Words in the news: blood diamonds

I read a lot in the news about Naomi Campbell. She seemed to be in all the newspapers after her recent appearance in court. She was connected with an interesting piece of vocabulary.

The diamonds she was allegedly given as a present can be called ‘blood diamonds‘. ‘Blood diamonds‘ are diamonds that have been mined in a war zone and used to pay for equipment for the invading army.

English words in the news: moonshine

If you like a drink but don’t like paying tax, you might like this English word – ‘Moonshine‘ is an alcoholic drink made illegally at home. It is distilled and often contains more alcohol than hard liquor.

Moonshine is most commonly associated with America during the 1920s and early 1930s but this article on the BBC News website says it is becoming more common again nowadays.

The other interesting words I spotted in the article are ‘hipster‘ (a person who is keenly interested in the latest trends or fashions) and ‘booze‘ (a casual word for alcoholic drinks).

Today’s image is by Andrew Beierle.

English expressions and idioms with ‘beach’

life’s a beach
Meaning: life is good or easy
Example: I won the lottery last week and now life’s a beach for me

a beach bum
Meaning: someone who spends a lot of time at the beach (usually negative)
Example: He’s always surfing instead of doing his homework – what a beach bum!

not the only pebble on the beach
Meaning: not the only important person in a place or situation
Example: She’s a manager now but she’ll have to remember that she’s not the only pebble on this beach – there are lots of other managers in the company

take sand to the beach
Meaning: a pointless activity
Example: She has so much perfume, buying her another bottle would be like taking sand to the beach

English words in the news: marksman

A marksman is an person who is good at shooting. In this article on the BBC News website, we can see the word in context.

Marksmen are searching empty buildings, woods and fields in and around a town in north-east England in the hunt for suspected gunman Raoul Moat.

Let’s hope they can arrest him without needing to shoot.

39th English vocabulary quiz

I’ve got that Friday feeling. I’m looking forward to a great weekend and some really fun classes.

Before the weekend starts, it’s time for a quiz. Remember to let me know how you got on using the comments section at the bottom.

Have a great weekend!

39th English vocabulary quiz:

a double-dip is:





to have an ear to the ground means:





____ behind the ears





to fall on ____ ears





a big mistake can be called a:







English expressions and idioms with ‘ears’

music to your ears
Meaning: to approve of something you hear
Example: The news of his new job was music to his ears.

wet behind the ears
Meaning: young and inexperienced
Example: The new staff cam straight from school and were still wet behind the ears.

fall on deaf ears
Meaning: when advice or information is ignored by a person
Example: I told him to start saving money before the recession but the advice fell on deaf ears.

have an ear to the ground
Meaning: to listen carefully for news related to the future
Example: I’ve had an ear to the ground but I still can’t work out whether the boss will be leaving or not.

have (something) coming out of your ears
Meaning: to have a lot of something
Example: My apple tree had loads of fruit this year. I have apples coming out of my ears.

walls have ears
Meaning: someone might be listening
Example: Person 1 – Did you hear the news about Dave leaving? Person 2 – It’s best not to talk about that here. Walls have ears and we’re not supposed to know that news yet

Today’s image is by Andrea Kratzenberg.

English vocabulary in the news: double-dip

Over the last year, there has been lots of really interesting economics vocabulary in the news. For example, before the recent recession, most people probably wouldn’t have known what a sub-prime mortgage or credit crunch was.

I spotted this headline on the Economist website this weekend:

Double-dip drama

A ‘double-dip’ is when a market falls in value, rises a little, then falls again. On a graph, the low points are the two dips.