Bed bugs in Paris & London, Mosquito hunting in the middle of the night, a home invasion by fleas and the terrors of cockroaches – listen to some anecdotes about encounters with insects with Zdenek who has recently relocated to Vietnam. Also watch out for various insect idioms which appear during the conversation.
“The Glib Brothers” reunite on the podcast to discuss more music, films, books, scary AI and UFO sightings. James is my older brother and he’s probably been on this podcast more than any other guest. Listen for another deep and humorous conversation with lots of cultural reference points.
Hang out with me for an unscripted and unedited ramble about things like engaging moments while English teaching, how it feels to be about to become a father again, a funny new recording of my daughter speaking English, some recent films I’ve seen, and a recording of me doing stand-up comedy in front of an audience recently.
Monopoly is one of the most famous board games of all time. It’s sold in more than 114 countries and has been printed in more than 47 languages. It’s famous for causing arguments and taking forever to finish! But it is a fantastic and fascinating game, so let’s talk about it. In this episode I talk to Anna Tyrie (from English Like a Native) about childhood memories, rules that people don’t follow, winning strategies, the real history of the game and more! I guarantee that with this episode you will learn new things about Monopoly.
Today on the podcast I am joined again by Anna Tyrie from English Like a Native and we are going to have a conversation all about Monopoly, yes Monopoly the board game that you probably played as a child with your family. The game that always takes ages and usually ends in a big family argument.
I actually think this game is fascinating. We’re going to talk all about it – Childhood memories, the rules of game, the strategies, the economics of it, the surprising history, and some fun facts that you might not know.
You know Monopoly, don’t you? It’s that game where you go around a board, buying and trading properties, constructing houses and hotels in order to take as much money as possible from your competitors who are probably other members of your family, who have to pay you rent every time they land on one of your properties.
The aim of the game is to completely dominate the market, so that all the other players go bankrupt and you take all the money, ultimately achieving the status of a monopoly – the one who has total market domination. When that happens, you win, and everyone else hates you.
Monopoly is sold in more than 114 countries and has been printed in more than 47 languages, so there’s a good chance that you know it, but still, I expect that some of you out there in podcastland have really played it and I suppose that some of you have never even heard of it! Well, you’re going find out all about it today, and even if you are an experienced Monopoly player, hopefully you will learn a thing or two from this episode.
Monopoly is a board game. In the English speaking world it is one of the most well-known and successful board games, along with other classics such as Trivial Persuit, Cluedo, Scrabble, Taboo, Pictionary, and of course Chess, Backgammon and Draughts to name but a few.
Listeners, Anna and I have recorded, or will be recording an episode all about board games in general, for Anna’s podcast. We talk about classic board games, our memories of playing board games, using board games to learn English. You’ll be able to find that on Anna’s podcast. But here for my show we are focusing exclusively on Monopoly.
There are loads of different versions of this game for different cities in different countries. In fact, there are over 300 different versions, like ‘Game of Thrones Monopoly’, ‘Star Wars Monopoly’ and ‘Pokemon Monopoly’ and more. There is actually a lot to talk about here. Sure, it can be a frustrating game, but it is certainly one of the most enduring board games in the world and it’s also fascinating. So, let’s have a good long conversation about Monopoly.
Here is a list of curious mysteries, jokes and observations about the English language and life in general. I talk about each interesting point, give some funny comments and explain bits of English vocabulary in the process. Expect to learn a few things, and have a bit of a laugh in the process.
4. Who knew what time it was, when the first clock was made?
*Well, try this now*
Ambiguities of the English Language! Enjoy.!!!
1. I wonder why the word “Funeral” starts with FUN?
Saderall would be better, because you’re all sad.
2. Why isn’t a Fireman called a Water-man?
3. How come Lipstick doesn’t do what it says?
Lipstick – it’s a stick for your lips
It’s not stuff that “sticks to your lips”.
Also, it isn’t a stick made of lips. That would be weird.
