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Word of the Week 11 August - 17 August
- clever, intelligent, sharp in practical matters and situations E.g. He's a shrewd politician.
- something which is piercing, penetrating E.g. She gave him a shrewd look.
Word of the Week 14 July - 20 July
After another absence for trips and wandering and visiting friends, I am back with a simple adjective this week which you will find in many English nursery rhyme books. Take a look...
- quick, flexible and light in movement; agile E.g. He's so good at hurdles because he's so nimble.
- quick to understand, plan, think of things E.g. She is a great asset to the team as she has a nimble mind.
After a wonderful week in Greece this week's Word of the Week is a phrase inspired by our Greek friends!
It's all Greek to me (idiomatic expression):
- an expression for when something is totally incomprehensible to you; you don't understand anything at all about something E.g. I read the contract, but I know nothing about law - it's all Greek to me!
Word of the Week 02 June - 08 June
Last weekend I supported my husband in the marathon here in Luxembourg, so this week's Word of the Week is inspired by all the runners who completed this event!
- to go through hardship/difficult/strain/deprivation and sustain it E.g. Too many people around the world endure poverty their whole lives.
- to last or continue to exist E.g. This book has endured because its themes are still relevant today.
- to tolerate or permit E.g. I had to endure a terrible business dinner with new clients last night.
- the state of enduring E.g. The endurance showed by the marathon runners was amazing.
Word of the Week 26 May - 01 June
Last week, I was visiting family in the UK and especially getting time to spend with my 6-month old nephew, who is adorable! So, this week, here are some words related to babies and children.
- to make sounds which are incomprehensible, with tears coming from your eyes E.g. Babies cry when they are hungry.
- to move along the floor on your hands and knees E.g. My baby started crawling when she was seven months old.
- to give food/nutrition to someone or something E.g. I fed my son every three hours when he was born.
- Breastfeed is to give milk to a baby from the breast.
- the special, soft and very absorbent material a baby wears to collect its wee/poo E.g. Is it your turn to change the nappy?
- a baby's bed, a bit like a box and usually with bars E.g. Our son sleeps like a baby in his cot!
- to sleep very deeply, to have a great sleep E.g. After a day in the fresh air I always sleep like a baby!
Word of the Week 12 May - 18 May
This week, I give you some expressions with the verb 'lost'. Enjoy!
Lost for words (idiomatic expression):
- when you have nothing to say, or cannot think of anything to say, usually due to shock, surprise, or your emotions; speechless E.g. I was lost for words when the president resigned on television without telling his staff first.
- hopeless; someone or something which has no chance of success E.g. I do not understand why he is running for president, he's a lost cause and no one will vote for him.
- when tow parties/people/countries/groups openly show their hatred and animosity of one another E.g. There was obviously no love lost between the candidates in this year's presidential election.
Word of the Week 05 May - 11 May
- especially related to food: hard, dry tasteless from being kept too long E.g. Don't eat that bread, it's stale, feed it to the ducks!
- related to air: stagnant, foul, not fresh E.g. Open the windows, it's so stale in here!
- no longer new or interesting E.g. We all know about that, it's stale news.
- without energy or enthusiasm from a lack of variety or overwork E.g. All our campaigns are stale, we need to inject some new ideas.
Word of the Week 28 April - 04 May
- to prevent the progress of, or free movement of something E.g. The financial director is hampering our plans to employ another accountant by not approving the job description.
Word of the Week 14 April - 20 April
Orange Bird is off on holiday next week for the Easter holidays, so this week I've got some idioms with the word EGG for you to learn. Happy Easter!
A good egg/bad egg (idiomatic expression):
- a good egg is someone who can be relied on, is dependable; a bad egg is someone who cannot be trusted
- to be very careful when dealing with someone because they can get angry/offended/upset very easily E.g. We have been walking on eggshells around Julie ever since she got divorced.
- to risk everything on one single opportunity which could go wrong E.g. Putting all your money into that investment is like putting all your eggs in one basket.
Word of the Week 07 April - 13 April
Camp (adjective - INFORMAL):
- effeminate, affected in dress, mannerisms E.g. He had to act like a camp man in the play, which was difficult for him.
