a man wearing a tuxedo and holding a trophy, with stage lights in background

Triumphs and success stories (The language of success, Part 1)

a man wearing a tuxedo and holding a trophy, with stage lights in background
Hill Street Studios/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

We like positive posts on the About words blog, so this week we’re looking at language connected with success. As there are so many useful words and phrases in this area this post, focusing mainly on nouns, is the first of three. As ever, we’ll look at the most frequent and useful words and phrases. Continue reading “Triumphs and success stories (The language of success, Part 1)”

Close-up of the words 'The End' typed on an old-fashioned typewriter

Conclusions and last hurrahs (Words and phrases meaning ‘end’)

Close-up of the words 'The End' typed on an old-fashioned typewriter
Nora Carol Photography/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In a recent post, we focused on different ways of talking about the start of things. We looked at phrases such as ‘from the get-go’ and considered more formal words for ‘start’ such as ‘genesis’ and ‘advent’. As the saying goes, ‘all good things must come to an end’ and this week, we’re looking at the opposite – words and phrases for the end of things. Continue reading “Conclusions and last hurrahs (Words and phrases meaning ‘end’)”

finger pressing a button labelled 'start'

Outsets and onsets! (Words meaning ‘start’)

finger pressing a button labelled 'start'
sarayt Thaneerat/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

One of several things that we like to do on this blog is look at the many different ways that we express the same thing in English. This week we’re focusing on nouns and phrases that we use to refer to the start of things. Continue reading “Outsets and onsets! (Words meaning ‘start’)”

The canopy of a banyan tree seen from below, with the sun shining through the leaves.

Root and branch (Idioms with nature words, Part 3)

The canopy of a banyan tree seen from below, with the sun shining through the leaves.
Matt Anderson Photography/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Today, in the third and final post of our nature idioms series, we look at idioms that feature the words tree, bush and hedge and also words for parts of these things, such as root and branch. Continue reading “Root and branch (Idioms with nature words, Part 3)”

girl reading a book lying on the grass

Gratitude and me-time (words around staying positive)

Close Up Of Handwritten Gratitude Text With Notebook, Pen, Cup Of Tea, Flowers And Oil Burner
Natalie Board/EyeEm/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Today we’re looking at language around being positive and relaxed, and the things we do in order to stay that way. Continue reading “Gratitude and me-time (words around staying positive)”

Green shoots and fertile ground (Idioms with nature words, part 2)

sarayut Thaneerat/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Part 1 of this ‘nature idioms’ post looked at flower idioms. Today, we’re lowering our gaze to the ground and looking at idioms that feature mud and grass. We’ll start, appropriately enough, with phrases that include the word ‘seed’, (= the tiny thing from which a plant grows). Continue reading “Green shoots and fertile ground (Idioms with nature words, part 2)”

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)”

girl reading a book lying on the grass

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”