Language Lovers

The roadmap to … exit

COVID-19 and all it entails has spawned dozens of novel words. At the same time, existing ones have been called into service. Lockdown is one. Roadmap is another – for the UK government’s exit strategy from the current situation. Now, is roadmap one word or two? Collins currently has… Read More

Rewilding the cityscape

Going back to nature is positive. According to Collins COBUILD dictionary, it means you want to “return to a simpler way of living”, sparked by a wish to revert to that never-never land, to that mythical Eden before the fateful apple was gnawed – or the horseless carriage invented. Read More

It’s VE Day. “We’ll metaphor again…

don’t know where, don’t know when, but I know we’ll metaphor again some sunny day.” Throughout World War II Dame Vera Lynn buoyed people’s spirits with her classic song, “We’ll Meet Again”. Today is the seventy-fifth anniversary of the end of that war, which devastated Europe and cost untold millions… Read More

“Who’s Zoomin’ Who?”

“No man is an island, entire of itself.” The truth of John Donne’s powerful aphorism has gone on receiving heart-warming confirmation – often in unexpected ways – during the current pandemic. For a start, in the UK the appeal for volunteers to help support the NHS in its darkest… Read More

From lockdown to love: the words we are looking up

Quarantine has emerged as the word that dictionary users are searching for most frequently during the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It accounted for about 1% of all searches on the CollinsDictionary.com website, and more than twice as many as the next most frequent search word, which turns… Read More

‘Twas brillig and the slithy toves

What do these five words have in common: screenager, Reaganomics, Joementum, flexitarian and brunch? Well done! I knew you would know. And you didn’t even need to go into Only Connect mode. The answer, of course, is they are all portmanteau words, that is,… Read More

Furlough: a military word on civvy street

Furlough has featured heavily in UK media recently. So much so, that on BBC Radio 4’s Money Box on 28 March, an expert commented: “…this word ‘furlough’ that we’ve…none of us have ever used before and we’re now using repeatedly…” And here’s the UK Chancellor: “Employers will be able… Read More

Happiness is…

What is happiness? Answers vary according to which religion or creed you cleave to. For an Epicurean it might be ataraxia, a state of supreme calmness. For Stoics, it might be virtue. For Miss Crawford in Mansfield Park, ‘A large income is the best recipe for… Read More