4. If money doesn’t grow on trees, how come Banks have Branches?
5. If a Vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a Humanitarian eat?
6. How do you get off a non-stop Flight?
7. Why are goods sent by *ship* called CARGO, and those sent by *truck* SHIPMENT?
ChatGPT has the answer (smartypants)
Goods that are shipped by boat are called cargo because the word “cargo” comes from the Spanish word “cargar,” which means “to load.” This makes sense because when goods are shipped by boat, they are loaded onto the vessel.
In contrast, goods that are shipped by truck are called a shipment because they are being shipped from one place to another. The word “shipment” comes from the Old French word “envoiement,” which means “the act of sending.” So, a shipment is a collection of goods that are being sent from one place to another, regardless of the mode of transportation.
8. Why do we put cups in the “Dishwasher” and the dishes in the “Cupboard“?
The word “cupboard” originated in the Middle English word “cubbert,” which came from the Old French word “couvert,” meaning “covered.” A cupboard is a type of cabinet or closet with shelves or drawers for storing household items.
The name “cupboard” likely comes from the fact that these types of storage units were originally used to store cups and other dishware. Over time, the meaning of the word “cupboard” has expanded to include any type of cabinet or closet used for storage. (yes, ChatGPTagain)
9. Why do doctors “practise” medicine?
I don’t want a doctor who practises medicine, I want one who has learned how to do it!
10. Why is it called “Rush Hour” when traffic moves at its slowest at that time?
11. How come noses run and feet smell?
Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
12. Why do they call it a TV ‘set’ when there is only one?
The know-it-all ChatGPT has the answer *yawn*
The word “set” in this context refers to a complete television system, not just the physical television itself. A television set includes the television, as well as any additional components or accessories that are required to receive and display television signals.
In the past, television sets often included components such as a VCR, DVD player, or cable box, and these additional components were often referred to as “attachments.” Even though most modern televisions are self-contained and do not require additional components, the term “television set” is still used to refer to the entire system.
13. What are you vacating when you go on a “vacation“?
We can never find the answers
If you have the *Spirit* of understanding everything in a positive manner – You’ll enjoy every moment in LIFE, whether it’s *PRESSURE or PLEASURE*
So just enjoy the PUN and FUN of the English language.
Enjoy and have fun.😘👍
Hana Fakhoury Hajeer, PhD.
A Note about the words “STUFF” and “THINGS”
Also, just at the end here I thought I could explain a couple of points about the words “stuff” and “thing(s)”.
So, here is a note about that.
Of course you are aware of these words. People use them all the time. They certainly came up in this episode.
For example, at the beginning of the episode I said “Let’s talk about some stuff. Here’s some more stuff to help you learn English” and I think the episode is in fact going to be called
“Things that make you go ‘Hmmm’.”
So what about these words? I often notice that my learners of English don’t use them very much, but I think they are very useful.
Of course you shouldn’t overdo it and use them all the time, when a more specific word is appropriate, but still, they are useful and very common.
The main thing here, the main point, is that the word thing is a countable noun, and the word stuff is uncountable.
That’s the only difference really.
In English, countable and uncountable nouns have different rules regarding their usage. Here’s a general overview.
1. Countable nouns refer to items that can be counted as individual units.
2. They can be used in both singular and plural forms.
3. Singular countable nouns are typically preceded by an article (a/an) or a specific determiner (e.g., this, that, my).
4. Plural countable nouns usually take an “s” at the end, but irregular plural forms exist as well.
5. Countable nouns can be quantified using numbers or words like “many,” “few,” “some,” etc.
6. They can be used with “a few,” “several,” or “many” to indicate a specific quantity.
– “I have two cats.”
– “She bought some books.”
– “He needs a new car.”
– “There are many students in the classroom.”
1. Uncountable nouns refer to substances, concepts, or ideas that cannot be counted as separate units.
2. They are typically singular and do not have a plural form.
3. Uncountable nouns do not usually take an indefinite article (a/an) but can take a definite article (the) when specified.
4. They cannot be quantified directly with numbers, but words like “some,” “a little,” “a lot of,” etc., can be used.
5. To express a specific quantity, you can use measurement words like “a cup of,” “a bottle of,” “a piece of,” etc.
– “I need to buy some milk.”
