Shrinking violets and tall poppies (Idioms with nature words, part 1)

Ana Maria Serrano/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Like many people, I spent a good deal of 2020 out in nature, walking my dog along the local stream and through the woods. Surrounded by trees, hedges, and flowers, I started to think about all the nature idioms and phrases that we use. This week, we’re looking specifically at flower-related idioms. (By the way, if anyone wants to identify the flowers in these idioms, there are pretty photos at most of our dictionary entries for them.) Continue reading “Shrinking violets and tall poppies (Idioms with nature words, part 1)”

Getting lost in books: the language of reading

MesquitaFMS/E+/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

I was lucky enough to be on holiday last week and spent a portion of it with my nose in a book (=reading). It made me think about all the nice reading-related language that we use, and I thought I’d share it with you in today’s blog post. Continue reading “Getting lost in books: the language of reading”

Pained and sheepish: Facial expressions, part 2

sturti/E+/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

This is the second post of our two-parter on words that are used to describe facial expressions. In the first post, we looked at adjectives for expressions showing interest and surprise. This week, we look at words for sad and anxious expressions, among others. Continue reading “Pained and sheepish: Facial expressions, part 2”

Puzzled or pitying? Words for facial expressions, part 1

PeopleImages/E+/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Have you ever given anyone a withering look (= a disapproving look intended to make them feel ashamed)? Of course you haven’t – you’re far too kind! But you may have shot someone a curious (= showing interest) look when they told you something you didn’t know. By now, you’ve probably guessed that this week’s post is about facial expressions. There are lots of useful adjectives for describing these so this post will be in two parts. Note that many of these adjectives are also used with –ly as adverbs. Continue reading “Puzzled or pitying? Words for facial expressions, part 1”

Flying in the face of common sense (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 2)

Matelly/Cultura/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

This is the second of our two-parter on useful idioms and phrases that include the word ‘face’. Part one looked mainly at phrases for describing expressions on the face. This post doesn’t have a particular theme but instead looks at a variety of ‘face’ phrases used in contemporary English. Continue reading “Flying in the face of common sense (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 2)”

Cluttered and homely (Words to describe buildings and homes, Part 2)

Justin Lambert/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In part 1 of our ‘describing buildings’ post, we focused mainly on adjectives to describe the size of buildings. This week, we’re looking inside the building and, amongst other things, considering words that are used to describe its décor (= style of its furniture and decoration). We’re also focusing on the state of the building. Continue reading “Cluttered and homely (Words to describe buildings and homes, Part 2)”

On the face of it (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 1)

IAN HOOTON/SPL/Science Photo Library/Getty Images Plus

by Kate Woodford

It’s recently come to my attention that there’s a huge number of English phrases and idioms containing the word ‘face’. There are so many that this is the first of two posts, as ever focusing on the most frequent and useful. I hope you enjoy it! Continue reading “On the face of it (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 1)”

Palatial or cramped? (Words to describe buildings and rooms, part 1)

Vostok/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

This week we’re looking at the words we use to describe buildings and rooms. Since there are lots of useful words, the post will be in two parts. Continue reading “Palatial or cramped? (Words to describe buildings and rooms, part 1)”

In high spirits or down in the dumps? (The language of moods)

jayk7/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

How would you describe your mood day? Are you feeling pretty chilled (= relaxed and not worried about anything)? Perhaps you’re slightly on edge (= anxious about something and not able to relax)? Our moods change all the time, sometimes for no obvious reason. With this post, I aim to provide you with some nice adjectives and phrases for describing the way we feel. Continue reading “In high spirits or down in the dumps? (The language of moods)”

Hitting the ground running (Idioms and phrases in newspapers)

 

Dave & Les Jacobs/DigitalVision/Getty Images Plus/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

The idioms and phrases in today’s post come from a range of national newspapers that were published on the same day. We write a post like this every couple of months in order to provide you with a regular supply of contemporary, frequently used English idioms. Continue reading “Hitting the ground running (Idioms and phrases in newspapers)”