78. Christmas – It’s all about Family

This episode is all about Christmas. Learn plenty of general English vocabulary and culture.
You will find some vocabulary and definitions below.


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In this episode I talk to my brother (James) about Christmas, and plenty of other things too!

*Caution – this episode contains some rude language and swearing :)*

This is a natural conversation between my brother and me. We talk mainly about Christmas and what it means to us as Londoners in England, UK. We also talk about other things as we naturally get sidetracked during the conversation.
The intention of the conversation is to explain what Christmas really means to us. Some of the things we say are intended to be humourous, which means sometimes we use irony, but most of the time we are being serious.
It might be difficult for you to follow everything we say, but we explain many things while talking. I have made a list of vocabulary and expressions that we use in the conversation. You will find this list of vocabulary and definitions below. Many of the definitions come from this website: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/, and some of the definitions are written by me.

I recommend that you check the vocabulary and expressions in your own dictionary too, and look for examples of the expressions online by googling them. Listen to this podcast several times to really catch all the expressions and to listen to them being used in the natural context of our conversation. Then try to use the expressions yourself, in your own conversations or just while practising English alone.

VOCABULARY & DEFINITIONS
Here is a list of vocabulary used in the episode, with definitions:
I am slowly adding transcripts to all my episodes and I am storing them at my blog: http://teacherluke.co.uk/
There is no transcript for this episode yet but please feel free to add one! Email it to me: luketeacher@hotmail.com

Here is the vocabulary & definitions:

cold call
n.
A telephone call or visit made to someone who is not known or not expecting contact, often in order to sell something.
cold-call v. a cold caller (person) cold calling
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

bunged up
adjective clogged, stuffed-up, blocked up, jammed “My nose is all bunged up.”
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002

faux pas [ˌfəʊ ˈpɑː (French) fo pɑ]
n pl faux pas [ˌfəʊ ˈpɑːz (French) fo pɑ]
a social blunder or indiscretion
[from French: false step]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

urine
n urine [ˈjuːrin]
the waste fluid passed out of the body of animals from the bladder.
adj urinary
a urinary infection.
v urinate [ˈjuərineit]
to pass urine from the bladder.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2010 K Dictionaries Ltd.

cliche
n.
1. A trite or overused expression or idea: “Even while the phrase was degenerating to cliché in ordinary public use . . . scholars were giving it increasing attention” (Anthony Brandt).
2. A person or character whose behavior is predictable or superficial: “There is a young explorer . . . who turns out not to be quite the cliche expected” (John Crowley).
These nouns denote an expression or idea that has lost its originality or force through overuse: a short story weakened by clichés; the old bromide that we are what we eat; uttered the commonplace “welcome aboard”; a eulogy full of platitudes; a once-original thought that has become a truism.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

tinsel
n.
1. Very thin sheets, strips, or threads of a glittering material used as a decoration.
2. Something sparkling or showy but basically valueless: the tinsel of parties and promotional events.
adj.
1. Made of or decorated with tinsel.
2. Gaudy, showy, and basically valueless.
tr.v. tin·seled or tin·selled, tin·sel·ing or tin·sel·ling, tin·sels
1. To decorate with or as if with tinsel: tinsel a Christmas tree.
2. To give a false sparkle to.
[Middle English tineseile, from Old French estincelle, spangle, spark; see stencil.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

bau·ble
n.
1. A small, round decoration used on a christmas tree

cul-de-sac
Noun 1. cul de sac – a passage with access only at one end
cul, dead end
passage – a way through or along which someone or something may pass
2. cul de sac – a street with only one way in or out
blind alley, dead-end street, impasse
thoroughfare – a public road from one place to another
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

stuck-up
adj
Informal conceited, arrogant, or snobbish
stuck-upness n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

football hooligan

asking for it
-verb
this means that someone wants to have a fight
(this expression is used to justify a voilent act – e.g. “he was asking for it!”)