– “She has a lot of experience.”
– “Could you pass me the salt, please?”
– “He drank a glass of water.”
It’s important to note that some nouns can be both countable and uncountable, depending on the context. For example, “water” can be uncountable (as in “I need water”) or countable (as in “There are three waters on the table”).
Just as a quick test, which word would you use to complete these sentences?
Thing / things or stuff?
There is just one _______ I need to tell you before you go.
Can you pass me one of those _______ on that box over there?
Can I have some more of that _______? It was really good.
Ugh, what’s all that sticky _______ on the table?
I need to go into town to buy one or two _______ for dinner, would you like to come?
Your bag is so heavy. How many _______ do you have in here?
There’s too much _______ in the back of the car. I can’t see out of the window.
How much _______ did you bring with you? You don’t need all of those _______.
Sit down, we have some important _______/_______ to tell you.
There is just one thing I need to tell you before you go.
Can you pass me one of those things on that box over there?
Can I have some more of that stuff? It was really good.
Ugh, what’s all that sticky stuff on the table?
I need to go into town to buy one or two things for dinner, would you like to come?
Your bag is so heavy. How many things do you have in here?
There’s too much stuff in the back of the car. I can’t see out of the window.
How much stuff did you bring with you? You don’t need all of those things.
Sit down, we have some important things/stuff to tell you.
❌There are some amazing stuff in this shop. ✅There are some amazing things / There is some amazing stuff
❌Can you pass me that stuff on the table? (talking about one object) ✅Can you pass me that thing on the table?
❌We need to get some more stuffs from the shop. ✅We need to get some more stuff… ✅We need to get some more things…
Kate Billington returns for her 4th appearance on LEP to create some fun English conversation for you to listen to. We talk about lots of things, as usual, including her cycling trip to Berlin and a nasty accident she had on her bicycle in Paris earlier this year. Expect tangents, vocab, idioms, jokes, stories, cups of tea and some very “professional” podcast eating.
This is the longest episode of LEP so far, and it’s a solo ramble. Relax, follow my words, hang out with me for 3 hours, get stranded on a desert island of the imagination, and then get rescued. Includes a haircut, a sleep and a t-shirt change during the episode.
How would the same car accident be described in over 15 completely different styles of English? What are the differences in vocabulary, grammar and organisational structure? How should I change my voice to read each description? Let’s see how English changes in different situations. Styles presented include: formal and informal English, news reports, an action movie screenplay, an Eminem rap, a romantic novel, a Shakespeare play, a politician making a speech, a stand-up comedian, Liam Neeson in the film Taken, and Luke in an episode of Luke’s English Podcast. PDF transcript available.
Join me as I read through a bizarre online game. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a lemon? No? Well, neither had I, until I played this game. Can I escape the kitchen, become human again and avoid being chopped up and turned into a juice! Watch out for some descriptive language and some funny moments along the way! Story by Daniel Champion on www.textadventures.co.uk
Finally, here is the third part of this series about English slang words and expressions that most British people know, but which will probably confuse almost everyone else! I started this series in 2019. It’s only taken me nearly 4 years to get round to finishing it. Learn loads of slang and culture, plus a bit of British history too.
Hello everyone and welcome back to LEP. This episode is called “88 English Expressions that will confuse everyone (Part 3) and in this episode we’re going to go through some expressions and idioms that, apparently, only British people know, and which confuse everyone else – and that means learners of English but also other native speakers from different countries, particularly the USA. These expressions seem to be unique to the UK for some reason.
Now, this is an episode that has been a long time coming! (Hello Francesco Gaeta!) This is actually part 3 of a series I started bloody ages ago, before COVID came along, and I always intended to finish it off, but never got round to it. So, over 3.5 years and about 200 episodes later it’s time to finish what I started.
Why did it take you so long to finish the series Luke?
I’ve said before that this podcast is a bit like a big ship that’s barreling across the ocean. If I leave something behind (like if someone or something falls overboard) it takes a long time to slow the ship down, turn it around and go back. But anyway, here we are returning to finish this series.
