Delusions of grandeur: talking about people with a high opinion of themselves

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by Liz Walter

My last post talked about words for describing levels of confidence.  This post looks specifically at some of the colourful derogatory phrases to describe people who are over-confident or have a very high opinion of themselves. Continue reading “Delusions of grandeur: talking about people with a high opinion of themselves”

Pained and sheepish: Facial expressions, part 2

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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”

New words – 16 August 2021

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heat day noun [C]
/ˈhiːt.deɪ/
a day when children do not have to go to school, and sometimes adults do not have to go to work, because the weather is too hot

But “heat days” might soon become just as regular an occurrence. With extreme temperatures blanketing towns in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York this week, schools in dozens of districts across the region where air conditioning is not always the norm closed early or canceled after-school activities.
[grist.com, 14 June 2021]

climate repair noun [U]
UK /klaɪ.mət.rɪˌpeəʳ/ US /ˈklaɪ.mət.rɪˌper/
the act of reversing the effects of climate change

The dangers of climate change are well established but action has been mired in economic and political arguments but, given its effects are diverse and global, there is no longer time to wait for action. Sir David King, the former U.K. chief scientific adviser, and current leader of Independent Sage, has launched an international advisory group of leading climate experts with a program to mitigate the consequences of climate change through emissions reduction, greenhouse gas removal, and climate repair.
[forbes.com, 24 June 2021]

eco score noun [C]
UK /ˈiː.kəʊ.skɔːʳ/ US /ˈiː.koʊ.skɔːr/
information given on the packaging of food products, usually in the form of a letter and a number, that shows the impact the food has had on the environment

A pilot run in the autumn will see a range of food and drink carrying front-of-packaging “eco scores” for the first time, ranking the environmental impact of each item and allowing customers to easily assess whether they are buying goods that have a low-carbon footprint from suppliers focused on sustainability.
[theguardian.com, 27 June 2021]

About new words

Poised, humble, or cocky? Describing levels of confidence.

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by Liz Walter

Self-confidence, the belief that you can do things well and that other people respect you, is an important feature of a happy and successful life. However, it is noticeable that most of us dislike arrogant people (people who have too much self-confidence) and much prefer modest behaviour, when people don’t boast about their own achievements or abilities. Continue reading “Poised, humble, or cocky? Describing levels of confidence.”

Puzzled or pitying? Words for facial expressions, part 1

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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”

Worth its weight in gold: phrases with ‘gold’

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by Liz Walter

Of all the elements in the periodic table, gold is the one that humans seem to love the most for its colour, its rarity and its physical properties (it is ideal for making coins). It’s not surprising, therefore that gold is a common metaphor for people or things of high quality. Today we will look at some phrases associated with this idea. Continue reading “Worth its weight in gold: phrases with ‘gold’”

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

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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)”

The icing/frosting on the cake: differences between British and American idioms

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by Liz Walter

Differences between US and UK English are particularly pronounced in informal and idiomatic language. There are lots of idioms that are used in one variety but not the other, for example go pear-shaped (to fail or go wrong) is used in British but not American English and strike pay dirt (discover something valuable) is American but not British. Continue reading “The icing/frosting on the cake: differences between British and American idioms”

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

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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)”

He’s digging his heels in: words and phrases to describe stubborn behaviour

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by Liz Walter

We all know how frustrating it is when someone completely refuses to do something we want them to do or to accept an opinion we are sure is correct. It turns out that English is surprisingly rich in words and phrases to describe this sort of person or behaviour! Continue reading “He’s digging his heels in: words and phrases to describe stubborn behaviour”