If there is a new word or phrase you have learnt which you would like to see on Orange Bird's Word of the Week, please email suggestions to: laura@orangebirdenglish.co.uk

Did you see our latest blog? You can read it HERE!

Word of the Week 11 August - 17 August

Shrewd (adjective): 

  • clever, intelligent, sharp in practical matters and situations E.g. He's a shrewd politician. 
  • something which is piercing, penetrating E.g. She gave him a shrewd look. 

Word of the Week 14 July - 20 July

After another absence for trips and wandering and visiting friends, I am back with a simple adjective this week which you will find in many English nursery rhyme books. Take a look... 

Nimble (adjective):

  • quick, flexible and light in movement; agile E.g. He's so good at hurdles because he's so nimble.
  • quick to understand, plan, think of things E.g. She is a great asset to the team as she has a nimble mind. 

Word of the Week 16 June - 22 June

After a wonderful week in Greece this week's Word of the Week is a phrase inspired by our Greek friends!

It's all Greek to me (idiomatic expression):

  • an expression for when something is totally incomprehensible to you; you don't understand anything at all about something E.g. I read the contract, but I know nothing about law - it's all Greek to me! 

Word of the Week 02 June - 08 June

Last weekend I supported my husband in the marathon here in Luxembourg, so this week's Word of the Week is inspired by all the runners who completed this event!

Endure (verb):

  • to go through hardship/difficult/strain/deprivation and sustain it E.g. Too many people around the world endure poverty their whole lives.
  • to last or continue to exist E.g. This book has endured because its themes are still relevant today.
  • to tolerate or permit E.g. I had to endure a terrible business dinner with new clients last night. 
Endurance (noun):
  • the state of enduring E.g. The endurance showed by the marathon runners was amazing. 

Word of the Week 26 May - 01 June

Last week, I was visiting family in the UK and especially getting time to spend with my 6-month old nephew, who is adorable! So, this week, here are some words related to babies and children.

Cry (verb):

  • to make sounds which are incomprehensible, with tears coming from your eyes E.g. Babies cry when they are hungry. 
Crawl (verb):
  • to move along the floor on your hands and knees E.g. My baby started crawling when she was seven months old. 
Feed (verb):
  • to give food/nutrition to someone or something E.g. I fed my son every three hours when he was born. 
  • Breastfeed is to give milk to a baby from the breast.
Nappy (UK)/Diaper (USA) (noun):
  • the special, soft and very absorbent material a baby wears to collect its wee/poo E.g. Is it your turn to change the nappy? 
Cot (noun): 
  • a baby's bed, a bit like a box and usually with bars E.g. Our son sleeps like a baby in his cot!
To sleep like a baby (idiomatic expression):
  • to sleep very deeply, to have a great sleep E.g. After a day in the fresh air I always sleep like a baby!

Word of the Week 12 May - 18 May

This week, I give you some expressions with the verb 'lost'. Enjoy!

Lost for words (idiomatic expression):

  • when you have nothing to say, or cannot think of anything to say, usually due to shock, surprise, or your emotions; speechless E.g. I was lost for words when the president resigned on television without telling his staff first.
Lost cause (idiomatic expression):
  • hopeless; someone or something which has no chance of success E.g. I do not understand why he is running for president, he's a lost cause and no one will vote for him. 
No love lost (idiomatic expression):
  • when tow parties/people/countries/groups openly show their hatred and animosity of one another E.g. There was obviously no love lost between the candidates in this year's presidential election. 

Word of the Week 05 May - 11 May

Stale (adjective):

  • especially related to food: hard, dry tasteless from being kept too long E.g. Don't eat that bread, it's stale, feed it to the ducks!
  • related to air: stagnant, foul, not fresh E.g. Open the windows, it's so stale in here!
  • no longer new or interesting E.g. We all know about that, it's stale news.
  • without energy or enthusiasm from a lack of variety or overwork E.g. All our campaigns are stale, we need to inject some new ideas. 

Word of the Week 28 April - 04 May

Hamper (verb): 

  • to prevent the progress of, or free movement of something E.g. The financial director is hampering our plans to employ another accountant by not approving the job description. 

Word of the Week 14 April - 20 April

Orange Bird is off on holiday next week for the Easter holidays, so this week I've got some idioms with the word EGG for you to learn. Happy Easter!