- Consciously artificial, exaggerated or vulgar; can be self parodying E.g. Mama Mia! is a camp film and lots of fun.
Word of the Week 31 March - 06 April
- not (usually used with nor) E.g. I like neither Italian food nor Chinese food. E.g. Neither Angela nor Graham came to the party.
- not one nor the other (of two) E.g. Have you read Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet? No, neither.
Word of the Week 17 March - 23 March
Last week we asked you what was wrong with the English in the sign below. Did you spot the verb mistake? Our Word of the Week is the difference between what is used and what it should have been.
Turn on (phrasal verb):
- to give power to something to operate it E.g. Let's turn on the television and watch a movie.
- to sexually or emotionally arouse, to become sexually excited E.g. You turn me on when you wear that dress!
- to have a change in attitude that becomes hostile or to retaliate E.g. The children were playing with the dog when it suddenly turned on them.
- to move or cause something to move around an axis, to move in a circular motion E.g. The wheels turned quickly.
- to change or cause to change direction E.g. Turn left at the junction.
- to change or cause to change colour or nature or form, often followed by into E.g. The autumn leaves have turned orange.
Word of the Week 10 March - 16 March
This week, there is no word of the week. Instead, I want you to have a look and tell us what is wrong with the sign in the picture below. Email me or let me know on Facebook and next week we will have a look at the all the meanings of the error! So, what's wrong here:
Word of the Week 03 March - 09 March
- an honour or reward for having won a contest or competition E.g. The prize for the best poem is a poetry book.
- something given to the winner in a game of chance, such as the lottery E.g. The raffle prize is a washing machine, buy your tickets here!
- something valuable to work towards E.g. If we get this contract, the prize is a week off!
- used as a modifier E.g. Prize race horse, prize essay
- to esteem or value highly E.g. They prize their dogs above their children.
- valuable E.g. Her grandma's portrait is her most prized possession.
Word of the Week 24 February - 02 March
- made of or like flakes
- tends to peel off or break into flakes E.g. This is a really flaky cake.
- someone who is unreliable and often absent E.g. I don't know if he will come to the party, you know how flaky he is.
Word of the Week 10 February - 16 February
- a sudden, notable, extensive misfortune or disaster E.g. The earthquake was a catastrophe for the whole island.
Word of the Week 13 January - 19 January
This week, English learners, it's all about the hats!
At the drop of a hat (idiomatic expression):
- without warning or being given time to think about it E.g. When he proposed marriage, she said yes at the drop of a hat.
- a sign that you admire someone E.g. You finished the marathon! Wow! I really take my hat off to you.
- to be crazy E.g. Our English teacher is as mad as a hatter!
- to show that you don't believe something will happen E.g. If he passes the exam without studying, I'll eat my hat!
Word of the Week 06 January - 12 January
- all, everything or anything that E.g. You must do whatever the training plan says.
- no matter what E.g. Whatever she does, I know you will like her work.
- an unknown or unspecific thing(s) E.g. Use a hammer, brick, whatever to hit it hard.
- to show something not important/you don't agree, mainly used in spoken English/in chats E.g. "You should have told me before!" "Ah, whatever."
Word of the Week 16 December - 22 December
- to see or know beforehand E.g. She couldn't have foreseen the disaster that hit the island.
- able to be predicted E.g. I will work for this company for the foreseeable future.
Word of the Week 02 December - 08 December
- to want, have the desire for something, to wish for E.g. I fancy a nice big steak for dinner tonight.
- to be physically attracted to another person E.g. How can she fancy her boss? He's ugly!
- to like E.g. I don't fancy your team's chances in the game tonight!
- decorated, elegant, not plain E.g. She always wears fancy clothes.
- requiring skill to do or perform E.g. He performed a fancy dance routine to impress the judges.
Word of the Week 25 November - 01 December
The Christmas markets are open now around Luxembourg, France and Germany and to celebrate this, our Word of the Week is everything to do with CHEER.
- happiness and joy E.g. Our office party was full of Christmas cheer.
- shout, cry of approval or encouragement
- to shout, cry and applaud loudly E.g. Although we cheered our team, they still lost.
- to make someone happy or hopeful, to comfort or be comforted E.g. I cheered up when my friends surprised with a nice lunch.
