Thursday, 12 January 2012

Objective Proficiency p 104. Vocabulary

Ex 1
  • Tamper with something: to make changes to something without permission, especially in order to damage it. Interfere with. Sp. alterar. E.g. Someone had obviously tampered with the brakes of my car. 
Ex 2
  • Centre around/on/round/upon somebody/something: to be or make somebody/something become the person or thing around which most activity, etc. takes place. E.g. State occasions always centred around the king. Discussions were centred on developments in Eastern Europe.
  • Get/set/start/keep the ball rolling: to make something start happening; to make sure that something continues to happen. 
  • Spring up: to appear or develop quickly and/or suddenly. E.g. Play areas for children are springing up all over the place. Opposition groups are springing up like mushrooms / ˈmʌʃrʊmz/. 
  • Doom and gloom (also gloom and doom): a general feeling of having lost all hope, and of pessimism (= expecting things to go badly). E.g. Despite the obvious setbacks, it is not all doom and gloom for the England team. 
  • Far from it: used to say that the opposite of what somebody says is true. E.g. ‘You're not angry then?’ ‘Far from it. I've never laughed so much in my life.’
Ex 3
  • In the vanguard of: /ˈvænɡɑːd/ at the forefront of. E.g. The company is proud to be in the vanguard of scientific progress. 
  • Be a double-edged sword/weapon: /sɔːd/ to be something that has both advantages and disadvantages. E.g. Medical radiation is a double-edged sword that helps fight cancer, but can destroy healthy tissues as well.
  • Lay: (adj) not having expert knowledge or professional qualifications in a particular subject. E.g. His book explains the theory for the lay public. The lay person E.g. How would you explain to the layperson how gene therapy works?. The lay reader (Sp. lector no especializado). A medical dictionary for the layman. What does that mean in layman’s terms? 
  • For something's sake: because of the interest or value something has, not because of the advantages it may bring. Because of that and for no other reason. E.g. I believe in education for its own sake. Encourage your children to seek knowledge for its own sake. Art for art's sake. 
  • Subject to enough regulations: effectively controlled (by the government/ international law...)
  • The greater good: for the good of society at large. 
Ex 4

  • Bound: forced to do something by law, duty or a particular situation. E.g. bound by something. We are not bound by the decision. You are bound by the contract to pay before the end of the month. Bound (by something) to do something. I am bound to say I disagree with you on this point. They are legally bound to appear in court. Governments are duty bound to regulate the industry.
  • Repercussion: / ˌriːpəˈkʌʃn / [usually plural] an indirect and usually bad result of an action or event that may happen some time afterwards. Consequence.  E.g. The collapse of the company will have repercussions for the whole industry.
  • Cusp: a time when one situation or stage ends and another begins. E.g. To be on the cusp of something (Sp. estar a las puertas). The problems confronting Africa on the cusp of the millennium. We are on the cusp of completely new forms of treatment. He was on the cusp between small acting roles and moderate fame.
  • Reservation: a feeling of doubt about a plan or an idea. E.g. I have serious reservations about his ability to do the job. They support the measures without reservation (= completely). I have extreme reservations about the confidentiality of all this information.
Phrase spot 
  • Get/set/start/keep the ball rolling: to make something start happening; to make sure that something continues to happen.
  • Set the wheels in motion or start the wheels turning: to do some of the things that will make a process start. E.g. He needs to find a new place to live, and I’m helping him set the wheels in motion. 
  • Set the scene (for something): 1 to create a situation in which something can easily happen or develop. E.g. His arrival set the scene for another argument. 2 to give somebody the information and details they need in order to understand what comes next. E.g. The first part of the programme was just setting the scene.
  • Set out your stall: to show your intentions or abilities clearly. E.g. The politicians were setting out their stalls for the election.  He has set out his stall as a strong supporter of free trade.
  • Set your heart on something / have your heart set on something: to want something very much. E.g. They've set their heart on a house in the country. 
  • Put/set the record straight: to give people the correct information about something in order to make it clear that what they previously believed was in fact wrong. Sp. poner las cosas en su lugar. E.g. To put the record straight, I do not support that idea and never have done.
  • Set the world on fire: (British English also set the world alight) (informal) (usually used in negative sentences) to be very successful and gain the admiration of other people. E.g. He's never going to set the world on fire with his paintings. She’s good, but she’s not going to set the world on fire..
  • A dangerous precedent: a decision that others will follow and that will cause problems. Set a dangerous precedent (Sp. sentar un peligroso precedente). E.g.  The sacking of Mr Nolan could set a dangerous precedent. 
  • Carved/set in stone: (of a decision, plan, etc.) unable to be changed. E.g. People should remember that our proposals aren't set in stone. 
  • Set somebody's teeth on edge: (of a sound or taste) to make somebody feel physically uncomfortable. You find it unpleasant or annoying. E.g. Just the sound of her voice sets my teeth on edge. That whining voice of hers always sets my teeth on edge. 
  • Pull your socks up: (British English, informal) to try to improve your performance, work, behaviour, etc. Esforzarse. E.g. You're going to have to pull your socks up. 
  • Pull out all the stops: (informal) to make the greatest effort possible to achieve something. E.g.we pulled out all the stops to meet the deadline. 
  • Pull the other one (—it's got bells on): (British English, informal) used to show that you do not believe what somebody has just said. 
  • Pull the strings: to control events or the actions of other people. E.g. It’s the record company, not the band, that is really pulling the strings. 
  • Pull a fast one (on somebody): (slang) to trick somebody. E.g. he had been trying to pull a fast one on his producer.
  • Run rings around/round somebody (informal): to be much better at doing something than somebody else. E.g. I used to beat my son at chess but now he runs rings around me. 
  • Run the gauntlet: /ˈɡɔːntlət/ to be criticized or attacked by a lot of people, especially a group of people that you have to walk through. E.g. Some of the witnesses had to run the gauntlet of television cameras and reporters. (Etymology) This phrase refers to an old army punishment where a man was forced to run between two lines of soldiers hitting him.
  • Gauntlet: /ˈɡɔːntlət/ 1 a metal glove worn as part of a suit of armour by soldiers in the Middle Ages. 2 a strong glove with a wide covering for the wrist, used for example when driving. E.g. motorcyclists with leather gauntlets.



  • Run a tight ship: to organize something in a very efficient way, controlling other people very closely. E.g. he runs a tight ship – his team members know exactly what they're supposed to be doing.

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