A good egg/bad egg (idiomatic expression):

  • a good egg is someone who can be relied on, is dependable; a bad egg is someone who cannot be trusted
To walk on eggshells (idiomatic expression):
  • to be very careful when dealing with someone because they can get angry/offended/upset very easily E.g. We have been walking on eggshells around Julie ever since she got divorced. 
To put all your eggs in one basket (idiomatic expression):
  • to risk everything on one single opportunity which could go wrong E.g. Putting all your money into that investment is like putting all your eggs in one basket. 

Word of the Week 07 April - 13 April

Camp (adjective - INFORMAL):

  • effeminate, affected in dress, mannerisms E.g. He had to act like a camp man in the play, which was difficult for him.
  • Consciously artificial, exaggerated or vulgar; can be self parodying E.g. Mama Mia! is a camp film and lots of fun. 

Word of the Week 31 March - 06 April

Neither (conjunction):

  • not (usually used with nor) E.g. I like neither Italian food nor Chinese food. E.g. Neither Angela nor Graham came to the party.
  • not one nor the other (of two) E.g. Have you read Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet? No, neither. 

Word of the Week 17 March - 23 March

Last week we asked you what was wrong with the English in the sign below. Did you spot the verb mistake? Our Word of the Week is the difference between what is used and what it should have been.

Turn on (phrasal verb):

  • to give power to something to operate it E.g. Let's turn on the television and watch a movie.
  • to sexually or emotionally arouse, to become sexually excited E.g. You turn me on when you wear that dress!
  • to have a change in attitude that becomes hostile or to retaliate E.g. The children were playing with the dog when it suddenly turned on them. 
Turn (verb):
There are many, many definitions and uses of this common verb. Here are a few of the most common ones.
  • to move or cause something to move around an axis, to move in a circular motion E.g. The wheels turned quickly.
  • to change or cause to change direction E.g. Turn left at the junction.
  • to change or cause to change colour or nature or form, often followed by into E.g. The autumn leaves have turned orange. 

Word of the Week 10 March - 16 March

This week, there is no word of the week. Instead, I want you to have a look and tell us what is wrong with the sign in the picture below. Email me or let me know on Facebook and next week we will have a look at the all the meanings of the error! So, what's wrong here:

Word of the Week 03 March - 09 March

Prize (noun):

  • an honour or reward for having won a contest or competition E.g. The prize for the best poem is a poetry book. 
  • something given to the winner in a game of chance, such as the lottery E.g. The raffle prize is a washing machine, buy your tickets here!
  • something valuable to work towards E.g. If we get this contract, the prize is a week off!
  • used as a modifier E.g. Prize race horse, prize essay
Prize (verb):
  • to esteem or value highly E.g. They prize their dogs above their children. 
Prized (adjective):
  • valuable E.g. Her grandma's portrait is her most prized possession. 

Word of the Week 24 February - 02 March

Flaky (adjective):

  • made of or like flakes
  • tends to peel off or break into flakes E.g. This is a really flaky cake.
  • someone who is unreliable and often absent E.g. I don't know if he will come to the party, you know how flaky he is.

Word of the Week 10 February - 16 February

Catastrophe (noun):

  • a sudden, notable, extensive misfortune or disaster E.g. The earthquake was a catastrophe for the whole island.
Related words: Catastrophic (adjective) Catastrophically (adverb)

Word of the Week 13 January - 19 January

This week, English learners, it's all about the hats!

At the drop of a hat (idiomatic expression):

  • without warning or being given time to think about it E.g. When he proposed marriage, she said yes at the drop of a hat.
To take your hat off to someone (idiomatic expression):
  • a sign that you admire someone E.g. You finished the marathon! Wow! I really take my hat off to you.
To be mad as a hatter (idiomatic expression):
  • to be crazy E.g. Our English teacher is as mad as a hatter!
To eat your hat (idiomatic expression):
  • to show that you don't believe something will happen E.g. If he passes the exam without studying, I'll eat my hat!

Word of the Week 06 January - 12 January

Whatever (pronoun):

  • all, everything or anything that E.g. You must do whatever the training plan says. 
  • no matter what E.g. Whatever she does, I know you will like her work.
  • an unknown or unspecific thing(s) E.g. Use a hammer, brick, whatever to hit it hard.
Whatever (adverb):
  • to show something not important/you don't agree, mainly used in spoken English/in chats E.g. "You should have told me before!" "Ah, whatever." 

