A tad

Growing up in New Zealand I don’t recall the expression “a tad” being used very much at all but subsequent return visits have confirmed that it is now a firm fixture in local language.

Its origins seem to be in the US and as an abbreviation of tadpole (the baby frog), used to refer to a small child. Reference materials for British English also attribute a similar meaning.

We use it however in two main forms: as a noun

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How much milk do you take in your coffee? Just a tad, not too much

 And as an adverb to mean slightly,

I’m running a tad late. I’ll get there as soon as I can

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Today will be a tad chilly with temperatures reaching a high of 12 degrees.

 He’s a tad drunk, can’t you tell?

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Mesmerise

Here we will use the British spelling as befits a word deriving from a historical figure, Austrian doctor Franz Mesmer, who founded a therapeutic movement called Mesmerism.  The American spelling uses the z: mesmerize.

His treatment of patients involved inducing a trance state which would help unblock an invisible fluid to move around the body and heal it.

Sounds rather like the Chinese chi or other Eastern health systems that prioritise the balance and flow of energy.

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Image:https://www.kapray.com/accessories/contact-lenses/hypnotise

For us, to mesmerize or mesmerising speaks of something that fascinates and captivates us, enchanting, enthralling or spell-binding.  Seems like you can’t have too many words to describe such a blissful state!

For the record, Mesmer was hounded out of Vienna as a fraud and met a similar fate in Paris.  While his movement disappeared, the basic concept has lived on in hypnotism and is now being rediscovered in Eastern medicine.

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We were mesmerized by the keynote speaker.  He had our undivided attention for an hour with this fascinating talk.

The boys are mesmerized by that new detective game online.  We hardly see them during the day and they only appear for dinner full of the stories of what they have been playing.

Three-peat

One of the many new coinings that begin in sport and then cross over to other contexts, three-peat is a portmanteau word, a blend of three and repeat.  Quite simply, it means winning a championship, race or other competition three times. If they are consecutive wins, even better.

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Lydia Ko gets the three-peat, winning the Sticky Bunker Golf Championship for the third year running!

 The backstory to this term is that it was registered as a trademark in 1989 by the coach of the Lakers basketball team.  There have been several legal challenges to this on the grounds that the word is too generic (too much in everyday use as a noun describing a general state or situation) to qualify as a trademark but so far, its status remains.

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Rap singers and the more creative have shifted three-peat over to other achievements like having sex with three different people in the same day/night/weekend/week (You choose when you use it!)

Segue

This word, usually used as a noun, has moved from the area of music to general usage in the last few years.  It describes moving smoothly from one part or section to another.

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The musical is so well constructed that one song segues into another with the audience barely noticing.

It has been adopted in other circumstances.

The debate segued from a discussion on rape to an analysis of gender politics overall.

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The main living room segues into a bigger community space, suitable for as a games room or a large study space for the children.

 The pronunciation is “seg-way”, and there has also been some attempts to spell it in this way, given that the Italian original could be tricky for some.  It can also be used as a noun “ the/ a segue”.

I can’t help feeling that it is the sort of word you use to show off, unless you belong to a culture that might use it frequently and outside musicians I have a hard time thinking who they might be.  Nonetheless, it is now a commonly employed word, especially in the US. Maybe we can say it is bringing some color into the language.

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By the way, the word “Segway” is the brand name for a two wheel scooter!