A foil wrapped heart on a pink background with lots of hearts.

A heart of gold or a heart of stone? (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 1)

A foil wrapped heart on a pink background with lots of hearts.
Jennifer A Smith/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

The word ‘heart’ is used a tremendous lot in English. As you might imagine, it’s often used to say things about love and emotions, but it has other less predictable meanings too. In this three-part post, I’ll look at the way we use this word, focusing on its various senses and a range of ‘heart’ idioms and phrases. As ever, I’ll present language that is current and useful. Continue reading “A heart of gold or a heart of stone? (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 1)”

a trowel used to dig up gold coins from a hole in the ground

Digging up and getting wind of information (Finding information words and phrases)

a trowel used to dig up gold coins from a hole in the ground
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by Kate Woodford

I recently published a post on this blog about the language of looking for information (Probing and digging around). This related post looks at words and phrases that we use to talk about finding and getting information. Continue reading “Digging up and getting wind of information (Finding information words and phrases)”

a black dog digging a hole on a sandy beach

Probing and digging around (Searching for information)

a black dog digging a hole on a sandy beach
STasker/DigitalVision/GetttyImages

by Kate Woodford

I recently heard someone say that they had left no stone unturned in their search for information, meaning that they had done everything they possibly could to find it. I started thinking about the concept of trying to find out facts and the various words and phrases that we use to convey it. This post is the result of these musings. Continue reading “Probing and digging around (Searching for information)”

A little boy having fun swinging on a whale toy at the playground

A whale of a time: talking about enjoying yourself

A little boy having fun swinging on a whale toy at the playground
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by Liz Walter

I thought it would be nice to talk about something cheerful today, so this post is about having fun! Continue reading “A whale of a time: talking about enjoying yourself”

A woman in profile exhaling. The vapour of her breath is visible in the cold air.

Inhaling, gasping and panting: words to describe breathing

A woman in profile exhaling. The vapour of her breath is visible in the cold air.
olaser/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

Today’s post is about language around the activity of breathing – something we usually do without thinking about it unless we have a medical problem or are deliberately doing breathing exercises, for example during yoga practice. Continue reading “Inhaling, gasping and panting: words to describe breathing”

a white sheep bleating as it looks at the camera

Grunting, lowing and bleating (Animal sounds, Part B)

a white sheep bleating as it looks at the camera
Marcel ter Bekke/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In Part A of this blog (Howling, mewing and snorting), we looked at words for the various sounds made by dogs, cats and horses. This week we’re widening our scope and considering words for the sounds made by farm animals and wild animals. Continue reading “Grunting, lowing and bleating (Animal sounds, Part B)”

close-up of a determined young man in a racing helmet

A class act and nerves of steel: talking about people you like and admire (2)

close-up of a determined young man in a racing helmet
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by Liz Walter

My last post looked at some general qualities of people we like, such as being pleasant and kind. Today’s post is about some more specific admirable qualities. Continue reading “A class act and nerves of steel: talking about people you like and admire (2)”

a Bernese Mountain Dog barking

Howling, mewing and snorting (Animal sounds, Part A)

a Bernese Mountain Dog barking
Jill Lehmann Photography/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

A reader of this blog recently requested a post on animal sounds. When I looked into the subject, I was struck by the huge range of very specific words in the English language for the various noises that animals and birds make. Accordingly, this is a post in two parts, A and B. Here, in Part A, we start by considering words for the different noises that dogs make. Continue reading “Howling, mewing and snorting (Animal sounds, Part A)”

two older men laughing together in a park

Laid-back, likeable and jovial : talking about people you like and admire (1)

two older men laughing together in a park
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by Liz Walter

After three posts on criticizing people’s character flaws, it’s definitely time to balance that with some vocabulary for praising those we admire! Continue reading “Laid-back, likeable and jovial : talking about people you like and admire (1)”

portrait of an old man frowning angrily

Prickly, abrasive and churlish: talking about people you don’t like (3)

portrait of an old man frowning angrily
John Rensten/The Image Bank/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

This is the final post in a short series about words for people we don’t like. This post will concentrate on describing people who are bad-tempered, rude, or cruel. Continue reading “Prickly, abrasive and churlish: talking about people you don’t like (3)”