Monthly Archives

November 2017

Intermediate+ Word of the Day: rod

A rod is long straight stick, staff, or wand, or a slim bar or tube, such as you might use for hanging curtains from or draping towels over. You might have heard the term fishing rod, which is a long stick used for fishing. A rod is also a stick with measurements on it used for measuring. It is also a stick or a bundle of sticks bound together and used as an instrument of punishment, although this meaning is now largely historical. As a slang term, rod means…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: hub

The hub is the central part of a wheel, and also the central part of a fan or any other propeller. Figuratively, a hub is the center of something around which other things revolve or the focus of activity or authority…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: fin

A fin is the wing-like part of the body of fishes and water mammals such as whales used for moving, steering, and balancing. Any part that resembles this is also called a fin, like the ones aircraft or boats have. Fins, usually in the plural, are the rubber devices that some swimmers or divers use on their feet when swimming underwater. As a verb, fin is not common, but when it is used, it means ‘to move using fins’ or ‘to equip…

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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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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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