Word of the Week 16 December - 22 December

Foresee (verb):

  • to see or know beforehand E.g. She couldn't have foreseen the disaster that hit the island. 
Foreseeable (adjective):
  • able to be predicted E.g. I will work for this company for the foreseeable future

Word of the Week 02 December - 08 December

Fancy (verb):

  • to want, have the desire for something, to wish for E.g. I fancy a nice big steak for dinner tonight.
  • to be physically attracted to another person E.g. How can she fancy her boss? He's ugly!
  • to like E.g. I don't fancy your team's chances in the game tonight!
Fancy (adjective):
  • decorated, elegant, not plain E.g. She always wears fancy clothes.
  • requiring skill to do or perform E.g. He performed a fancy dance routine to impress the judges.

Word of the Week 25 November - 01 December

The Christmas markets are open now around Luxembourg, France and Germany and to celebrate this, our Word of the Week is everything to do with CHEER.

Cheer (noun):

  • happiness and joy E.g. Our office party was full of Christmas cheer.
  • shout, cry of approval or encouragement 
Cheer (verb):
  • to shout, cry and applaud loudly E.g. Although we cheered our team, they still lost.
Cheer up (phrasal verb):
  • to make someone happy or hopeful, to comfort or be comforted E.g. I cheered up when my friends surprised with a nice lunch.
Cheerful (adjective):
  • to have a happy disposition, to be in good spirits E.g. He doesn't sleep much, but he's a cheerful baby!
  • bright, gladdening E.g. This is a cheerful room. 
Cheers! (expression):
  • when you clink glasses to honour or celebrate something E.g.

Word of the Week 11 November - 17 November

Steadfast (adjective):

  • fixed in direction and intensity, especially of a person's look or gaze E.g. His steadfast gaze on the audience showed his belief in what he was saying.
  • determined and loyal, especially in support E.g. She has a steadfast devotion to teaching. 

Word of the Week 04 November - 10 November 

As this week is November 5th and people celebrate Guy Fawkes Night (see HERE for info) in England, the Word of the Week is PLOT, in all its forms. Enjoy the fireworks!

Plot (noun):

  • a secret plan with a specific purpose, usually illegal. E.g. The plot to burn down Parliament was uncovered by police before any damage was done.
  • the story or plan of a play, novel
Plot (verb):
  • to conspire to do something, to plan secretly E.g. What are you plotting for Mum's birthday?
  • to plan or make a map of something E.g. We have plotted our holiday route through Europe.
To lose the plot (idiomatic expression):
  • to stop being rational about something E.g My boss lost the plot when he suggested we all work for free next month.
The plot thickens (idiomatic expression):
  • a situation becomes more complicated and difficult E.g. Joan married Colin last year, but I've only ever seen her out with Gregory. The plot thickens.

Word of the Week 21 October - 27 October

This week Orange Bird has three phrasal verbs for you with the verb TAKE. Remember, a phrasal verb is a verb with one (or more) preposition(s) and together they have a different meaning from the original verb when it is alone.  

Take off (phrasal verb):

  • remove E.g. Please take off your coat and sit down.
  • go into the air E.g. The plane took off at half past three.
  • make great progress E.g. The advertising campaign really took off when a celebrity endorsed it. 
Take up (phrasal verb):
  • to start a new hobby or activity E.g. I took up playing the piano when I was ten.
  • to make clothes or curtains shorter E.g. I need to take up these trousers.
Take over (phrasal verb):
  • to assume responsibility/control for a company or organisation E.g. When they took over the company it wasn't making any money, but they have made a success of it.
  • to start a job or position that was previously occupied by someone else E.g. I took over as Head of Marketing from Janice last year. 
There will be no Word of the Week next week as Orange Bird is on holiday. But please still email with any suggestions for November!

Word of the Week 14 October - 20 October

Feisty (adjective):

  • lively, self-reliant, courageous, resilient, with lots of spirit. E.g. He's such a feisty player, he never gives up.
The etymology of this word is interesting. It has origins in Middle English where fysten/fisten meant to break wind/fart which came from Old English fist meaning to stink (smell very badly). 

In the 19th century it was used to mean "aggressive, exuberant, touchy" from feist - a small dog. 