“88 English Expressions that will confuse everyone” – Essentially this is an episode about British slang.
This should be useful for you from a cultural point of view and to help you understand native British English speakers. It should also just be a bit of fun to be honest, so I hope you enjoy it and that you find it interesting to learn about some of our more obscure and weird expressions.
Should you actually use these expressions in your speaking?
This is always an important question when learning slang or idioms. Should you add them to your active vocabulary?
Obviously this is completely up to you, but it’s worth considering what kind of English you should a) be able to understand and b) actually use. This depends on the context in which you are using English. If you want to be able to understand British people when they speak then this is the stuff for you. If you just love English and find it interesting to explore the idiosyncratic aspects of the language, then go for it. But slang isn’t exactly global English (this is the kind of English that most non-native speakers would understand – like the language of international business for example) and so these expressions might just be a bit confusing and weird for other non-native speakers (depending on their level of English).
But again, it is completely up to you, and after all the tagline for this podcast is “Real British English” so here you go. This is the kind of stuff that you might notice in TV shows, song lyrics, books or just the things your English mates say, if you have any, and if you don’t have any, that’s ok, don’t feel bad.
Text in italics has been pasted from the original article (link above).
By the way, there is a video version of this episode on youtube and on the website page. I have been attempting to add more video versions of my episodes recently. I hope you have been enjoying that.
“It’s a real pea-souper out there tonight!”
A “pea-souper” is a thick fog (or smog), often with a yellow or black tinge, caused by air pollution.
I should say that this is an old-fashioned expression and people don’t really use it much any more, but it does pop up every now and again usually in films and TV series which are set in the past. I think Amber said it on the podcast once too.
The idiom was first used to describe the thick, choking smogs that settled over London, caused by lots of people burning fossil fuels in a close vicinity, as early as 1200. The smogs were compared to pea soup due to their colour and density.
Pea soup is very thick and can be a bit yellow in colour if you’re using dried peas in the recipe, so this is why a fog which is very thick (and even yellow in colour) used to be called a “pea souper”. The fog/smog was so thick that it looked like pea soup. Yuck.
“Be careful when you’re driving — it’s a pea-souper out there.”
I would never actually use this phrase unless I was imitating a London cab driver from the 1950s or 1940s. The expression was much more common in those days because very foggy weather was also much more common. We don’t often get fog like that in London these days really, because the air is much cleaner than it used to be.
This is one of the stereotypes of London – thick fog. It’s the sort of thing that comes up in American TV shows and films. In many American’s minds, London is still this foggy 18th century place full of penniless pickpockets, greedy bank managers and cockney prostitutes, and fog. “Foggy London town”, but it’s not really true any more, well the weather bit – the pickpockets, bank managers and prostitutes – that’s probably still true.
All the google News searching I’ve done for this expression has returned the same results – articles about the great smog of 1952.
So, this is as much a history lesson as it is an English lesson then. What was the great smog of 1952 and how did this “pea souper” expression end up in the language?
Details from Wikipedia
Pea soup fog (also known as a pea souper, black fog or killer fog and also London Particular in the case of pea-soupers in London) is a very thick and often yellowish, greenish or blackish fog caused by air pollution that contains sootparticulates and the poisonous gas sulphur dioxide. This very thick smog occurs in cities and is derived from the smoke given off by the burning of soft coal for home heating and in industrial processes. Smog of this intensity is often lethal to vulnerable people such as the elderly, the very young and those with respiratory problems. The result of these phenomena was commonly known as a London particular or London fog.
The Clean Air Act The worst recorded instance was the Great Smog of 1952, when 4,000 deaths were reported in the city over a couple of days, and a subsequent 8,000 related deaths, leading to the passage of the Clean Air Act 1956 (a law which controlled pollution in London and was vital in changing the air quality of the whole country), which banned the use of coal for domestic fires in some urban areas. The overall death toll from that incident is now believed to be around 12,000.
The phrase has cropped up in various bits of popular culture over the years.
