Is this the smallest library in the world?

I love reading so the news this weekend has been interesting for me. I saw that Borders (a famous chain of bookstores) had run into trouble. That’s a shame because hanging around in a bookshop is one of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon.

I saw this article, too. I was interested in it on a few different levels. Firstly, it’s great that such a small village can have its own library. Secondly, it’s great that the library is putting an onld phone box to good. Thirdly, it’s just interesting finding out how such a tiny library works. There’s not even space for a librarian inside!

The first interesting expression I spotted in the article was ‘take off‘. We usually use this expression to talk about when an aeroplane leaves the ground but in this case, it means that the service is becoming popular with a lot of people.

The next interesting phrasal verb is to ‘dream up‘. To ‘dream up‘ means to think of or invent something.

Slightly later in the article, it is mentioned that BT sell old phone oxes for ‘a token £1‘. This means that the phone boxes are really essentially free and that they just charge £1 so that their accounts balance properly.

The last interesting expression in this article is ‘handed over‘ meaning ‘given’. We often use ‘hand over‘ with the word ‘responsibility’, too. This means to transfer responsibility to another person.

Do you have any tiny libraries in your country?

A piece of cake

cakeIt’s the start of a new week. Time to face new challenges, meet new people, and see what’s been happening in the news.

This story on the ABC news website caught my eye yesterday. I’ve never tried wearing high-heeled shoes but I’ve heard that walking in them can be difficult. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to run in a pair of high-heeled shoes.

There is an interesting expression in the title of the article. ‘Well-heeled‘ usually means wealthy or smartly-dressed. In this article though, it simply means wearing heels that are high enough to join the race.

Later in the article, Caroline Gentien is quoted saying that walking on heels is no ‘piece of cake‘. If something is ‘a piece of cake‘, it is very easy, so in this situation she is saying that it can be difficult to walk wearing high-heeled shoes.

Slightly further on, it is mentioned that contestants ‘hail from‘ a number of places. In this case, ‘hail from’ means the same as ‘come from’.

The last expression I would like to look at in this article is ‘dole out‘. This means to give something away to people free. Sometimes we use the expression ‘on the dole‘ to talk about a person who is claiming unemployment benefit, too.

How well do you think you would do in a ‘stiletto race’?

Today’s image is by Artem Zhushman.

Sweet tooth

gummy bearsIn English, we sometimes say that a person who likes sweet food has a ‘sweet tooth‘. In this article from the ABC News website, it seems like the boy’s ‘sweet tooth‘ got him into trouble.

There are some words we have seen before in this article, like plead guilty/not guilty and bail, but there are also some new expressions.

The first is ‘over the top‘. This expression means ‘excessive’ or ‘too much’. In this case the punishment is ‘over the top‘ because it is too severe.

The other interesting expressions are in this quote from Peter Collins:

The fact of the matter is he’s 12 and these are the most trivial charges imaginable. It can hardly be a justification for this kid to be brushed up against the courts to teach him a bit of a lesson

Let’s start with ‘the fact of the matter‘. This means the most important point or the main issue in a situation.

The next interesting piece of vocabulary is ‘brush up‘ meaning ‘to encounter’. We can also use it to talk about touching against something very lightly.

The last interesting expression is ‘to teach someone a lesson‘. This means to punish someone so they don’t do the same thing again.

Here in Bali, we have some great sweet treats such as pisang goreng (fried Bananas) which make great coffee snacks. Do you have a sweet tooth??

Today’s image is by Enrica Bressan.

Beautiful people

Can you imagine a website that only lets beautiful people join? Well there really is such a thing. This article on the Reuters website takes a look at which nationalities were considered ‘most beautiful’ by users of the site.

I was a little upset to see the Brits do so badly but I guess everyone has their own opinions on what is considered ‘beautiful’.

There are some interesting expressions in the article, too. First, let’s look at a quote from Greg Hodge:

I would say Britain is stumbling because they don’t spend as much time polishing up their appearance and they are letting themselves down on physical fitness,

The first interesting expression here is ‘polishing up‘. To ‘polish up‘ means to improve or make something look nicer.

The other interesting expression is ‘letting themselves down‘. To ‘let yourself down‘ means not to fulfil your potential or do as well as you could.