Word of the Week 07 October - 13 October

This Word of the Week is inspired by a class on the history of the carnival with one of my students this week. 

Float (verb):

  • to rest on the surface of a liquid, in a liquid or space without sinking; the be buoyant E.g. I love to float in the sea and watch the clouds. 
  • to drift; to cause to move lightly, buoyantly or freely on a liquid or through air or space E.g. We took a boat to the middle of the lake and just floated while we ate our picnic.
  • to move about without an objective, to move aimlessly, especially in the mind E.g. Pictures of his face floated across her mind as she tried to remember the last time she saw him.
Float (noun): 
  • something that floats, often used to help people and things stay buoyant in the water
  • a decorated vehicle used in parades and carnivals, often motorised and used as a stage for dancers to perform

Word of the Week 30 September - 06 October

Nod (verb):

  • to lower and raise your head, usually in order to express agreement or invitation E.g. When asked if he wanted to begin, he nodded. 
  • to bring or direct by nodding E.g. She nodded towards the door and I left. 
  • to indicate or express by nodding E.g. She nodded her approval as he gave his speech. 
Nod off (phrasal verb):
  • to fall asleep E.g. I always nod off on the train home from work.
The land of nod (idiomatic expression):
  • an imaginary place of sleep E.g. When we got home the children were happily in the land of nod.
This expression is used in the bible in reference to a place "east of Eden". However, it was first used in literature to mean a mythical place of sleep by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver's Travels and Complete Collection of Polite and Ingenious Conversation. 

Word of the Week 23 September - 29 September

Bother (verb):

  • to annoy, to irritate, to give trouble or pain E.g. His mosquito bites still bothered him.
  • to trouble someone repeatedly E.g. Her boss bothered her all day about the accounts.
  • to concern oneself with something E.g. You don't have to bother to come with me to the doctor.
Bother (noun):
  • a state of worry or irritation E.g. Our finances are a constant bother.
  • a person or thing which causes trouble or annoyance E.g. The director is a bother to everyone in the office.
Bothered (adjective):
  • annoyed, troubled E.g. I'm bothered by terrible dreams I keep having. 
  • worried, concerned E.g. Of course I'm bothered about your problems. 
  • in the expression can't be bothered: don't have the desire or energy to do something E.g. I can't be bothered to cook, let's order a take-away. 
In a spot of bother (phrase):
  • to be in trouble, difficulties E.g. My dad was in a spot of bother with the police after crashing his car. 

Word of the Week 16 September - 22 September

Once again, Orange Bird is back after a hiatus, while I moved house (again!) Not sure what a hiatus is? See below after this week's Word of the Week, chosen because it came up in a recent class. We liked the word!

Lanky (adjective):

  • tall and thin, with long, thin limbs (arms and legs) E.g. We don't look like brothers. He is lanky and I am short and fat. 
Hiatus (noun):
  • an interruption or break in continuity. E.g. We took a hiatus from from painting the outside of the house because it was raining. 

Word of the Week 12 August - 18 August

Languish (verb):

  • to lose energy or strength E.g. His race was over, he languished at the back. 
  • to be deprived, to suffer hardship or neglect E.g. The protesters languished in prison for many years before they were freed.
  • to desire without energy or enthusiasm E.g. He languished for the easy days of his childhood.

Word of the Week 05 August - 11 August

Albeit (Conjunction):

  • Even though E.g. His presentation was very good, albeit too technical. I think he'll still get the contract. 
The etymology of this word comes from the 14th century: a contraction of al be it = although it be (that)

A conjunction is a word that joins two or more words, phrases or clauses, for example: and, but, yet, so.

A subordinating conjunction is a word that connects a dependent clause with an independent clause. Albeit is a subordinating conjunction. In the example above, His presentation was very good is the independent clause (it makes sense by itself) and albeit joins it with the dependent clause too technical.

Other subordinating conjunctions include: Though, even though, because, since, unless

Word of the Week 29 July - 04 August

This week we have an A, B and C - all adjectives.

