Words in the news: blood diamonds

I read a lot in the news about Naomi Campbell. She seemed to be in all the newspapers after her recent appearance in court. She was connected with an interesting piece of vocabulary.

The diamonds she was allegedly given as a present can be called ‘blood diamonds‘. ‘Blood diamonds‘ are diamonds that have been mined in a war zone and used to pay for equipment for the invading army.

English words in the news: moonshine

If you like a drink but don’t like paying tax, you might like this English word – ‘Moonshine‘ is an alcoholic drink made illegally at home. It is distilled and often contains more alcohol than hard liquor.

Moonshine is most commonly associated with America during the 1920s and early 1930s but this article on the BBC News website says it is becoming more common again nowadays.

The other interesting words I spotted in the article are ‘hipster‘ (a person who is keenly interested in the latest trends or fashions) and ‘booze‘ (a casual word for alcoholic drinks).

Today’s image is by Andrew Beierle.

English words in the news: marksman

A marksman is an person who is good at shooting. In this article on the BBC News website, we can see the word in context.

Marksmen are searching empty buildings, woods and fields in and around a town in north-east England in the hunt for suspected gunman Raoul Moat.

Let’s hope they can arrest him without needing to shoot.

The longest day

It’s a special day today. It’s the beginning of the Wimbledon tennis tournament and it’s also the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. We call the longest day of the year the summer solstice.

The opposite (the shortest day) is called the winter solstice and it will happen this year on December 21st or 22nd.

In England, some people like to visit Stonehenge to see the sun rise over the ancient monument. I’ll stay up late tonight and sit out in my garden until the sun sets. How do you celebrate the summer solstice?

Today’s image is by Marek Bernat.

English vocabulary in the news: Jet lag

I’ve been feeling a bit strange since I got back to the UK. I feel tired often and have some difficulty sleeping. This is probably because I spent so long in Indonesia, which is in a different time zone to the UK. My body still wants to go to sleep at what would be night time in Indonesia.

We call this kind of feeling ‘jet lag’. I spotted ‘jet lag’ in this article over the weekend, too. It seems that jet lag is one of the leading causes of sickness on vacation. I guess I’ll have to remember to get plenty of exercise and eat healthily until I have overcome my jet lag.

Today’s image is by Claudio Sepulveda Geoffroy.

English vocabulary in the news: brain gain

While I was browsing the news this weekend, I came across an interesting piece of vocabulary in this article. ‘Brain gain‘ is when a country attracts a lot of well-educated people to live there. The opposite is ‘brain drain‘, which is when a lot of well-educated people leave a country.

There’s another interesting expression in the article. The author mentions that the situation is ‘as old as the hills‘. If something is ‘as old as the hills‘, it has existed for a very long time.

Today’s image is by Sanja Gjenero.

English vocabulary in the news: Silver surfer

Any comic book geeks out there will know the Silver Surfer as a character featured in the Fantastic Four comics. I saw it used in the news in another, interesting way this weekend in this article.

The way it is used here is to talk about elderly people using the Internet. ‘Silver’ refers to the colour of a typical elderly person’s hair and ‘surfer’ because they surf the Internet.

One of the students I used to teach online was 83 years old. She’s a great example of a silver surfer using the Internet for lifelong learning.

English vocabulary in the news: blunder

I am addicted to Google Street View. I can spend hours on it looking around different cities all over the world. It’s just so much fun! I spotted this article on the BBC News website at the weekend related to the technology Google uses when recording the information for Street View.

There were some really interesting expressions in the article. The first one I spotted was in the title ‘Google admits wi-fi data collection blunder‘. A ‘blunder‘ is when someone makes a big mistake.

The other interesting expression I spotted in the article was ‘pushing the envelope‘. This means to expand the limits of what it possible. In this case, Google pushes the envelope when it comes to technology.

Do you enjoy using Google Street View?