Charles Dickens’ Bleak House – when Esther arrives in London, she asks of the person meeting her “whether there was a great fire anywhere? For the streets were so full of dense brown smoke that scarcely anything was to be seen. ‘O, dear no, miss,’ he said. ‘This is a London particular.’ I had never heard of such a thing. ‘A fog, miss,’ said the young gentleman.”
The Arthur Conan DoyleSherlock Holmes stories describe London fogs, but contrary to popular impression the phrase “pea-soup” is not used; A Study in Scarlet (1887) mentions that “a dun-coloured veil hung over the house-tops”; The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans (1912) describes “a dense yellow fog” that has settled down over London, and later notes “a greasy, heavy brown swirl still drifting past us and condensing in oily drops on the windowpane”; while in The Sign of Four (1890), Holmes soliloquises: “What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses”; and, later: “the day had been a dreary one, and a dense drizzly fog lay low upon the great city. Mud-coloured clouds hung over the muddy streets.”
The fog plays a role in Michael Crichton‘s 1975 novel The Great Train Robbery “On the evening of January 9th, a characteristic London ‘pea-soup’ fog, heavily mixed with soot, blanketed the town.
The second chapter of the book The Woman in Black (1983) by Susan Hill is titled “A London Particular” and mentions the thick, dense fog of London, which Arthur Kipps witnesses on his journey to work at his solicitors’ office.
Sections of London Below in Neil Gaiman‘s 1996 novel Neverwhere are still affected by “pea soupers”, remnants of the thick fog in London’s past that got trapped in London Below and remained.
This expression turned up in series 1 of The Crown (The Netflix drama about the Queen & The Royal Family) in episode 4. The events of the 1952 fog-deaths and their political ramifications take up the whole of the episode.
London fog is now a bit of a cliche and we don’t get that much foggy weather since the air is now a lot cleaner, or at least the pollution we have now doesn’t create smog like it used to. So, pea-soupers and “foggy London” are now a thing of the past
How’s the pollution in your city or country? Do you ever get pea-soupers there?
“Pinch punch first of the month”
This is a rhyme that people say on the first day of the month. It’s sort of a good luck tradition, or maybe just an excuse to punch someone on the arm. For some reason we never ever did this in my family and so “Pinch, punch, the first of the month” is almost as foreign to me as it is to you. It’s the sort of annoying thing that a kid in school would say to you while inflicting physical pain on you, by pinching and then punching you in the arm.
“Pinch punch, first of the month. No returns of any kind” is a school playground rhyme often exchanged between friends on the first day of a new calendar month, accompanied by a pinch and a punch to the recipient.
If the joker forgets to say “no returns of any kind,” the recipient can say “a slap and a kick for being so quick,” accompanied by a slap and a kick.
Why on earth would people do this kind of nonsense to each other, you might be asking? To protect everyone from witches, of course.
According to the Metro, the playground ritual originates from the medieval times (when nobody know anything about anything, most people were completely illiterate and education was something only the richest of the rich could afford and even the school were probably full of unscientific superstitious nonsense too) , when a “pinch” of salt was believed to make witches weak, and the “punch” resembled banishing the witches entirely. As a result, “pinch punch, first of the month” was a way of warding off witches and bad luck for the near future.
Nowadays, it’s mostly a way for kids to pull pranks on their friends.
It’s basically an excuse for punching your friends.
“Pinch punch, first of the month!”
“Ha! A slap and a kick for being so quick!”
Do you have any weird little superstitious traditions relating to the first day of the month?
This is one for the Americans really, and I expect that most long-term LEPsters will be well aware of this.
“Pissed” usually means “angry” in the US. However, in the UK, someone that’s “pissed” is most probably drunk.
“Oh leave him alone, he’s pissed!”
Here’s another expression that means drunk (add it to all those ‘nouns-as-adjective words that posh people might say like trollied, gazeboed, rat-arsed and the other expression which was mortal in Newcastle and probably the surrounding areas – see part 2 of this series).
This word is very common and used a lot. I would definitely use this as a slightly rude alternative to the word drunk.
I’m feeling a bit pissed.
If they started drinking at 6 the’ll all be pissed by now!
