Anger solves nothing, or so they say. Whether or not this is true, we all feel angry now and then. You probably already know the angry synonyms annoyed and irritated, but perhaps you’d like a more interesting range of expressions to describe this feeling? If so, read on! Continue reading “It makes my blood boil! (The language of anger)”
We tell each other things all the time, whether it’s our news, some important information or just interesting facts. This week we’re focusing on the language that we use to describe giving information.
Starting with a really useful phrasal verb, if you pass on a message or a piece of news that someone has told you, you tell it to someone else:
Remember to pass on my message to Ted.
No one passed the news on to me.
The verb relay means the same: He heard the announcement and immediately relayed the news to his colleagues.
I hope you’re not spreading gossip, Alice!
He’d apparently been spreading rumours about her around the school.
‘Spread’ is also used intransitively to describe the way that information quickly becomes known by lots of people: So why does fake news spread so quickly?
The verb circulate is also used in this way: News of her retirement quickly circulated around the office.
Another verb meaning ‘to tell information to a lot of people’ is broadcast. People use it especially about information that they would prefer to be private: I’d rather my news wasn’t broadcast to the entire office!
The more formal verb disseminate is also used, but without the negative meaning: One of the organization’s aims is to disseminate information about the disease.
He wouldn’t reveal what was written in the letter.
When asked, she refused to divulge her salary.
They made an agreement not to disclose any details.
An informal phrasal verb with this meaning is let on. If you let on, you tell others about something secret: Please don’t let on that I told you she’s leaving!
Another phrasal verb is blurt out. If you blurt out a secret fact, you say it suddenly and without thinking, usually because you’re nervous or excited: I was supposed to be keeping it secret and then I just blurted it out!
I wasn’t going to tell anyone about my plans but Anita let the cat out of the bag.
So who spilled the beans about Daniel’s promotion?
Be careful what you divulge this week!
Much of what we do each day is planned or expected but not everything. Sometimes, for whatever reason, we suddenly do things that we are not expecting to do or have not prepared for. This week, we’re looking at the language that we use to express this.
Let’s start with a very useful adjective: spontaneous. A spontaneous action is sudden and done as a natural response to what is happening at the time: The silence was broken by spontaneous applause. / When she got up to leave, everyone applauded spontaneously. The noun from ‘spontaneous’ is spontaneity: We all need a little spontaneity in our lives.
This week we’re all about ages and stages as we look at words and phrases that refer either to people of a particular age or to people at a particular stage in their life. Some of these words and phrases have additional meanings and connotations.
Even the most positive among us now and then say that we think something is bad. Very often we do it for the right reasons, hoping for improvement or even suggesting ways in which something can be improved. Sometimes, we do it because we are angry, upset or jealous. This week we’re looking at the words and idioms in this area, as ever, focusing on current, useful language.
The idioms and phrases in this post come from a range of national newspapers that were published on the same day. We write a post on newspaper idioms every couple of months with the aim of keeping you supplied with up-to-date, frequently used English idioms.
by Liz Walter
Back in March, I wrote a post about phrases containing the word ‘time’: https://dictionaryblog.cambridge.org/2018/03/07/having-the-time-of-your-life-phrases-with-time/. Today, I’m going to look at another set of phrases connected with time, all of which contain the word ‘day’.
Getting used to things is a part of life. We all deal with situations, tasks or tools that are new to us. At first, they may seem difficult or strange. With time or practice, they become familiar and normal. In this blog, we look at the language for expressing this idea.
Starting with single words, if you familiarize yourself with something that you don’t know about, you intentionally learn about it, usually to prepare for something: I need to familiarize myself with the new software. If you acclimatize, you become familiar with different weather or surroundings so that you are able to deal with them: More time will be needed for the troops to acclimatize to the desert conditions.
by Liz Walter
Last month I wrote about ways of talking about people or animals that are young. This post looks at a related set: words for things that are new or modern.
Firstly, if we want to emphasize that something is very new, we say it is brand new: She bought herself a brand new sports car. This phrase means that something has just been made, but the thing itself does not necessarily have to be modern.
by Liz Walter
Over the last couple of months I’ve written about words and phrases for being old or old-fashioned, so now it’s time to look at the opposite. I’ll start with expressions connected with being young.
We often describe very young children as small or little: There were lots of little children at the show. A small child sat alone in the corner. However, to talk about someone’s younger brother or sister, you always need to use little, not ‘small’: That’s Brad’s little sister.