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Strictly speaking | Nutraceuticals

A balanced diet has always been the pathway to good health. Yet anxieties about it have fuelled the unstoppable growth of complementary medicines and “functional foods”, called nutraceuticals (the standard spelling) – rather than nutriceuticals, as you might expect, if ...

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Strictly speaking | Wokeness

The adjective woke, in the sense of “being alert to social injustice”, has had a meteoric rise in the last two years. It originated in African-American slang in the phrase stay woke, first recorded in the 1970s. But its usage ...

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Strictly speaking | Gammon

Britain’s agonising over Brexit has spawned a lot of new vocabulary. One of the most evocative of these words is gammon, used to describe “white men of a certain age who become pink in the face when working themselves into ...

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Strictly speaking | spruik

It sometimes takes a while for dictionaries to catch up with usage. One of the latest additions to the Oxford English Dictionary online is the transitive sense of the verb spruik, ‘to talk about or promote/publicise something’, to add to ...

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Strictly speaking: webtoon

How many Korean loanwords are there in English? Not many, apart from kimchi and others drawn from Korean cuisine. Webtoon is remarkable in providing an international name for a mixed genre form of entertainment that takes the printed comic strip ...

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Strictly speaking: foreign fruits

Exotic fruits keep arriving from overseas with foreign names which are hard to remember for those unfamiliar with the language of origin. The Japanese yuzu, a craggy-skinned lemon-like fruit the size of a billiard ball is a recent arrival, now ...

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Strictly speaking: lossy

Profit and loss are sharply contrasted in business, so investments must be loss‑proof, and only very select items can be loss‑leaders. These principles are in fact very old, hence the use of lossful in the 17th century, recorded in a ...

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Strictly speaking: gaslighting

The American dictionary website, www.merriam-webster.com, regularly features words that are trending in dictionary searches. One recent example was gaslighting – not in the sense of the outdated mode of illuminating our city streets, but in the more recent definition of ...

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Strictly speaking: unicorns and zebras

We think of unicorns as imaginary, mythical creatures, so you may be surprised to learn they actually exist. In the world of business, it’s the name given to startup companies valued at more than US$1 billion. Venture capitalist Aileen Lee coined ...

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Strictly speaking: capitals

Capital letters create alternative forms for each character in the Roman alphabet. They help to mark the particular functions of certain words: those that start a sentence or identify proper nouns for persons (e.g. Quentin Bryce) or places (e.g. Australia), ...

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