Monthly Archives

September 2017

Intermediate+ Word of the Day: dwell

To dwell is a formal term meaning ‘to live somewhere as a permanent residence’ and also ‘to live or continue in a particular state.’ Figuratively, it means ‘to endure or remain.’ In more everyday language, always followed by on or upon, it means ‘to write, talk or think about something for a long time.’ If a machine dwells, it means that it stops moving for an interval of an operation. The noun dwell is related to this last sense and…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: lash

A lash is the flexible end part of a whip or a stroke with a whip or something similar. An eyelash can also be called a lash. As a verb, to lash means ‘to strike with a whip or something similar,’ ‘to beat sharply against,’ or ‘to attack with cruel words.’ It can also mean ‘to move suddenly and swiftly.’ Unrelatedly, to lash can also mean…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: swift

If something or someone is swift, it means that it or they can move with great speed and if a decision or an action is swift, it means that it was performed quickly. Swift can also mean ‘quick to act or respond.’ Mostly in US English, it can be used figuratively as a synonym for clever, though this use is a bit dated. As an adverb, swift means ‘in a quick way.’ A swift is a long-winged, swallowlike bird…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: toll

A toll is a fee charged by an authority for some right or privilege, like, for example, driving along a road or in telecommunications and, in US English, the payment made for a long distance phone call. A toll is also the extent of damage or the amount of loss suffered because of something. The verb to toll is quite rare, but it means ‘to collect a toll payment.’ Unrelatedly, the verb toll is used to talk about a bell sounding slowly, in single…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: plea

A plea is a request or an appeal, something that is said as a justification, or an excuse or pretext. In legal terms, a plea is a defendant’s formal answer to a legal charge, that is, guilty or not guilty…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: hollow

If something is hollow, it means that it’s empty or that it has a cavity inside. If a surface is hollow, it has a curve inward or downward or it is somehow sunken. Sounds can also be hollow, meaning that they are not resonant. Figuratively, hollow means ‘without importance, meaningless’ or ‘false and insincere.’ As a noun, a hollow is a shallow valley. As a verb, often followed…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: scarf

You might know already that a scarf is a a long strip of fabric or a square one, usually made of wool, silk, or lace,that is worn around the neck, shoulders, or head to protect oneself from the cold or simply as an ornament. Although uncommon, as a verb, it means ‘to use as a scarf, or to wrap with a scarf.’ Unrelatedly, scarf is also a verb that means ‘to fit pieces of metal or timber together by notching the ends so that they slot into each other.’ As a slang term, also unrelatedly and…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: rock

A rock is, of course, a large mass of stone that forms a hill or a cliff or a piece of stone. Colloquially, a gemstone, especially a diamond, is also called a rock. As a verb, unrelatedly, to rock means ‘to move gently from side to side’ and also ‘to shake violently.’ It is also a synonym for shake, in the sense of being moved by great emotion. As a noun, rock is not only a rocking movement but also a style of music. To rock, therefore, also means ‘to dance to or play this kind of music’ and the adjective…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: wreck

A wreck is a structure, building, or object that has been destroyed or badly damaged, a ship that has been sunk, and also a synonym for ‘ruin, destruction.’ It can be used figuratively to talk about a person whose physical or mental health is in a bad state. As a verb, to wreck means ‘to sink a ship’ or ‘to cause the destruction or ruin of something.’ In US English, it also means…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: stooge

A stooge is an entertainer who gives lines to a comedian and is usually the target of his or her jokes or, more generally, any accomplice or assistant. In magic shows, for example, the stooge is the person who acts as if she or he is one of the spectators. Informally, stooge is used to talk about a person who is taken advantage of by someone else or is ridiculed or portrayed as a fool. As a verb, to stooge means…

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