Monthly Archives

December 2017

Intermediate+ Word of the Day: damp

If something is damp, it means that it’s slightly wet. Figuratively, damp also means ‘unenthusiastic or depressed.’ Damp, as a noun, is moisture or humidity. Figuratively, it is a depression of spirits or a discouraging thing, although these meanings are now dated. As a verb, it means ‘to moisten or make slightly wet’ or, if we are talking about a fire, ‘to extinguish’ or ‘to stifle,’ so that it burns very slowly. Figuratively, it can…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: ram

A ram is a male sheep and also a device for battering, crushing, or forcing something. Related to this last sense, to ram means ‘to strike with force,’ ‘to stuff or cram,’ or, figuratively, ‘to force or push firmly.’ Unrelatedly, the acronym RAM, in computing, stands for random access memory, and it is the computer memory available to…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: wonky

Informally, in UK English, wonky means that something is unsteady or unstable. It can also mean that something is not straight. You might also hear it used to mean that something is unsound or unreliable. In US English, wonky is a slang word meaning ‘studious’ or…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: bog

A bog is an area of wet, moist, and spongy ground and the verb to bog, usually followed by down, means ‘to sink in or as if in such an area.’ In UK slang, bog means ‘toilet’ and, if you are talking about a public toilet or the toilet facilities in a establishment open to the public, like a bar or restaurant, then the word is often…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: frill

In clothing, a frill is a strip of cloth or lace, gathered at one edge and left loose on the other, used to trim a piece of clothing or fabric. Something that resembles such a trimming is also called a frill. Informally, a frill is something that is desirable but not at all essential or an affectation in style or manner. As a verb, to frill means ‘to trim with a frill or…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: feed

Obviously, to feed means ‘to give food’, ‘to provide as food,’ and, especially of animals, ‘to eat.’ Figuratively, ‘to provide with what’s necessary for mantainence or operation’ and ‘to satisfy or gratify’ is also to feed. But did you know that feed has other specific meanings? In theater, it means ‘to provide cues or lines to an actor’ and, in broadcasting, ‘to distribute a local broadcast via satellite network.’ As a noun, feed is not only the food given or the material supplied, but also a line…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: light

We think you already know that light is the brightness that makes things visible or something that gives that brightness, like the sun or a lamp. Traffic lights, matches, or lighters can also be called lights. Figuratively, the ways things are looked at, awareness or understanding, and also someone important can be called light. As an adjective, it means ‘bright’ or ‘pale in color’, and as a verb, ‘to cause to burn’ or ‘to make bright.’ Unrelatedly, the adjective light means…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: steer

To steer means ‘to guide the course of something in motion,’ especially a vehicle, and also ‘to follow a particular course.’ Figuratively, to direct the course of anything is also to steer. As a noun, it is used informally, mainly in US English, to mean ‘a suggestion about a course of action.’ In US and Australian English, a steer is a male animal of the cattle family that has been…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: botch

To botch means ‘to spoil something by doing poor or clumsy work’ and also ‘to do or say something clumsily.’ As a noun, a botch is a clumsy piece of work or a mess. Unrelatedly, a botch is a swelling on the skin of an animal. More rarely, botch is a synonym of…

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