the east-end
-noun
the east-end means the east-end of London – an area in the east of London

the Ritz
-noun
a very expensive hotel/restaurant/tea room in central London

housing estate
-noun
a residential area where the houses were all planned and built at the same time, by the local council

lin·go
n. pl. lin·goes
1. Language that is unintelligible or unfamiliar.
2. The specialized vocabulary of a particular field or discipline: spoke to me in the lingo of fundamentalism.

geezer [giːzə]
n Informal
a man
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

common sense
n
plain ordinary good judgment; sound practical sense
adj common-sense also common-sensical
inspired by or displaying sound practical sense
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

grounded [ˈgraʊndɪd]
adj
sensible and down-to-earth; having one’s feet on the ground
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

lev·el·head·ed
adj.
Characteristically self-composed and sensible.
level·headed·ness n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

(get) carried away
Definition: become too emotionally involved in something
Explanation: Used to show exageration by someone else
Examples: Please pay attention and don’t get carried away. – I know you love Chopin, but if you get carried away you will not play all the right notes.

solid
-adj
reliable, safe, dependable
“John is a really solid guy, he never lets me down”

en·clave
n.
1. A country or part of a country lying wholly within the boundaries of another.
2. A distinctly bounded area enclosed within a larger unit: ethnic enclaves in a large city.
[French, from Old French enclaver, to enclose, from Vulgar Latin *inclvre : Latin in-, in; see en-1 + Latin clvis, key.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

glossy [ˈglɒsɪ]
adj glossier, glossiest
1. smooth and shiny
2. superficially attractive
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

gritty [ˈgrɪtɪ]
adj -tier, -tiest
1. courageous; hardy; resolute
2. of, like, or containing grit
grittily adv
grittiness n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

down-to-earth
adj
sensible; practical; realistic
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

it’s bound to be Latin = it must be Latin, I really expect it to be Latin

take stock
1. To take an inventory of all the stock in a shop’s warehouse
2. To think about yourself and things you have done in the past

a new year’s resolution = a promise to yourself for the next year, e.g. “I’m going to give up smoking” or “I’m going to go to the gym more often”

crumb [krʌm]
n
a small fragment of bread, cake, or other baked foods
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

psychic abilities
-plural noun phrase
abilities which allow you to do psychic things such as mind reading

skip to the end
-verb phrase
we use this expression when someone is telling a boring story and you want them to ‘jump’ or ‘skip’ quickly to the conclusion at the end of the story (it is used in an ironic way – my brother James says it as a joke, like “this is boring!” – but he’s just joking)

mince pie = pie containing mincemeat
pie = dish baked in pastry-lined pan often with a pastry top
© 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

staple food: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/staple+food

moving (swiftly) on
-verb phrase
“move on” “let’s move on” “moving on” – use these expressions to move to the next point in a discussion, meeting or presentation
“moving swiftly on” – swiftly means quickly. “Moving swiftly on” is a fixed expression which means “let’s quickly move on to the next point”

“I lost it” – to lose it
-verb phrase
this means to lose your mind, go crazy, become very angry

“my suspicions were aroused”
-collocation
to arouse suspicion – this means that something made you feel suspicious
e.g. Sherlock Holmes would say this if he saw some evidence – “my suspicions were aroused by the bloodstains on the floor”

“there’s evidence to suggest that…” – you can use this expression to support your comments with evidence – you don’t have to name the evidence, “there’s evidence to suggest that spending a lot of time playing computer games can be bad for your health”

gadget [ˈgædʒɪt]
n
1. a small mechanical device or appliance
2. any object that is interesting for its ingenuity or novelty rather than for its practical use
[perhaps from French gâchette lock catch, trigger, diminutive of gâche staple]
gadgety adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

“I’m welling up here”
to well up
-phrasal verb
when emotion rises inside you and you begin to cry – tears come to your eyes
“At the end of the movie I started welling up”

lean
adj. lean·er, lean·est
1. Not fleshy or fat; thin.
2. Containing little or no fat.

deer
n deer [diə]
a kind of large, grass-eating animal, the male of which sometimes has antlers, “a herd of deer”, e.g. Bambi.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2010 K Dictionaries Ltd.