Remember, in the US pissed usually means annoyed. The English equivalent is pissed off.
I’m so pissed right now. (Angry – USA)
I’m feeling so pissed off today! (Angry – UK, although I think they sometimes say pissed off in the USA too)
He can’t drive, he’s pissed! (Drunk – UK)
When was the last time you got pissed? Have you ever been pissed?
What pisses you off about life in the place where you live?
*remember, the word “pissed” is quite rude.
“Pop your clogs”
To “pop your clogs” means to die.
This cheery phrase is widely believed to originate from Northern factory workers around the time of the industrial revolution. When they were working on the factory floor, employees had to wear hard clogs to protect their feet.
“Pop” has evolved from “cock,” and when someone “cocked” their clogs, the toes of their clogs pointed up in the air as they lay down dead.
“Did you hear what happened to John’s old man? He popped his clogs, didn’t he…”
Again, there’s an example of how the story of the meaning of the word is more weird than useful, but I suppose people used to die quite frequently in factories and so this phrase became quite common. I’m trying to think of a reasonable situation in which you could use this phrase today. Normally you wouldn’t use a phrase like this if you’re trying to be respectful about a death. Instead this phrase is for situations which are not so serious.
An example from a not-so-serious account of Queen Victoria’s life.
Queen Victoria’s wild royal sex diaries revealed New Zealand Herald-25 May 2019 Sadly, Victoria’s sexual walkabout with Albert ended in 1861 when he popped his clogs and she was heartbroken to have lost her great love.
Something that is nonsense, rubbish, or simply untrue might be described as “poppycock.”
This quintessentially British idiom derives from the Dutch “pap” and “kak,” which translate as “soft” and “dung.”
So it means “bullshit” basically.
“What a load of poppycock!”
Having done a bit of research into this, it seems that they do use it in the USA as well, and no-doubt in Canada too, and other English speaking places.
Here are some examples https://youglish.com/pronounce/poppycock/english?
Other words that mean nonsense
We could add “poppycock” to the list of words meaning nonsense which also includes:
For more info, check here https://www.glossophilia.org/?p=2569
Do you also have lots of words for “nonsense” in your language, or does English just have more nonsense than other languages?
Someone who’s “quids in” has invested in an opportunity which is probably going to benefit them massively.
“Quid” is British slang for “pounds,” eg, “five quid” means £5.
“If it all works out as planned, he’ll be quids in.”
Basically, if you are ‘quids in‘ it means you’ve made some money. It is the sort of thing I might say if I’ve gained some money, like at the end of a comedy show you might say “Ah, quids in!” when someone hands you some cash that has been collected at the door.
This is a good one, and important if you’re going to the pub in the UK.
You might buy a “round” of drinks for your friends at the pub, in the understanding that they will each buy you a drink as part of their “rounds” later on.
“Whose round is it? Is it Steve’s?”
“No way, I’ve already bought a round. It’s your round.”
Do you buy drinks in rounds in your country? I expect that you get a bill at the end, rather than having to keep going back to the bar to order more drinks, but let me know in the comment section.
A disorganised mess or chaotic environment might be described as a “shambles.”
“What’s happened here? This is a shambles!”
Brexit is a shambles. My first lessons as a teacher were a bit of a shambles. The way England play football in the World Cup is often a bit of a shambles, although they’ve been getting better in recent years. Boris Johnson is a shambles, and so is his government. (oops, a bit of politics)
Someone short-tempered or irritated might be described as “shirty”, also to get shirty with someone.
The meaning of this slang has been debated at length. The word “shirt” is derived from the Norse for “short,” hence short-tempered. However, other people believe that “shirty” has connotations of being dishevelled (creased, unironed, in a bad mood).
“Don’t get shirty with me, mister.”
When was the last time someone got shirty with you?
Are you a bit short tempered sometimes? Do you get shirty with people? When? In the mornings? Who do you get shirty with?
I got shirty with a guy who jumped ahead of me in the queue, but I can’t argue in French so I couldn’t do anything about it. (What happened Luke?)