Affluent (adjective):

  • Wealthy, rich, with a lot of money E.g. They live an affluent lifestyle.
  • Abundant, copious, lots of something E.g. London is affluent when it comes to great designers.
Blunt (adjective):
  • Without sharpness, dull (related to a knife or blade) E.g. My pencil is blunt, do you have a sharpener?
  • Direct, straightforward, uncomplicated (related to a person or what they say) E.g. If you want to know the truth, ask Lucy - she's blunt.
Conspicuous (adjective):
  • Obvious, clearly visible, on show E.g. When we turned on the video to record the interview I felt very conspicuous and became more nervous. 

Word of the Week 22 July - 28 July

This week, as the world awaits a new life and the birth of the royal baby, here are some phrases with the word 'life'. 

Not on your life! (idiomatic expression):

  •  Certainly not! E.g. Not on your life will I ask her to go out with me!
Life and soul (idiomatic expression):
  • A person who is the main source of fun and joy; someone very lively E.g. You have to invite Pete to the party, he's always the life and soul!
Spice of life (idiomatic expression):
  • Makes life worth living E.g. Travelling really is the spice of life.
New lease of life (idiomatic expression):
  • Have new energy and enthusiasm for something E.g. Buying a dog gave him a new lease of life in his retirement. 

Word of the Week 15 July - 21 July

Do you always use the word 'go'? Here are some you could use instead and their meanings.

Meaning to depart: Leave, Depart (verbs) E.g. Let's leave now. The train departed at 9 o'clock.

Meaning to function: Work, Operate, Function, Perform, Run (verbs) E.g. The machine doesn't perform well in the heat. The car runs with unleaded petrol.

Meaning to proceed: Proceed, Continue, Progress, Travel, Move, Advance (verbs) E.g. Negotiations are progressing slowly. We are moving towards the mountains tomorrow. 

Word of the Week 01 July - 07 July

Orange Bird English is moving to Luxembourg next week, so this week's Word of the Week has some phrases with the word 'move'.

Move mountains (idiomatic expression):

  • to make a huge effort and do anything to achieve/complete something. E.g. I will move mountains to get home in time for your party.
Move the goalposts (idiomatic expression):
  • to change the standards required to do something making it more difficult E.g. Last year you could enter the course with a pass, but they've moved the goalposts this year.
Move up a gear (idiomatic expression):
  • to suddenly change pace/speed to go faster and perform better, especially used in sport E.g. Brazil have moved up a gear in the second half and it shows in the scoreline. 

Word of the Week 03 June - 09 June

This is Orange Bird's last Word of the Week for June as I'm going on a trip. But what does the verb trip mean? See below.

Trip (verb and phrasal verb):

  • to fall or stumble or cause to fall, often used with the prepositions on, over or up E.g. I didn't see the box so I tripped over it. 
  • to make a mistake or cause to make a mistake, often used with the preposition up E.g. I tripped up on the last question of the exam because I didn't read it properly.
  • to experience the effects of an hallucinogenic drug such as LSD E.g. I am tripping right now!
  • to go on a journey or tour E.g We tripped around the Greek Isles.
Orange Bird English will be back in July.

Word of the Week 20 May - 26 May

There's not a Word of the Week this week - there are lots. It's actually something I wrote which got published yesterday in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. I entered a travel writing competition and won! We had to write travel tips for the Greeks Islands. You can read my winning entry here:


Word of the Week 13 May - 19 May

Get away (phrasal verb):

  • to go on a trip, holiday or short break E.g. I love to get away to the beach and relax.
  • to escape E.g. The thieves used a stolen car to get away from the police.
  • to move, leave a place E.g. I'd love to come for dinner, but I can't get away from the office.

Word of the Week 06 May - 12 May

Fidget (verb):

  • to move about restlessly, impatiently E.g. Billy fidgeted throughout the film, driving his girlfriend crazy!
  • to play with something, touching and moving it without need to, often used with the preposition with E.g. Stop fidgeting with your hair, it looks perfect!
Fidgety (adjective):
  • to describe a person who is fidgeting E.g. You're very fidgety today, are you nervous?
Fidget (noun): 
  • a person who fidgets E.g  My baby is such a fidget, he's hard to feed.
  • the state of unease or restlessness, as caused by constant movement, often used in the plural E.g. She has the fidgets.

Word of the Week 29 April - 05 May

SPRING has finally arrived in the UK! So here's some help with this word, which means many things as a verb. I've chosen five meanings. 

