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Vocabulary

Why do we say 'Pleased as Punch'?

Average: 3.8 (9 votes)

 

Meaning: ‘very pleased’

This expression refers to the Punch and Judy puppet character. Punch’s name comes from Polchinello (sometimes spelled Punchinello), an Italian puppet with similar characteristics. In Punch and Judy shows, the grotesque Punch is portrayed as self-satisfied and pleased with his evil actions.

 

Why do we say 'Over the Moon'?

Average: 3.4 (7 votes)

Meaning: very happy or delighted.

How to 'Apologise'

Average: 3.1 (29 votes)

I have come to realise that, in life, it’s the tiniest things that can drive me crazy and send me hurtling into a half-hour violent rant while the bigger things don’t really bother me all that much.

Phrasal Verb ' Break Down'

Average: 3.4 (31 votes)

The phrasal verb Break down + noun can be used to talk about analysing something in detail: "You need to break down the maths problem in order to solve it properly."

Break down is also used to talk about something that has stopped working properly: "Can you please come and pick me up from work? My car has broken down."

Why do we say 'Catch 22'?

Average: 3.3 (10 votes)

Meaning: an impossible 'no-win' situation

Originally exclusive to bureaucracy, and used to describe a regulation which depended on another, which in turn depended on the first, this idiom today is used to describe any no-win situation, or a situation which seems impossible or difficult because it contains two opposite facts. It originated from Joseph Heller’s famous 1961 novel of the same name.

Why do we say 'Bad Hair Day'?

Average: 3.3 (10 votes)

While a vast number of idioms originate from historical periods, this is not true of all of them, and ‘having a bad hair day’ is one of these exceptions.

Originally meaning ‘a day when your hair seems unmanageable', the use of this expression has now extended to describe a day when everything seems to go wrong.

How to 'Avoid Giving a Direct Answer'

Average: 3.7 (7 votes)

Uncle Dave

It can be difficult to say 'no' to people. Here Danny tells us the polite ways to say 'no' to requests and invitations.

 

Homonyms - Words that have more than one meaning- 'Spirit'

Average: 3.8 (51 votes)

 

The key to understanding the humour in this cartoon is the word ‘spirit’. ‘Spirit’ is an example of a ‘homonym’: a word which has the same spelling and a pronunciation as another word, but with a different meaning. In this case, ‘spirit’ can mean ‘a ghost-like spirit’ or a ‘hard type of alcohol’, for example, whiskey or vodka.

Why do we say 'Willy - Nilly'?

Average: 3.9 (15 votes)

'She threw the money willy - nilly on the table'.

This expression has two slightly differing yet related meanings – it can mean ‘in a disorganised way’ or ‘whether with or against your will’.

Why do we say 'Mumbo Jumbo'?

Average: 3.5 (14 votes)

'She couldn't understand the text, it sounded like mumbo - jumbo.'