This word refers to a copy or reproduction of an original work, maybe by the same artist or maybe by other means such as a carbon copy, facsimile, clone, duplicate or some sort of photocopying technique.

The forger made an exact replica of his passport.

Metaphorically, it can mean someone very similar

Mary’s daughter is a replica of her mother.


It does not refer to the tremors or aftershocks, which follow an earthquake. This is a use of the word in Spanish (réplica), which I rather like, especially as replicas can often be smaller versions of the original.


Scrumptious, scrummy and scrumpy


Scrumptious is one of those words that sounds so nice, particularly as it means delicious. Perhaps it was more commonly used in the past than now but we still hear people talking about a cake or a dish being scrumptious.

Marge, your carrot cake is simply scrumptious.

The table for lunch was full of scrumptious tarts and pies.

Apparently, the word derives from sumptuous which means magnificent, lavish and expensive and can include non-food items like furnishings.

Scrumptious however seems to apply to food and those drinks that have a food-like quality such as smoothies or shakes. A simple juice or cocktail is less likely to be scrumptious. For me, that suggests a sense of volume or body in the food. Something scrumptious is food or drink you savour. It doesn’t just slip down.


An informal British version is Scrummy, which reminds us of Yummy. Scrummy would seem to be more limited to food than yummy which I have seen used to refer to people and feelings as well.


Scrumpy is a term for dry cider from the West of England.

Scrub up well


Scrubbing is what you do with a brush and soap and water to remove hard dirt.

Scrubbing up is what surgeons do before going in to operate, i.e. cleaning their hands and arms.

Scrubbing up well is perhaps unkindly said of people who generally look a bit of a mess or poorly groomed and then make an effort, particularly for a special occasion.


Britney can really scrub up well when she makes a bit of an effort. There’s a real beauty hidden beneath those shapeless grubby jeans she loves to wear.


Jon scrubs up well if he’s going out on a date.

Dry Port


Many of you may think of a dry port wine with this combination of words, but in fact there is a new concept being used here.

A dry port is also an inland port or transport terminal where cargo is handled and import/export and customs procedures are performed before the cargo actually goes to the sea port. In some cases, it is more convenient to do this in a dry port as it is nearer to a big commercial city or there is more space to store containers, etc than in the sea port zone.

Our city also has a dry port with direct connections to two maritime ports and three railway corridors so it is an excellent place to start your new export business.


Safer too! As we say in English – Any port in a storm!


Fembots and Maybot


A fembot is the type of female robot made famous in the Austin Powers movies for being sufficiently seductive to lure men and then kill them.  Firing poisonous gas from their boobs was one of their cute tricks.

The other day I was reading about the Maybot.  This is the nickname at least one (John Crace in The Guardian) or more British journalists have given to their Prime Minister Theresa May.  maybot

Apparently she is being very slow to make a move on the plan for Britain leaving the European Union (Brexit) and quick to fall back on old platitudes and vague generalisations.  So much so that she seems like a robot repeating a recorded message. And so the term Maybot is born.

Of course, her surname says exactly the opposite of the determined, sure pair of hands her party claimed when they voted for her to replace David Cameron. She MAY or MAY NOT be that but it is not a name like WILLS or ACTON (Think about it!) which suggest more proactivity.

With Theresa we might end up with a fair amount of dithering and fence-sitting, though to tell the truth her job is not an enviable one.


When push comes to shove


This is an idiom to appeal to those kinaesthetic readers who like to feel and do.  It basically refers to the moment when a situation becomes serious, after the play or the circling around the topic, one party decides to take action. This action could be tough or hard and received as aggressive or it could simply mean that things are becoming serious and you need to respond.  It corresponds to the first part of “When the going gets tough…”

Sometimes used as “If push comes to shove”. A shove is a more aggressive push and is usually used metaphorically here.

There are many theories related to the origin of the expression including references to rugby and giving birth with none seeming definitive.

If push comes to shove, she won’t kick her daughter out of the house. 

He always backs down, when push comes to shove. You can’t rely on him to do what he promises.



Alternative words for power cuts or failures, when the electricity goes off and you can’t use any of your appliances. I guess they stopped using cut as a word because it sounds so final and all the power companies want to do in these cases is avoid such a sense of finality.

Outage sounds sort of gradual like seepage. It can also refer to computers or systems when they don’t function. This seems to be referring to the computer crashing or the network going down.

Brownout, popular in the US. also seems less dramatic than a blackout, which has connotations of war and the result of deliberate action. A blackout is when there is complete loss of power and a brownout is when the electricity utility reduces the voltage and therefore quality of the power being transmitted through the system.

Outage and brownout have definitely become more popular in recent years in different English speaking countries.

Power outages have been reported in different parts of the city due to the bad weather conditions we have been experiencing.

The Electricity company has reported a complete blackout in the Northern area after a fire in a substation yesterday.