Scaling the world’s tallest building

climbI love watching Alain Robert’s amazing climbing adventures in the news. He’s well-known all over the world now for climbing up some of the world’s tallest buildings.

Although lots of people enjoy watching him, he often gets arrested by the police when he gets to the top.

There was an article about Alain Robert’s future plans on the ABC News website today with some interesting climbing vocabulary in it.

The first interesting expression I spotted was ‘to set your sights on something‘. This means to makes something your target or goal. In the same paragraph, the author uses the expression ‘death-defying‘ meaning to succeed in doing something very dangerous without dying.

It’s also mentioned that Robert wants to ‘scale‘ the tower. This means that he wants to climb up it.

Slightly later in the article, the expression ‘bail out‘ is used. We’ve seen the expression ‘bail out’ before on the World of Words already.

The last expression I would like to look at is in the final paragraph. To do something ‘with your bare hands‘ means to do it without any equipment other than your own body.

Has Alain Robert ever climbed any buildings in your country?

Today’s image is by Simon Layfield.

On the Brink

There’s an article in the BBC business news today that caught my eye because it has three really interesting expressions in it. The first is in the title:

Major US lender ‘on the brink

In this situation ‘on the brink’ means that something, probably bad is about to happen. From the rest of the article, we could assume the bank is ‘on the brink of bankruptcy’ or ‘on the brink of disaster’.

The next two phrases come together in the first paragraph:

Days of talks on a possible last-ditch bail-out between the US government and troubled New York-based lender CIT Group Inc have come to an end.

‘Last-ditch’ is an interesting expression with military origins. In a military sense, the ‘last ditch’ is the final line of defences an army has from attack. When we use it in speech, it is usually as a compound adjective and is often seen with the word ‘effort’ or ‘attempt’ so a ‘last-ditch effort’ would be a final effort using all the resources available to you.

‘Bail out’ is usually seen as a phrasal verb meaning to help a person or group of people who are in a difficult situation. In the example above, a ‘bail-out’ is a compound noun and means the package of financial aid given to the organisation in trouble.

Have you ever had to bail a friend out?