- to have a happy disposition, to be in good spirits E.g. He doesn't sleep much, but he's a cheerful baby!
- bright, gladdening E.g. This is a cheerful room.
- when you clink glasses to honour or celebrate something E.g.
Word of the Week 11 November - 17 November
- fixed in direction and intensity, especially of a person's look or gaze E.g. His steadfast gaze on the audience showed his belief in what he was saying.
- determined and loyal, especially in support E.g. She has a steadfast devotion to teaching.
Word of the Week 04 November - 10 November
As this week is November 5th and people celebrate Guy Fawkes Night (see HERE for info) in England, the Word of the Week is PLOT, in all its forms. Enjoy the fireworks!
- a secret plan with a specific purpose, usually illegal. E.g. The plot to burn down Parliament was uncovered by police before any damage was done.
- the story or plan of a play, novel
- to conspire to do something, to plan secretly E.g. What are you plotting for Mum's birthday?
- to plan or make a map of something E.g. We have plotted our holiday route through Europe.
- to stop being rational about something E.g My boss lost the plot when he suggested we all work for free next month.
- a situation becomes more complicated and difficult E.g. Joan married Colin last year, but I've only ever seen her out with Gregory. The plot thickens.
Word of the Week 21 October - 27 October
This week Orange Bird has three phrasal verbs for you with the verb TAKE. Remember, a phrasal verb is a verb with one (or more) preposition(s) and together they have a different meaning from the original verb when it is alone.
Take off (phrasal verb):
- remove E.g. Please take off your coat and sit down.
- go into the air E.g. The plane took off at half past three.
- make great progress E.g. The advertising campaign really took off when a celebrity endorsed it.
- to start a new hobby or activity E.g. I took up playing the piano when I was ten.
- to make clothes or curtains shorter E.g. I need to take up these trousers.
- to assume responsibility/control for a company or organisation E.g. When they took over the company it wasn't making any money, but they have made a success of it.
- to start a job or position that was previously occupied by someone else E.g. I took over as Head of Marketing from Janice last year.
Word of the Week 14 October - 20 October
- lively, self-reliant, courageous, resilient, with lots of spirit. E.g. He's such a feisty player, he never gives up.
Word of the Week 07 October - 13 October
This Word of the Week is inspired by a class on the history of the carnival with one of my students this week.
- to rest on the surface of a liquid, in a liquid or space without sinking; the be buoyant E.g. I love to float in the sea and watch the clouds.
- to drift; to cause to move lightly, buoyantly or freely on a liquid or through air or space E.g. We took a boat to the middle of the lake and just floated while we ate our picnic.
- to move about without an objective, to move aimlessly, especially in the mind E.g. Pictures of his face floated across her mind as she tried to remember the last time she saw him.
- something that floats, often used to help people and things stay buoyant in the water
- a decorated vehicle used in parades and carnivals, often motorised and used as a stage for dancers to perform
Word of the Week 30 September - 06 October
- to lower and raise your head, usually in order to express agreement or invitation E.g. When asked if he wanted to begin, he nodded.
- to bring or direct by nodding E.g. She nodded towards the door and I left.
- to indicate or express by nodding E.g. She nodded her approval as he gave his speech.
- to fall asleep E.g. I always nod off on the train home from work.
- an imaginary place of sleep E.g. When we got home the children were happily in the land of nod.
Word of the Week 23 September - 29 September
- to annoy, to irritate, to give trouble or pain E.g. His mosquito bites still bothered him.
- to trouble someone repeatedly E.g. Her boss bothered her all day about the accounts.
- to concern oneself with something E.g. You don't have to bother to come with me to the doctor.
- a state of worry or irritation E.g. Our finances are a constant bother.
- a person or thing which causes trouble or annoyance E.g. The director is a bother to everyone in the office.
- annoyed, troubled E.g. I'm bothered by terrible dreams I keep having.
- worried, concerned E.g. Of course I'm bothered about your problems.
- in the expression can't be bothered: don't have the desire or energy to do something E.g. I can't be bothered to cook, let's order a take-away.
- to be in trouble, difficulties E.g. My dad was in a spot of bother with the police after crashing his car.
