Intermediate+ Word of the Day

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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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: mild

Mild means ‘gentle or soft’ and it can refer to feelings or manners. It can also mean ‘not severe, temperate’ or ‘moderate in strength, force, or degree’. When we use it to talk about food, it means ‘not sharp in taste or smell’ and, when we are talking about disease, it means…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: blade

The blade is the flat cutting part of a sharp tool or weapon like a knife or a sword and it can actually be used as a synonym for sword too. Part of any mechanism that resembles this and that is used for wiping or scraping is also a blade and, generally, any thin and flat part of something too. In botany, a blade is the leaf of a plant, especially grass or cereal plants, and in sports, the blade is the metal part of an ice skate. Blade is also an informal word for a lively and spirited young man…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: spout

To spout means ‘to throw out with force, as in a stream or jet’ or ‘to shoot out with violence.’ Figuratively, if you say something in a showy and pompous and oratorical manner, you’re also spouting. As a noun, a spout is a pipe, tube, or projecting lip used to pour out or to carry liquid along. A continuous stream of liquid coming out of something is also a spout. Spout is also a downpour of something…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: weave

To weave means ‘to lace together threads, so as to form a fabric’ and also ‘to form by weaving,’ like you can do for example with a basket or some outdoor furniture. Spiders, and other small insects, weave webs. Figuratively, to connect and combine things as a whole is also to weave and also to move by zigzagging or winding. As a noun, a weave is a pattern or…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: coast

You probably know that the coast is the land next to and the region near the sea. But did you know that coast, as a verb, means ‘to descend or go down in a car or on a bicycle without using power?’ The related noun coast means ‘a glide down a hill or slope.’ Informally, to coast means ‘to progress or go forward with little effort,’ especially using pre-existing assets, such as…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: prey

Prey, which is an uncountable noun, is an animal or animals hunted for food by other meat-eating animals. A thing or person that is victim to an enemy, affliction, or disease is also prey. As a verb, to prey, always followed by on or upon, means ‘to hunt animals for food,’ ‘to attack in order to destroy or steal,’ or ‘to trouble…

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