Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Objective Proficiency p 103. Vocabulary

Ex 4
  • Floodwater: /ˈflʌdwɔːtə(r)/ ([uncountable] also floodwaters [plural]) water that covers land after there has been a flood. E.g. The floodwaters have now receded. 
  • Lop something off (something): to remove part of something by cutting it, especially to remove branches from a tree. Chop. E.g. Julie's hair had been hastily (hurriedly) lopped off with a pair of scissors.
  • Splinter: a small thin sharp piece of wood, metal, glass, etc. that has broken off a larger piece. Sp. Astilla, esquirla. E.g. splinters of glass. To remove a splinter from your finger.

  • Tweezers: a small tool with two long thin parts joined together at one end, used for picking up very small things or for pulling out hairs. E.g. a pair of tweezers.
  • Railing: [countable, usually plural] a fence made of vertical metal bars; one of these bars. Sp. Reja, verja. E.g. iron railings. I chained my bike to the park railings. She leaned out over the railing.

Idiom Spot
  • Lever: / ˈliːvə(r)/ lever (for/against something) an action that is used to put pressure on somebody to do something they do not want to do. E.g. The threat of sanctions is our most powerful lever for peace. A negotiating lever. 

  • A nail in somebody's/something's coffin: something that makes the end or failure of an organization, somebody's plans, etc. more likely to happen. E.g. This latest defeat is another nail in the government's coffin. The final nail in the coffin (sth that has finally caused failure) 
  • Call a spade a spade: to say exactly what you think without trying to hide your opinion. To speak directly. 

  • Go down the tube/tubes: (informal) (of a plan, company, situation, etc.) to fail. E.g. The education system is going down the tubes. 
  • The weak/weakest link (in the chain): the point at which a system, a person or an organization is most likely to fail. An unreliable part of something, usually used of people. E.g. She went straight for the one weak link in the chain of his argument. 
  • To blow a fuse: (informal) to get very angry.

  • With (no) strings attached: unconditional. Doing something for someone without asking for anything in return. Sp. sin compromiso. E.g. It is ok, I will do you a favor...no strings attached! I will give you my old coat, with no strings attached.
  • To get your wires crossed. (informal) to become confused about what somebody has said to you so that you think they meant something else. Misunderstand. E.g. We seem to have got our wires crossed. I thought you were coming on Tuesday. 
  • Have shot your bolt: (informal) to have used all your power, money or supplies. To have failed. To have used all your energy trying to do something, so that you do not have enough energy left to finish it. E.g.  By the end of the third lap it was obvious that she had shot her bolt, and the Canadian runner took the lead. Etymology: The ‘bolt' in the expression refers to the short, heavy arrow used in a crossbow (Sp. ballesta). I understand that once an archer had shot his ‘bolt', he was virtually defenceless because reloading his crossbow was a time-consuming process. The bolt was shot only when the archer was certain of hitting his target. Shakespeare was referring to the arrow when he used the expression in Henry V: “A fool's bolt is soon shot.”


  • To get into gear / get something into gear: to start working, or to start something working, in an efficient way. Sp. Poner en marcha. E.g. Her electoral campaign is finally getting into gear. Suddenly my brain got into gear and I realized what was happening.
  • To turn/twist the knife (in the wound): to say or do something unkind deliberately; to make somebody who is unhappy feel even more unhappy. E.g.  Marcia laughed as she twisted the knife still deeper.


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