Word of the Week 16 September - 22 September
Once again, Orange Bird is back after a hiatus, while I moved house (again!) Not sure what a hiatus is? See below after this week's Word of the Week, chosen because it came up in a recent class. We liked the word!
- tall and thin, with long, thin limbs (arms and legs) E.g. We don't look like brothers. He is lanky and I am short and fat.
- an interruption or break in continuity. E.g. We took a hiatus from from painting the outside of the house because it was raining.
Word of the Week 12 August - 18 August
- to lose energy or strength E.g. His race was over, he languished at the back.
- to be deprived, to suffer hardship or neglect E.g. The protesters languished in prison for many years before they were freed.
- to desire without energy or enthusiasm E.g. He languished for the easy days of his childhood.
Word of the Week 05 August - 11 August
- Even though E.g. His presentation was very good, albeit too technical. I think he'll still get the contract.
Word of the Week 29 July - 04 August
This week we have an A, B and C - all adjectives.
- Wealthy, rich, with a lot of money E.g. They live an affluent lifestyle.
- Abundant, copious, lots of something E.g. London is affluent when it comes to great designers.
- Without sharpness, dull (related to a knife or blade) E.g. My pencil is blunt, do you have a sharpener?
- Direct, straightforward, uncomplicated (related to a person or what they say) E.g. If you want to know the truth, ask Lucy - she's blunt.
- Obvious, clearly visible, on show E.g. When we turned on the video to record the interview I felt very conspicuous and became more nervous.
Word of the Week 22 July - 28 July
This week, as the world awaits a new life and the birth of the royal baby, here are some phrases with the word 'life'.
Not on your life! (idiomatic expression):
- Certainly not! E.g. Not on your life will I ask her to go out with me!
- A person who is the main source of fun and joy; someone very lively E.g. You have to invite Pete to the party, he's always the life and soul!
- Makes life worth living E.g. Travelling really is the spice of life.
- Have new energy and enthusiasm for something E.g. Buying a dog gave him a new lease of life in his retirement.
Word of the Week 15 July - 21 July
Do you always use the word 'go'? Here are some you could use instead and their meanings.
Meaning to depart: Leave, Depart (verbs) E.g. Let's leave now. The train departed at 9 o'clock.
Meaning to function: Work, Operate, Function, Perform, Run (verbs) E.g. The machine doesn't perform well in the heat. The car runs with unleaded petrol.
Meaning to proceed: Proceed, Continue, Progress, Travel, Move, Advance (verbs) E.g. Negotiations are progressing slowly. We are moving towards the mountains tomorrow.
Word of the Week 01 July - 07 July
Orange Bird English is moving to Luxembourg next week, so this week's Word of the Week has some phrases with the word 'move'.
Move mountains (idiomatic expression):
- to make a huge effort and do anything to achieve/complete something. E.g. I will move mountains to get home in time for your party.
- to change the standards required to do something making it more difficult E.g. Last year you could enter the course with a pass, but they've moved the goalposts this year.
- to suddenly change pace/speed to go faster and perform better, especially used in sport E.g. Brazil have moved up a gear in the second half and it shows in the scoreline.
Word of the Week 03 June - 09 June
This is Orange Bird's last Word of the Week for June as I'm going on a trip. But what does the verb trip mean? See below.
Trip (verb and phrasal verb):
- to fall or stumble or cause to fall, often used with the prepositions on, over or up E.g. I didn't see the box so I tripped over it.
- to make a mistake or cause to make a mistake, often used with the preposition up E.g. I tripped up on the last question of the exam because I didn't read it properly.
- to experience the effects of an hallucinogenic drug such as LSD E.g. I am tripping right now!
- to go on a journey or tour E.g We tripped around the Greek Isles.
Word of the Week 20 May - 26 May
There's not a Word of the Week this week - there are lots. It's actually something I wrote which got published yesterday in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. I entered a travel writing competition and won! We had to write travel tips for the Greeks Islands. You can read my winning entry here:
Word of the Week 13 May - 19 May
Get away (phrasal verb):
- to go on a trip, holiday or short break E.g. I love to get away to the beach and relax.
- to escape E.g. The thieves used a stolen car to get away from the police.
- to move, leave a place E.g. I'd love to come for dinner, but I can't get away from the office.
