Monthly Archives

February 2018

Intermediate+ Word of the Day: stern

As an adjective, stern means ‘firm or strict,’ when we are talking about people or their behavior, actions, emotions, or speech, and also ‘harsh or severe.’ Something unpleasantly serious in character can also be stern and so can a grim and forbidding appearance. In nautical terms, the stern is the rear part of a boat or ship and, by extension, stern can be used to mean…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: chime

As a noun, a chime is set of bells that produce a musical tone when they are struck. Chime is also a name for any musical instrument that produces a similar sound. Each of the sounds these bells or instruments produce is called a chime. As a verb, to chime means ‘to sound harmoniously or in chimes,’ ‘to make a bell or something similar produce a musical sound,’ and ‘to announce or…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: span

Span means ‘the full extent or reach of something’ or ‘the period of time over which something continues.’ In architecture and civil engineering, it is the distance or space between the two supports of a structure, such as an arch or a bridge, and, if we are talking about aircraft or birds, it is the distance from wing tip to wing tip. It is also a term used for measuring and it’s the distance between the tip of the thumb and…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: rev

A rev is an informal term; it is an abbreviation for a revolution of the crankshaft within an engine. The related verb means ‘to accelerate’ and it can have an engine, vehicle, or driver as its subject. Rev is also used figuratively, often followed by up, about other things and means ‘to increase’ in both activity and…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: hound

A hound is any of several breeds of dog used for hunting, often having a long face and large drooping ears. Informally, any dog can be called a hound, and a mean and contemptible man can be called a hound as well, although this is now dated. A devotee or enthusiast of something is also a hound (in this sense, the name of the thing the person is a devotee of always comes before hound). As a verb, to hound means ‘to persecute,…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: chump

A chump is an informal term that means ‘a person easily fooled’ or simply ‘a fool’. As a slang term, it means ‘head.’ Chump is also a short, thick piece of wood or, sometimes as chump-end, the thick end of something, especially a loin of lamb or mutton. Unrelatedly, to chump is a less common variant of ‘to chomp’, meaning…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: stem

The stem is the part of a plant that supports the leaf, flower, or fruit. Any long, slender, and supporting part, such as the one on a pipe or a wineglass, is also a stem. On a watch, the stem is the part that sticks out from the body of a watch, having a knob on its end for winding the watch. In grammar, the stem is a form of a word comprising a root on its own, or a root plus a prefix or suffix, to which certain endings may be…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: prance

Prance is what horses do when they move with springing steps. It also means ‘to ride on a horse doing this.’ By extension, if a person prances, it means that he or she walks in a really proud manner, with exaggerated steps, trying to attract attention. As a noun, a prance is…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: gush

To gush means ‘to flow out suddenly and with force,’ as liquids do when released from somewhere they have been contained. Figuratively, if a person talks too much and effusively or emotionally about something, that is also to gush. If tears or blood suddenly come out, that is to gush as well. As a noun, a gush is a sudden flow of liquid, blood, or…

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Intermediate+ Word of the Day: grim

Grim is an adjective that means ‘stern and allowing no compromise.’ It can also refer to anything of a sinister character, and also to something cruel or savage. When we use grim to talk about people or things, it can mean ‘harsh or intimidating’ in either looks or, in the case of people, behavior. More broadly, it means…

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