blow your nose
-verb phrase
to clear your nose by blowing air out – it pushes out the snot/mucus into a tissue

snot
-noun
green or clear mucus which comes from your nose when you have a cold

mucus
-noun
snot (see above)

sniff / sniffing
-verb
to pull air into your nose quickly in order to stop snot coming out

“the commercialisation of Christmas”
commercialisation
-noun
the act of commercializing something; involving something in commerce; “my father considered the commercialization of Christmas to be a sacrilege”; “the government tried to accelerate the commercialization of this development”; “both companies will retain control over the commercialization of their own products”
commercialization
exploitation, development – the act of making some area of land or water more profitable or productive or useful; “the development of Alaskan resources”; “the exploitation of copper deposits”
© 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

bombard
-verb [bɒmˈbɑːd] (tr)
1. (Military) to attack with concentrated artillery fire or bombs
2. to attack with vigour and persistence, “the boxer bombarded his opponent with blows to the body”
3. to attack verbally, esp with questions, “the journalists bombarded her with questions”
4. (Physics / General Physics) Physics – to direct high-energy particles or photons against (atoms, nuclei, etc.) especially to produce ions or nuclear transformations
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

stingy
adj -gier, -giest
1. unwilling to spend or give
2. insufficient or scanty
[C17 (perhaps in the sense: ill-tempered): perhaps from stinge, dialect variant of sting]
stingily adv
stinginess n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

miser
n
1. a person who keeps money or possessions and never gives things to people
2. selfish and unhappy person
[from Latin: wretched]

a pain (in the neck)
-noun
someone or something that is very annoying
e.g. “this rain is such a pain in the neck”, “Christmas shopping can be a real pain when the shopping centre is busy”

bump into people
-verb phrase
to accidently walk into people, to collide with someone (this phrase can also mean that you meet someone by coincidence)

go out of fashion (and go out of style)
to become unfashionable; to become obsolete. “That kind of furniture went out of style years ago.” “I hope this kind of thing never goes out of fashion.”
Dictionary of Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

wind (something) up
-phrasal verb
to end or finish something “The meeting just wound up, so let’s go to lunch now.” “We should be able to wind the discussion up by 10 o’clock.”
Cambridge Dictionary of Idioms © Cambridge University Press 2003.

a love-hate relationship
-noun
a relationship which combines both love and hatred
“I have a love hate relationship with Christmas – I love some things about it, but I hate other things”
“Jack and Sarah have a love hate relationship – they love each other but they can’t live together”

“it can be a bit grating”
grating
adj
1. (of sounds) harsh and rasping
2. annoying; irritating
e.g. “The sound of that chainsaw is really grating” “the sound of that baby crying is really grating”
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

take the mickey / take the piss: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/take+the+mickey

SOME CHRISMAS SONGS – WITH LYRICS!
Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas Time?

Wham – Last Christmas

Slade – Merry Christmas Everybody

Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day

The 12 Days of Chrismtas (no lyrics – but pictures)

The Pogues – Fairytale of New York

John & Yoko – Merry Christmas (War is Over) *not the original recording I’m afraid*

This is a short clip from the soap opera Eastenders, which my brother and I talked about a couple of times

Thanks for listening – please donate some money to help me continue making episodes for Luke’s English Podcast. Merry Christmas everyone!

3 thoughts on “78. Christmas – It’s all about Family

  1. Pingback: Teacher Luke’s lessons | Notes

  2. Ross

    Hi there!
    I’ve come across your podcast on Xmas and I’ve found it interesting
    mostly as a Frenchman listening to your explanations on English
    words with French roots, like cul-de-sac, faux pas or cliché, though the
    pronunciation is slighlty different as you may know.
    The meaning is the same, compared to “false friends”, that are
    English words we use with another meaning, such as “un parking”
    for ‘a car park’, “le pressing” for ‘the dry-cleaners’ or “quelqu’un est space”
    for ‘someone is bizarre’, among others.
    Well interesting stuff to use with my students here, if I may.
    Thanks for sharing. See you. Ou plutôt, à bientôt. Merci encore.
    Rossano.

    Reply

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