Word of the Week 06 May - 12 May
- to move about restlessly, impatiently E.g. Billy fidgeted throughout the film, driving his girlfriend crazy!
- to play with something, touching and moving it without need to, often used with the preposition with E.g. Stop fidgeting with your hair, it looks perfect!
- to describe a person who is fidgeting E.g. You're very fidgety today, are you nervous?
- a person who fidgets E.g My baby is such a fidget, he's hard to feed.
- the state of unease or restlessness, as caused by constant movement, often used in the plural E.g. She has the fidgets.
Word of the Week 29 April - 05 May
SPRING has finally arrived in the UK! So here's some help with this word, which means many things as a verb. I've chosen five meanings.
- to move or cause to move in a sudden motion upwards or forwards E.g. The cork sprang out of the bottle.
- to appear suddenly E.g. The deer sprang into the road from nowhere.
- to leap or jump, often used with preposition over E.g. The athlete sprang over the hurdles with ease.
- to originate or develop, used with the preposition from E.g. The idea sprang from a song I heard.
- to come up, arise suddenly with little notice E.g. We sprang the presentation on him and he worked hard to get it ready in time.
Word of the Week 15 April - 21 April
For those chefs and cooks out there, here are some verbs from the kitchen!
- to cook in oil, usually on top of the cooker E.g. We fried our eggs and ate them on toast.
- to cook in a dry heat, usually with added fat, in an oven: mostly refers to meat cooked this way E.g. Roast the beef for two hours on gas mark seven.
- to cook in an oven: mostly refers to bread, cakes, biscuits, pastries cooked this way E.g. My grandma bakes the most delicious chocolate cakes.
- to cook something in hot water, on top of the cooker E.g. Put the peas into boiling water and boil for four minutes.
- to remove the skin of food E.g. Peel the potatoes and carrots before adding them to the dish.
- to cut with a knife E.g. Chop the onions and add them to the meat.
Word of the Week 04 March - 10 March
- To be extremely disappointed, upset (informal) E.g. I am so gutted Arsenal lost to Tottenham!
Word of the Week 11 February - 17 February 2013
- To praise someone or something insincerely in order to win reward. E.g. Don't flatter me, Edward, I won't change my mind about your exam grade.
- To show to an advantage E.g. That dress really flatters her figure.
- The act of flattering someone or something
- Excessive or insincere praise
- Someone who flatters
Word of the Week 04 February - 10 February 2013
Start (verb): This week, Orange Bird gives you some new ways of saying the verb start, including some phrasal verbs with examples.
- Start off E.g. We started off with eleven men on the team until one left.
- Kick off E.g. They kicked off the wedding party with the song 'Strangers in the Night'.
- Set off E.g. Julia set off on her holiday last Tuesday.
- Get going E.g. The project got going a month ago.
- Get under way E.g. When will the Olympic Games get under way?
- Fire up E.g. To fire up the machine, you must press this button.
- Switch on E.g. OK class, switch on your brains and let's do this maths exercise.
Word of the Week 28 January - 03 February 2013
- To initiate/start a topic for discussion E.g. He had to broach the subject of his pay rise carefully.
- To pierce or tap a container or draw off/cause liquid to flow E.g. She broached the wine quickly.
Word of the Week 14 January - 20 January 2013
Out of this world (idiomatic expression):
- Fantastic, completely amazing E.g. Our holiday was out of this world.
Word of the Week 26 November - 02 December 2012
- Lasting for a very short time, transient E.g. In the fleeting time we had together, we lived a lifetime.
Word of the Week 12 November - 18 November 2012
Get on (phrasal verb):
- To have a good relationship, often with the preposition with E.g. My husband gets on well with my parents.
- To continue doing something E.g. The teacher asked us to get on with our essays.
- To enter a plane, bus, train, motorbike, bicycle E.g. To get to work I get on the train at Cambridge and go to London.
- To make progress E.g. We are getting on really well decorating the house.
- To get older E.g. My grandpa is getting on so I do his shopping for him.
- To wear, to fit E.g. After putting on weight on holiday I couldn't get my jeans on.
- To become late E.g. I better go home. It's getting on and I don't want to miss the last bus.
- To have an excellent and enjoyable relationship with someone. E.g. My boss and my husband get on like a house on fire.