Spring (verb): 

  • to move or cause to move in a sudden motion upwards or forwards E.g. The cork sprang out of the bottle. 
  • to appear suddenly E.g. The deer sprang into the road from nowhere.
  • to leap or jump, often used with preposition over E.g. The athlete sprang over the hurdles with ease.
  • to originate or develop, used with the preposition from E.g. The idea sprang from a song I heard.
  • to come up, arise suddenly with little notice E.g. We sprang the presentation on him and he worked hard to get it ready in time. 
Spring is an irregular verb. Sprang = the simple past. Sprung = the past participle. 

Word of the Week 15 April - 21 April

For those chefs and cooks out there, here are some verbs from the kitchen!

Fry (verb):

  • to cook in oil, usually on top of the cooker E.g. We fried our eggs and ate them on toast.
Roast (verb):
  • to cook in a dry heat, usually with added fat, in an oven: mostly refers to meat cooked this way E.g. Roast the beef for two hours on gas mark seven.
Bake (verb):
  • to cook in an oven: mostly refers to bread, cakes, biscuits, pastries cooked this way E.g. My grandma bakes the most delicious chocolate cakes.
Boil (verb):
  • to cook something in hot water, on top of the cooker E.g. Put the peas into boiling water and boil for four minutes.
Peel (verb):
  • to remove the skin of food E.g. Peel the potatoes and carrots before adding them to the dish.
Chop (verb): 
  • to cut with a knife E.g. Chop the onions and add them to the meat. 

Word of the Week 04 March - 10 March

Gutted (adjective):

  • To be extremely disappointed, upset (informal) E.g. I am so gutted Arsenal lost to Tottenham!

Word of the Week 11 February - 17 February 2013

Flatter (verb):

  • To praise someone or something insincerely in order to win reward. E.g. Don't flatter me, Edward, I won't change my mind about your exam grade
  • To show to an advantage E.g. That dress really flatters her figure.
Flattery (noun):
  • The act of flattering someone or something
  • Excessive or insincere praise
Flatterer (noun):
  • Someone who flatters

Word of the Week 04 February - 10 February 2013

Start (verb): This week, Orange Bird gives you some new ways of saying the verb start, including some phrasal verbs with examples.

  • Begin
  • Commence
  • Open
  • Start off    E.g. We started off with eleven men on the team until one left.
  • Kick off    E.g. They kicked off the wedding party with the song 'Strangers in the Night'.
  • Set off    E.g. Julia set off on her holiday last Tuesday.
  • Get going    E.g. The project got going a month ago.
  • Get under way    E.g. When will the Olympic Games get under way?
  • Fire up    E.g. To fire up the machine, you must press this button.
  • Switch on    E.g. OK class, switch on your brains and let's do this maths exercise.   

Word of the Week 28 January - 03 February 2013

Broach (verb):

  • To initiate/start a topic for discussion E.g. He had to broach the subject of his pay rise carefully.
  • To pierce or tap a container or draw off/cause liquid to flow E.g. She broached the wine quickly. 

Word of the Week 14 January - 20 January 2013

Out of this world (idiomatic expression):

  • Fantastic, completely amazing E.g. Our holiday was out of this world.

Word of the Week 26 November - 02 December 2012

Fleeting (adjective):

  • Lasting for a very short time, transient E.g. In the fleeting time we had together, we lived a lifetime.

Word of the Week 12 November - 18 November 2012

Get on (phrasal verb):

  • To have a good relationship, often with the preposition with E.g. My husband gets on well with my parents.
  • To continue doing something E.g. The teacher asked us to get on with our essays.
  • To enter a plane, bus, train, motorbike, bicycle E.g. To get to work I get on the train at Cambridge and go to London.
  • To make progress E.g. We are getting on really well decorating the house.
  • To get older E.g. My grandpa is getting on so I do his shopping for him.
  • To wear, to fit E.g. After putting on weight on holiday I couldn't get my jeans on.
  • To become late E.g. I better go home. It's getting on and I don't want to miss the last bus.
Get one like a house on fire (idiomatic expression):
  • To have an excellent and enjoyable relationship with someone. E.g. My boss and my husband get on like a house on fire.

