‘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… Read More
a currency exchange sign

Spanish word of the week: cambio

el cambio NOUN change; (small) change; exchange; bureau de change Cambio is a common word with several meanings. In one meaning, it’s change in general: un brusco de temperatura a sudden change in temperature el cambio climático climate change You can also use cambio in the same… Read More
a row of men and women with a hand up to their ear listening

Spanish word of the week: asunto

el asunto NOUN matter; affair In its broadest sense, asunto means matter: Es un asunto muy delicado. It’s a very delicate matter. But it’s also used to mean your personal affairs or business: Eso no es asunto suyo. That’s none of your business.Eso es… 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… 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,… Read More
a mountaineer standing on peak of rocky mountain

Spanish word of the week: conseguir

conseguir VERB to get, to obtain; to achieve; to manage Conseguir is a frequent and very versatile verb, with lots of different translations, depending on the context. Remember that conseguir has forms exactly like seguir. No se consiguen entradas. You can’t get tickets. Mi tío me… Read More

Green is Good

Over the last few years, the language of increasing global temperatures has been — well, heating up. In the early years of the 21st century, a group of Republican political advisers in the US recommended using the term “climate change” because it sounded less frightening than “… Read More
a post-it with don't foget your lunchbox written on it

Spanish word of the week: recordar

recordar VERB to remember; to remindRecordar is interesting because it covers two related English meanings: to remember and to remind. Remember that the –or– changes to –uer– in some cases. No recuerdo dónde lo puse. I can’t remember where I put it. Conviene recordar que las… Read More

Of pandemics and epidemics

The World Health Organization has just used the word ‘pandemic’ to describe the spread of the coronavirus across the globe, prompting a spike in searches for the word on the Collins Dictionary website. The dictionary definition of a pandemic is ‘an… Read More