Slightly later, Hodge is quoted again using the word ‘toned‘. To be ‘toned‘ means to have clearly defined muscles and very little fat.

He also mentions that German men and women weren’t ‘faring well‘. To ‘fare well‘ means to perform well or to do a good job.

What do you consider to be ‘beautiful’?

The shirt on your back

Red tshirtI know a lot of people all over the world have been affected by the recent recession. Some people have lost their jobs, others have lost their homes. The man in this article on managed to find an interesting way out of his unemployment.

The article has a great title, too. It mentions that the man is selling the shirt on his back. In this case, they mean that he is selling advertising space on his t-shirt however, we often use the expression ‘the shirt on your back‘ to mean the last thing you own. For example, we could say ‘They took everything, right dwon to the shirt on my back‘ meaning that they took everything I own.

There’s an interesting expression in the third paragraph, too. Jason Sadler’s business is described as a ‘human billboard‘ service. A ‘billboard‘ is a space to display adverts.

A little later on, it is mentioned that Sadler sells the day’s adverts at ‘face value‘. I think the expression is explained well in the article. We often use ‘face value‘ in another way, though. We use it to talk about the impression we get from something after only looking at it for a short time. If you take an article at ‘face value‘, you just read the content but don’t try to get any deeper meaning from it.

Further on in the article, we can see the phrasal verb ‘sell out‘. This means when you have sold all of your stock or, in this case, advertising space.

What have you been doing to help get through the recession?

Today’s image is by Adrian Gtz.

9th Friday Fun Quiz – Test your vocabulary

It’s been a busy week as always at the World of Words this week. We got off to a sweet start, thought about different ways to learn, saw some naked runners, and learnt more about Bill Clinton.

As the weekend draws nearer, people all over the world are starting to relax. There is, however, one more important task to complete before the weekend. It’s time for the Wil’s World of Words Friday Fun Quiz!

Good luck, everyone. Have a great weekend!


9th Friday Run Quiz

To 'rustle up' means:

An 'ice rink' is:

'Kinaesthetic learners' like:

'Quash' means:

To 'get cold feet' means:

'Coffin' is:

BONUS QUESTION - 'bric-a-brac' is:

In a coffin

coffinWhile I was browsing the news this morning, this article caught my eye because of an interesting word in the title:

Clinton wishes he had left White House “in a coffin

A coffin is the long box we put dead people in before we bury or cremate them. In the way it is used in this title, it means the Clinton wishes he had continued to be president until he died.

There’s an interesting expression in the first paragraph, too where it is mentioned that he loved being ‘commander in chief‘. This is another way to refer to the President.

The expression ‘terms in office‘ is seen in the third paragraph. We have learnt about that expression before on the World of Words in this article.

Near the end of the article, it is mentioned that Clinton still ‘carries diplomatic clout‘. To ‘carry clout‘ in an area means to have power or be strong in that area. There’s another interesting expression in this paragraph where the author writes that Bill Clinton ‘stole some of the spotlight from his wife‘. This means that people were paying attention to him rather than her.

Today’s image is by Jenny Erickson.

Nude runners get cold feet

evilmelonDid you celebrate Halloween? It’s not such a popular holiday here in Indonesia but I still like to watch a scary movie in the evening to get into the Halloween spirit a bit.

In lots of parts of the world, people like to dress up for Halloween but it looks like the runners in this article were ready to take it a step further. They wanted to go running naked! Now, that’s scary!

There were some fun words and expressions in the article, too. ‘Quash‘ was the first word that caught my eye. It was in the title of the article and means to stop something using threats or force.

There was another interesting word in the first paragraph. The run was described as a ‘zany‘ tradition. ‘Zany‘ means the same as ‘crazy but in a positive way.

In the caption under the photo, there’s and interesting idiom. It says that many of the runners ‘got cold feet‘. When you ‘get cold feet‘ you don’t do an activity because you are afraid or nervous.

Later on in the article, the author mentions a ‘handful‘ of runners. When we use the expression a ‘handful‘ we mean a small amount.

The last expression I would like to look at in this article is ‘public exposure‘. This means to take your clothes of in public. What a scary idea for Halloween!

How did you celebrate Halloween this year?

Today’s image is by Wil Procter.