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.


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.


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.


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



Uplift, upload

These words derived from phrasal verbs are also mutating into new forms and meanings.


Will Karen Brown please return to the information desk to uplift the small bag she has left behind?

This announcement over the airport loudspeaker may have an element of bureaucratic talk but it is clear what is meant. Why pick up or fetch or collect could not be used I don’t know.

Likewise, I heard the following a little while later:

Passengers for Emirates Flight 123 should head to the gate as the upload has begun


So, we no longer board an aircraft but we upload it? Interesting changes that may not be really necessary.


A rather colourful nautical term that means to throw something overboard from a plane or ship.

jettison fuel

The emergency with the seriously ill patient meant an emergency landing was called for. To do so, the plane circled over the sea jettisoning its excess fuel.

But we use it a lot to discard plans or belongings we know longer need.

Betty and Benny jettisoned the idea of a transatlantic wedding when the costs of plane fares and accommodation became prohibitive.

jettison suite

Mark jettisoned his old lounge suite and chairs and replaced them with a futon and a low coffee table.

I like jettison as it brings a little colour to the language and especially to a word which may have negative connotations.

When the rubber meets the road


Time spent recently with North Americans reminded me of some of the idioms they are fond of. Being such mobile societies, you find plenty of examples of driving language in everyday speech.

When the rubber meets the road (sometimes seen as where the rubber hits the road) refers to the moment when you test an idea or plan in real conditions. It is like taking a car for a test drive. It may look nice but you don’t really know how it handles the road until you get in it and take it for a drive. The rubber refers to the tyres.

We won’t know if the upgraded system works until we go online with it. That’s when the rubber meets the road.

I don’t know how the new employee will shape up yet. Once the new season starts and we are operating at full capacity, that’s when the rubber meets the road and we’ll see if she has what it takes.


The number one meaning for this word as an adjective is clearly: on fire, illuminated, lit up.


By the time the fire brigade got to the old house, it was completely alight.

 What always amused me as a child was to see this word used as a verb  to mean get off or out of transport, usually public transport. It is a rather formal almost jargon-like term often used to give a legal tone.


Push button to alight.

Alighting passengers should use the rear exit.

The press are at the convention centre waiting for the President to alight.

By now you will realise that this word has to do with lighten or make less heavy, but in my young mind I started to see my fellow passengers bursting into flames.

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!