Word of the Week 05 November - 11 November 2012

Tramp (noun):

  • A homeless person who lives by begging or doing casual work
  • A long walk/hike
  • A promiscuous woman who often dresses in a provocative way (informal)
  • The sound of heavy steps when walking
Tramp (verb):
  • To walk wearily/tiredly over a long distance E.g. It felt like we tramped around the shops for hours
  • To walk with heavy, and sometimes loud, foot steps

Word of the Week 29 October - 04 November 2012

Hinder (verb):

  • To make difficult for someone to do something or for something to happen; to keep something/someone from progress E.g. The bad weather hindered our chances of fixing the roof of the house.

Hindrance (noun):

  • Something that hinders E.g. Our boss has been a hindrance to getting that project started.

The origin of the word hinder comes from Old English word hindrian which meant 'to damage'. This had Germanic roots related to the meaning 'to behind'.

Word of the Week 22 October - 28 October 2012

Master (verb):

  • To become expert or extremely skilled at something E.g. He mastered the piano at an early age
  • To take control of something, to overcome E.g. He mastered the boat during the terrible storm

Master (noun):

  • (Mainly historical) A man who has many people working for him, person in charge of servants or slaves E.g. A master of the house
  • A skilled practitioner of something, especially art; a high level player of chess
  • An original recording, document or film from which copies can be made
  • A person who holds a second or further degree, usually used in titles E.g. She has a master's degree in biology

Master (adjective):

  • Main or principal E.g. We sleep in the master bedroom
  • Having or showing great skill at something E.g. He is a master craftsman

Word of the week 15 October - 21 October 2012

This week, we've got three typically British words/phrases for you to learn.

Knackered (adjective):

  • Very tired E.g. I was so knackered when I got home from work, I went to bed.
  • Old and not working properly E.g. My car's knackered, I'm going to have to get a new one.

Bloke (noun):

  • A man E.g. Tom is such a nice bloke, I can see why Rachel likes him.

To go down a treat (idiomatic expression):

  • To be a great success which is enjoyed by everyone E.g. His presentation went down a treat with his boss. 

Word of the week 08 October - 14 October 2012

It's time for some English weather words! So, instead of describing the weather as 'hot/warm' or 'cold', here are some other options:

Cold (adjective):

  • chilly
  • freezing (very cold)
  • frosty
  • wintry (like winter)
  • arctic (very cold)
  • bitter
  • icy (very cold)
  • parky (more informal)
Hot (adjective):
  • sweltering
  • boiling
  • scorching
  • blistering
  • sizzling
  • sweaty
  • muggy (when the air is hot and heavy)
  • close (when the air is hot and heavy)

Word of the week 01 October - 07 October 2012

Headache (noun):

  • A continuous pain in the head
  • A cause of worry or trouble (informal) E.g. Meetings with my boss are such a headache!
Phrases with Head:
  • Head in the clouds: If someone has their head in the clouds they have unrealistic and impractical ideas, fantasising
  • Over your head: If something is over your head it is difficult for you to understand
  • Keep your head: If you keep your head, you remain calm in times of difficulty
  • Go to your head: If something goes to your head, you become vain. E.g. Winning that award has gone to his head. If alcohol goes to your head, you become drunk very quickly

Word of the week 24 September - 30 September 2012

Flaw (noun):

  • Imperfection, mark, blemish E.g. A flaw in the crystal caused it to break 
  • A weakness, a fault E.g. His flaw was being too proud to say sorry
  • A short storm
Related Words:
  • Flawless (adjective): To describe something which is perfect E.g. A flawless performance
  • Flawed (adjective): To describe something which is imperfect E.g. A flawed plan
  • Flawlessly (adverb): To describe doing something perfectly E.g. She presented flawlessly

Word of the week 17 September - 23 September 2012

Break down (phrasal verb):

  • Start crying E.g. He broke down when his girlfriend ended their relationship
  • End negotiations unsuccessfully E.g. Peace talks between the countries broke down after two days
  • Stop working E.g. My car broke down miles from any garage
  • Remove a barrier or obstacle E.g. As the only woman in the company, she had to break down opposition to many of her ideas

Word of the week 10 September - 16 September 2012

Dubious (adjective):

  • Something which you question, have doubts about; hesitating or doubtful E.g. I am dubious about going
  • Of questionable value or truth E.g. A dubious claim for money
  • Unreliable, suspicious E.g. A dubious company
  • Of a doubtful result
Dubiously (adverb); Dubiousness (noun)

Word of the week 03 September - 09 September 20

Gift (noun):

  • A thing given to someone, a present
  • A natural ability or talent. E.g. He has a gift for languages
  • The act or instance of giving

Gift (verb): 

  • To give gifts, award gifts

Gifted (adjective):

  • Exceptionally talented or intelligent

Phrases with gift:

  • To look a gift horse in the mouth: to find faults/problems with what has been given
  • Gift of the gab: to have the ability to speak in a persuasive and interesting way

Word of the week 27 August - 02 September 2012

Procrastinate (verb):

  • To defer action, usually without good reason
  • To delay doing something, sometimes by doing other things E.g. I need to stop procrastinating and study for my exams; putting my bank statements in order can wait!