Something that is “skew-whiff” is askew – meaning wonky, not straight.
“Is it just me or is that painting a bit skew-whiff?”
Francois Hollande used to the President of France but it seems he was quite unpopular with French people. I often wondered why. Whenever I asked people about him they would say something about his appearance, or that he’s not presidential enough. I worked out that he was unpopular mainly because he couldn’t wear a tie properly. His tie was always a bit skew-whiff. Clearly, looking Presidential is one of the main qualifications for the job.
Look around the room (if you’re in a room) are any of the pictures or paintings a bit skew-whiff?
to skive off (school)
“Skiving” is the act of avoiding work or school, often by pretending to be ill. Playing truant.
“Skive” is derived from the French “esquiver,” meaning “to slink away” or “to wriggle out of something”.
“He skived off school so we could all go to Thorpe Park on a weekday.”
Did you use to skive off school?
I never skived off at school, but I did a lot at 6th form college. I spent more time in the park next to the college than I did in the college itself.
Lacking in energy; usually after a long period of exertion.
“Do we have to go to the dinner party tonight? I’m slumped.”
Hmm. I would use slumped but not to mean exhausted. I’d use it to describe someone’s body position.
to be Slumped (over) = to lean, lie or sit so that your body is completely lifeless, as if you have died or just passed out. To be slumped over a desk, to be slumped on the floor, in a corner etc.
I’m sure that in the recent detective story episodes (Episodes 612-614) the word “slumped” came up. You can imagine someone slumped over their desk because they’ve been studying English so hard that they’ve passed out, or they’ve just been listening to an especially long episode of LEP.
The students were all slumped over their desks. The teacher was slumped over his desk. There was even a guy slumped in the corner, holding a grammar book. What happened here? I wondered. Then I realised. It must have been an English grammar lesson.
Is it considered rude to be slumped over your desk in your country?
It always used to alarm me to see my Korean students slumped over the desks during break time, especially if they had their heads on the desks. I thought they had just all given up, but apparently they were just resting. (Or maybe they just couldn’t stand my lessons)
Someone that comes across as scheming or untrustworthy might be described as “smarmy.”
He’s such a smarmy bastard.
Although the adjective’s origins remain largely unknown, early documented uses seem to use the word as synonymous with “smear,” further suggesting that someone who is “smarmy” is also “slick” or “slippery.”
“Don’t trust him — he’s a smarmy git.”
Draco Malfoy is a smarmy little git. Jacob Rees Mogg is a really smarmy politician.
James Bond is not smarmy, he’s classy. But there are plenty of blokes who fancy themselves as classy like Bond, but they just come across as smarmy.
Do you know anyone you could describe as smarmy?
Imagine a slippery, maybe slimy, charming but disreputable person.
A British axiom (saying)( that boils down to the idea that: “If anything can go wrong, then it definitely will go wrong.”
“Sod’s law” is often used to explain bad luck or freakish acts of misfortune. This is more commonly known in the US as “Murphy’s law.”
“Of course my toast had to land on the floor butter-side-down. It’s Sod’s law.”
Here are some situations in which would count as sod’s law:
Dropping your toast. It always falls butter side down.
When you have to choose a queue at the bank or at border control. The queue you choose always ends up being longer than the queues you didn’t choose.
In the USA they would probably say “Murphy’s Law”, which could be a bit offensive as it’s an Irish name and so this might count as an ethnic slur – a rude expression which offends a certain ethnic group, in this case the Irish.
“Great, it’s been dry all summer and on our wedding day it decides to pour with rain.” “Sod’s law, isn’t it?”
“a Spanner in the works”
An event that disrupts the natural, pre-planned order of events could be described as a “spanner in the works.”
The phrase describes the mayhem caused when something is recklessly thrown into the intricate gears and workings of a machine.
“By getting pregnant, Mary threw a spanner in the works.”
UK: spanner US: wrench Spanish: an English key (?)
Before the pandemic threw a spanner in the works I was planning a world tour of stand up comedy shows.
“Spend a penny”
To “spend a penny” is a polite euphemism for going to the toilet.
