Let’s call it a day. (Everyday idioms in newspapers)

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

by Kate Woodford

Darrin Klimek/DigitalVision/Getty Darrin Klimek/DigitalVision/Getty

As regular readers of this blog will know, now and then we like to focus on frequent idioms – that is, the sort of idioms that you are likely to hear or read in current English. One way in which we do this is by looking at the idioms that are used in a range of national newspapers published on the same day. Here, then, are the common idioms that we found in papers on Monday, December 12th.

One broadsheet newspaper has an article on all the ways that companies nowadays try to make their employees happy at work. According to the author, companies go to great lengths (= use a lot of effort) to make the office environment fun. Elsewhere, the same paper reports that a new movie has swept the board at an international award ceremony. When someone or something sweeps the board…

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New words – 9 January 2016

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

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breadcrumbernoun [C] UK /ˈbred.krʌməʳ/ US /ˈbred.krʌmɚ/
someone who contacts another person very infrequently

For anyone who’s ever dated, or maintained any kind of relationship in the digital age, you have probably known a breadcrumber. They communicate via sporadic non-committal, but repeated messages – or breadcrumbs – that are just enough to keep you wondering but not enough to seal the deal (whatever that deal may be.)
[New York Times 10 July 2016]

inconvenience feenoun [C] UK /ˌɪn.kənˈviː.ni.əns.fiː/ US /ˌɪn.kənˈviː.n.jəns.fiː/
an amount of money paid to make up for causing someone problems or trouble

Mariah Carey is demanding a $50 million dollar inconvenience fee from her ex-fiancé James Packer. Now that the couple has broken up, Mariah feels as though she wasted her time with the Australian businessman and wants to be compensated for the time she lost.
[www.celebdirtylaundry.com 31 October 2016]

sleep divorcenoun [U] UK /ˈsliːp.dɪ.vɔːs/

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Turning over a new leaf: idioms and phrases for the New Year

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

by Liz Walter

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New Year is a time when we often take stock of our life (think about what is good or bad about it). We may feel that we should draw a line under the past (finish with it and forget about it) and make a fresh start. This post looks at idioms and other phrases connected with this phenomenon.

If we decide to stop doing something we consider to be bad and to start behaving in a better way, we can say that we are going to turn over a new leaf. We might decide to kick a habit such as smoking (stop doing it), have a crack at (try) a new hobby, or even leave a dead-end job (one with no chance of promotion) or finish a relationship that isn’t going anywhere.

Of course, many of these things are difficult. You…

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Getting into the holiday spirit? Idioms and phrases for family gatherings

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

by Liz Walter

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At this time of year, many people around the world gather with their families to celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and other festivals. Relatives come to stay with you, share large meals, and give presents. It sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But when families get together, there can be tension, too. This post looks at some common idioms and phrases that we use to describe what can happen when families have a little too much togetherness.

In our dreams, we imagine cosy family meals with the kids on their best behaviour and everyone being careful to steer clear of(avoid) those topics they know will cause Great-Uncle Henry to go off on one (UK )/go off on someone (US). We want our parties to go (UK) / go off (US) with a bang  (be very successful) so that everyone has a whale…

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Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2016

Why “paranoid” is the word of the year 2016?

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

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It’s that time again, when publishers reveal the word or words that they believe encapsulate the year. As many readers will know from previous years, we like to base our word on what our millions of users worldwide have been looking up over the course of the year. And what a year it’s been: in June, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, causing great uncertainty in the UK and across Europe (even now, the only certainty we have is that Brexit means Brexit); then, in November, after a vicious and divisive campaign, the people of the United States elected businessman Donald Trump as President ahead of Hillary Clinton, in one of the most extraordinary political stories of modern times. Add to this the ongoing backdrop of a bloody civil war in Syria, several terrorist attacks around the world and numerous celebrity deaths

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