Don’t hold your breath! The language of planning, part 2

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

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by Kate Woodford

Last month we looked at the language of planning and making arrangements. Sadly, not everything in life goes according to plan (=happens as intended) and it is wise to keep this in mind when making arrangements! This post, then, focuses on planning words and phrases that relate to problems.

A contingency is something that you know might happen in the future which would cause problems and require further arrangements:

We must prepare for all contingencies.

A contingency plan is a plan that can be used if a problem arises (=happens):

Fortunately, a contingency plan was in place for dealing with such emergencies.

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Setting up and mapping out – the language of planning part 1

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

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by Kate Woodford

January and February seem like the right months of the year for a post on the language of planning. Since there’s so much useful vocabulary in this area, this will be a two-part blog post.

Starting with near-synonyms for ‘arrange’, a handy phrasal verb is set up. To set up a meeting or similar event is to organize it:

We need to set up a meeting.

I’ve set up interviews with both candidates.

You might also say that you line up an event or number of events: We’ve lined up some great speakers for you this week. 

To schedule a formal or an official event is to arrange for it to happen at a particular time:

The flight was scheduled to arrive at 8:45.

We have a meeting scheduled for 10 a.m.

If you reschedule something, you agree on a new and later time…

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Hangry and bromance (Blend or portmanteau words)

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog


by Kate Woodford

Our Cambridge Dictionary Facebook page recently featured a post on portmanteau words or blends. These are words formed by combining two other words, such as Brexit (short for ‘British exit’) and brunch (a combination of ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’).

Some blends have existed for a long time. ‘Brunch’, for instance, originated as long ago as the late 19th century. Others were invented more recently. (Although it sometimes seems as if the word ‘Brexit’ has existed forever, it was actually invented as recently as 2012!) Here we look at relatively recent blends in the English language.

Let’s start with food and eating. The blend flexitarian (=flexible + vegetarian) reflects a recent trend away from meat eating. It refers to a person who eats mainly vegetarian food and only now and then eats meat: On page 5, ten health benefits of a flexitarian diet.

The word mocktail

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Manoel de Barros

A 43ª Ocupação homenageia o poeta Manoel de Barros

O poeta Manoel de Barros (1916-2014) é tema da 43ª edição do programa Ocupação Itaú Cultural. Com manuscritos e outros materiais selecionados do acervo pessoal do homenageado, a exposição passeia por toda a trajetória do autor – que brincava com a norma culta da língua e monumentava as coisas e seres (o humano, inclusive) desprezados por uma sociedade focada na velocidade, no consumo, no descarte. “O que é bom para o lixo é bom para a poesia”, escreveu ele em “Matéria de Poesia” (1970).

Além da mostra, o programa deu origem a uma publicação impressa, distribuída gratuitamente na recepção do instituto, e a uma série de conteúdos on-line, como entrevistas em vídeo com parentes e colegas de Manoel – confira, a partir do dia de abertura da exposição, em

Library or bookshop? Fabric or factory? Avoiding common false friends

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

by Liz Walter


Sometimes words look the same or similar in two different languages but have different meanings. We call these words ‘false friends’ because they seem as though they will be ‘friendly’ and easy to learn, but they trick us into making mistakes. In this post, I will discuss a few false friends with English: I have tried to pick ones that are problematic for speakers of several other languages.

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New words – 28 January 2019

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

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Blue Monday
noun [C]
the third Monday in January, said to be the most depressing day of the year

Arnall devised a literal mathematical formula to arrive at the Blue Monday theory. It factors in weather, debt and time since Christmas, timing of New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels, and the urgent feeling that you need to take action. It also reflects that Monday is regarded as the worst day of the week with many dreading the prospect of returning to work.
[, 15 January 2019]

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