The phrase goes back to Victorian public toilets, which required users to insert a single penny in order to operate the lock.
Although it sounds crude, the phrase is actually considered a polite way of announcing that you are going to visit the bathroom. Historically, only women would announce they were going to “spend a penny,” as only women’s public toilets required a penny to lock. Men’s urinals were free of charge.
“I’m going to spend a penny.”
“I’m just off to spend a penny”
Other euphemisms for urination:
to have/take/go for a slash / whazz
to answer the call of nature
This is nothing to do with the previous expression.
To “splash out” means spending significant amounts of money on a particular item or event.
If you’re “splashing out,” it’s implied that you’re spending money on a treat to mark a special occasion or celebration.
“Wow — you’ve really splashed out on this party!”
Note: to splash out on something
I’ve been working super hard recently, so I decided to treat myself and splash out on a new guitar.
Have you splashed out on anything recently, or are you saving up for something?
Similar to “nerd” or “geek” but less derogatory — someone that takes academic study very seriously might be described as a “swot.”
“Swot” can also be used as a verb.
“I haven’t seen Tom since he started revising for his exams. He’s turned into such a swot!”
“Yeah, he’s been swotting like mad for his Spanish exam.”
“Take the biscuit”
If someone has done something highly irritating or surprising in an exasperating fashion, you might say that they’ve “taken the biscuit.”
“Taking the biscuit” is the equivalent of taking the nonexistent medal for foolishness or incredulity.
“I could just about deal with the dog barking at 5:30a.m., but the lawnmower at 3 a.m. really takes the biscuit.”
“Take the Mickey”
To “take the Mickey” means to take liberties at the expense of others — and can be used in both a lighthearted and an irritated fashion.
“Take the Mickey” is an abbreviation of “taking the Mickey Bliss,” which is Cockney rhyming slang for “take the piss.”
“Hey! Don’t take the Mickey.”
“I’m just taking the Mickey.”
Something that is “tickety-boo” is satisfactory and in good order.
This classic British idiom may seem stereotypically twee, however, some sources believe that “tickety-boo” in fact derives from the Hindu phrase “ṭhīk hai, bābū,” meaning “it’s alright, sir.”
“I hope everything’s fine, grand, splendid and tickety boo in podcastland”
When someone makes a great speech while skirting around a subject or saying little of any value, you might say that they’re talking “waffle,” or that they’re “waffling.”
In the 17th century, to “waff” went to yelp, and quickly evolved to mean to talk foolishly or indecisively.
“I wish he’d stop waffling on.”
“What a load of waffle!”
Other words for this: rambling, prattling.
Someone silly or incompetent might be described as a wally.
Although its origins are largely debated, the term’s meaning has evolved over the last 50 years alone.
In the 1960s, someone that was unfashionable might be nicknamed a “wally,” according to dictionary.com.
“Don’t put down a leaking mug on top of the newspaper, you wally!”
If you’ve “wangled” something, you’ve accomplished or attained something through cunning means.
“I wangled some first-class seats by being nice to the cabin crew!”
To “whinge” means to moan, groan, and complain in an irritating or whiney fashion.
“Wind your neck in”
If you want to tell someone to not concern themselves with issues that don’t directly affect them, you might tell them to “wind their neck in.”
This classic phrase is another way of telling someone that their opinion is not appreciated in the given scenario.
“Wind your neck in and stop being so nosy!”
To be honest, I only ever heard this phrase being used by my friends from Northern Ireland and I hadn’t heard it before that.
Someone that makes comments just to spark controversy or argument might be labelled a “wind-up merchant.”
The “wind-up merchant” will often claim to be making their comments as a light-hearted jest when the recipients start becoming irritated.
If you’re “winding someone up,” you’re making them tense or irritated, a bit like the way you might wind up a toy.
to wind someone up = to make fun of them, to take the mickey out of them
a wind up merchant = someone who winds people up
“Stop being such a wind-up merchant and be serious for one second!”
“I was going to go out tonight but when I finished work I was absolutely zonked.”
Other words for zonked: knackered, worn-out, shattered.
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