Related words:

  • Procrastinator (noun): Someone who procrastinates
  • Procrastination (noun): The act of procrastinating

Word of the week 20 August - 26 August 2012

Easy (adjective):

  • Not difficult; something which is achieved or reached without great effort or a lot of work
  • Free from pain, discomfort, anxiety
  • Relaxed and pleasant (someone who has an easy manner)

Idiomatic expressions with easy:

  • To be easy on the eye: someone or something which is very attractive and nice to look at
  • Easy peasy; easy as ABC, easy as pie: something which is very easy and simple
  • Easy does it: advice (usually spoken) meaning go carefully or slowly
  • Take it easy: proceed gently or carefully, relax

Word of the week 13 August - 19 August 2012

Pride (noun):

  • A feeling of satisfaction or elation in at achievements or qualities or possessions that do you/someone else credit
  • the best of a group
  • a high opinion of your own worth or importance
  • a group or company (of animals, especially lions) 

Proud (adjective):

  • Feeling greatly honoured or very pleased
  • Often followed by of, E.g. I am proud of my work
  • Arrogant, having too high opinions of yourself

Related expressions with Pride:

  • Pride and joy: a thing you are very proud of E.g. Our son is our pride and joy
  • Pride of place: the most important or prominent position E.g. Her award had pride of place in her living room
  • Take pride in: be proud of E.g. You should take pride in your appearance

While On Holiday...

Orange Bird English has been on holiday for the last couple of weeks and is also working at London 2012 Olympic Games, so expect another Word of the Week on 13 August.

But, while I've been away, I have got married, so I thought I would share some other ways of saying 'Getting married' in English. Enjoy! 

  • Walking up the aisle
  • Getting hitched
  • Saying 'I do'
  • Tying the knot
  • Getting spliced
  • Uniting in marriage
  • Meeting at the altar
  • Espousing (This is an old way of saying it. Your spouse is your husband or wife)

Word of the week 09 July - 15 July 2012

Come on (phrasal verb):

  • encouragement (e.g. Come on, you can win this!)
  • the beginning of an illness (e.g. I feel the flu coming on)
  • start working (e.g. The heating comes on at 7 o'clock)
  • to make progress (e.g. The project is coming on really well)
  • to appear on stage or field of play (e.g. Fabregas came on at half time)
  • to be heard on television or radio (e.g. The minister came on the radio to discuss poverty)

Come on (noun, slang):

  • an enticement, temptation, a show of wanting (e.g. His dancing was a real come on)

Word of the week 02 July - 08 July 2012

Flinch (verb):

  • react and draw back in pain or expectation of a hit
  • give way, shrink, turn aside (often follwed by from e.g. He flinched from his duty)

Flinchingly (adverb)

Flinch, Flincher (noun)

Word of the week 25 June - 1 July 2012

Bold (adjective):

  • courageous, adventurous, assertive, with confidence
  • vivid, distinctive, well-marked (bold colours, a bold immagination)
  • forthright, direct, not afraid to speak your mind
  • printed in thick, black typeface (written in bold)

Idiomatic expression with bold

  • To be bold as brass: someone who is very confident and not worried about how others will react or about being caught

Word of the week 18-24 June 2012

Wander (verb, intransitive):

  • go about from place to place without a specific purpose (often followed by in, off, around) 
  • twist and curve about, diverge (of a person, river, road)
  • get lost, leave home, leave a specific path (especially of a person)
  • be inattentive, talk or think incoherently

Wander (verb, transitive):

  • cover while wandering (e.g. He wanders the world)

Wander (noun)

  • the act of wandering (e.g. Let's go for a wander around the park)

Related word: Wanderlust                                      

  • an eagerness and desire for travelling or wandering