Monthly Archives

January 2018

Intermediate+ Word of the Day: flack

In US slang, a flack is a press agent and, as an uncountable noun, also publicity. To flack means ‘to work as a press agent’ or ‘to promote or publicize.’ Unrelatedly, in a military context, flack, also spelled flak, is antiaircraft fire. Related to this, figuratively, flack or flak is strong and harsh criticism, usually a great deal of…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: trench

A trench is a narrow area dug out of the ground as a defense against the enemy and, more generally, any deep ditch or cut in the ground or a deep depression in the ocean floor. As a verb, to trench means surround or fortify with trenches or to form a trench. In agriculture, it means ‘to make a series of trenches,’ usually shallow ones, alternated with ridges, for growing crops or ‘to set or…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: foster

To foster means ‘to promote the growth or development of something’ or ‘to bring up and raise’ children or young that are not your own. When we are talking about a plan, hope, or feeling, it means ‘to care for or cherish.’ As an adjective, foster relates to someone or something that provides or receives parental care despite the absence of relationship by blood…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: slope

To slope means ‘to have an inclined or oblique direction or angle’ and also ‘to move at such inclination.’ To form something with such an inclination is also to slope. As a noun, a slope is ground that has a natural inclination, like the sides of a hill. It is also the inclination itself or any other inclined…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: kindle

To kindle means ‘to make a flame begin burning’ and, more broadly, ‘to start a fire’ and also ‘to set fire to something.’ Figuratively, it means ‘to light up,’ ‘to arouse, excite, or stir up something or someone,’ or ‘to become aroused, excited, or stirred up…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: rake

A rake is a gardening tool, long-handled and with three or more teeth or tines used to gather leaves, hay, or grass, or for smoothing the surface of the soil. As a verb, it means ‘to smooth, clear, or prepare a surface with a rake’ or, often followed by up or together, ‘to gather together with a rake.’ Figuratively, usually followed by up, it means ‘to bring something to light or to someone else’s attention,’ especially if that something is better forgotten. Rake also means ‘to scratch…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: branch

In botany, a branch is an armlike division of the stem of a tree or shrub, which can be thin or thick. Coming from this meaning, any division of a system or structure is also a branch and, in businesses or companies of any kind, a local division is a branch. As a verb, to branch means ‘to spread in branches,’ as trees do, and, figuratively, often followed by off or out, ‘to divide into separate parts’ or…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: goof

Goof is a slang term, used more in US than UK English, and now a little dated. As a verb, sometimes followed by up, it means ‘to make an error or a misjudgment’ or ‘to spoil, bungle, or make a mess of something.’ Followed by off or around, it also means ‘to waste or kill time’ and, in US English, followed by on, ‘to tease or make fun of someone.’ As a noun, a goof is a mistake or blunder or a foolish or…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: cast

To cast means ‘to throw’, ‘to put forth or send,’ or ‘to cause to fall upon something’ or ‘to drop or shed.’ If you cast an eye or a look, it means you direct it. Cast also means ‘to deposit’ or ‘to put in a place, especially by force.’ As a noun, cast is the act of throwing. It also means ‘kind, quality or sort.’ In medicine, a cast is a rigid covering used to protect broken bones…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: tune

A tune is any of a series of musical sounds that form a melody and also a state of harmony, both in terms of music and figuratively. The verb to tune means ‘to adjust a musical instrument to a pitch.’ Followed by in, it means ‘to adjust a radio or TV to receive a signal’ and followed by out it means…

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