapped a couplie.

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