Word of the Week 05 November - 11 November 2012
- A homeless person who lives by begging or doing casual work
- A long walk/hike
- A promiscuous woman who often dresses in a provocative way (informal)
- The sound of heavy steps when walking
- To walk wearily/tiredly over a long distance E.g. It felt like we tramped around the shops for hours
- To walk with heavy, and sometimes loud, foot steps
Word of the Week 29 October - 04 November 2012
- To make difficult for someone to do something or for something to happen; to keep something/someone from progress E.g. The bad weather hindered our chances of fixing the roof of the house.
- Something that hinders E.g. Our boss has been a hindrance to getting that project started.
The origin of the word hinder comes from Old English word hindrian which meant 'to damage'. This had Germanic roots related to the meaning 'to behind'.
Word of the Week 22 October - 28 October 2012
- To become expert or extremely skilled at something E.g. He mastered the piano at an early age
- To take control of something, to overcome E.g. He mastered the boat during the terrible storm
- (Mainly historical) A man who has many people working for him, person in charge of servants or slaves E.g. A master of the house
- A skilled practitioner of something, especially art; a high level player of chess
- An original recording, document or film from which copies can be made
- A person who holds a second or further degree, usually used in titles E.g. She has a master's degree in biology
- Main or principal E.g. We sleep in the master bedroom
- Having or showing great skill at something E.g. He is a master craftsman
Word of the week 15 October - 21 October 2012
This week, we've got three typically British words/phrases for you to learn.
- Very tired E.g. I was so knackered when I got home from work, I went to bed.
- Old and not working properly E.g. My car's knackered, I'm going to have to get a new one.
- A man E.g. Tom is such a nice bloke, I can see why Rachel likes him.
To go down a treat (idiomatic expression):
- To be a great success which is enjoyed by everyone E.g. His presentation went down a treat with his boss.
Word of the week 08 October - 14 October 2012
It's time for some English weather words! So, instead of describing the weather as 'hot/warm' or 'cold', here are some other options:
- freezing (very cold)
- wintry (like winter)
- arctic (very cold)
- icy (very cold)
- parky (more informal)
- muggy (when the air is hot and heavy)
- close (when the air is hot and heavy)
Word of the week 01 October - 07 October 2012
- A continuous pain in the head
- A cause of worry or trouble (informal) E.g. Meetings with my boss are such a headache!
- Head in the clouds: If someone has their head in the clouds they have unrealistic and impractical ideas, fantasising
- Over your head: If something is over your head it is difficult for you to understand
- Keep your head: If you keep your head, you remain calm in times of difficulty
- Go to your head: If something goes to your head, you become vain. E.g. Winning that award has gone to his head. If alcohol goes to your head, you become drunk very quickly
Word of the week 24 September - 30 September 2012
- Imperfection, mark, blemish E.g. A flaw in the crystal caused it to break
- A weakness, a fault E.g. His flaw was being too proud to say sorry
- A short storm
- Flawless (adjective): To describe something which is perfect E.g. A flawless performance
- Flawed (adjective): To describe something which is imperfect E.g. A flawed plan
- Flawlessly (adverb): To describe doing something perfectly E.g. She presented flawlessly
Word of the week 17 September - 23 September 2012
Break down (phrasal verb):
- Start crying E.g. He broke down when his girlfriend ended their relationship
- End negotiations unsuccessfully E.g. Peace talks between the countries broke down after two days
- Stop working E.g. My car broke down miles from any garage
- Remove a barrier or obstacle E.g. As the only woman in the company, she had to break down opposition to many of her ideas
Word of the week 10 September - 16 September 2012
- Something which you question, have doubts about; hesitating or doubtful E.g. I am dubious about going
- Of questionable value or truth E.g. A dubious claim for money
- Unreliable, suspicious E.g. A dubious company
- Of a doubtful result
Word of the week 03 September - 09 September 20
- A thing given to someone, a present
- A natural ability or talent. E.g. He has a gift for languages
- The act or instance of giving
- To give gifts, award gifts
- Exceptionally talented or intelligent
Phrases with gift:
- To look a gift horse in the mouth: to find faults/problems with what has been given
- Gift of the gab: to have the ability to speak in a persuasive and interesting way