Monthly Archives

November 2017

Intermediate+ Word of the Day: buzz

A buzz is a low humming sound, like the ones bees make. Lively and excited activity is also a buzz and, informally, a phone call can be called buzz too. As a slang term, a buzz is a feeling of excitement or exhilaration or of slight intoxication. As a verb, to buzz means ‘to make a buzzing sound,’ ‘to whisper or gossip,’ or, often followed by around or, in UK English, about, ‘to move busily from…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: yak

A yak is a large, shaggy-haired ox with curved horns found in the Tibetan highlands. Nowadays, wild yaks are considered vulnerable, while domestic yaks are more common. Unrelatedly, yak (sometimes spelled yack) is a slang verb that means ‘to talk idly and without stopping, to chatter.’ As a noun (also sometimes spelled yack and also sometimes in the form yakety-yak), it means…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: shear

To shear means ‘to remove hair or wool from an animal by cutting’ or ‘to cut through something with a sharp instrument.’ It also means ‘to progress as by cutting,’ often with the preposition through, and, usually followed by off, ‘to break as the result of pressure.’ Followed by of, it means ‘to deprive or strip.’ As a noun, shears, usually in the plural, are scissors of a large size or any of various cutting implements or machines with two blades that…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: coaster

A coaster is a person or thing that coasts, that is, that slides or glides down a hill or slope, and also, in US English, a sled used for coasting. A coaster is also a small dish or mat used under a glass or cup to protect the surface of the table. As a nautical term, a coaster is a ship engaged in trade around the…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: tinker

Mainly historical now, as the trade has died out, a tinker is a person who fixes pots and pans and wanders from place to place looking for customers or, in US English, a person skilled in many minor kinds of work, especially mechanical or manual work. It also means ‘a clumsy or unskillfull worker.’ In Scottish and Irish English, it is the standard word for a gypsy and also means ‘wanderer’ or ‘beggar.’ These meanings have now become common in most varieties of UK English, but the term, in this sense…

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