Secondary School List #1
Meaning: to listen without the speaker knowing.
Usage: often used when someone is listening to a conversation secretly.
Example: The jealous husband eavesdropped on his wife’s conversations.
Example: In this day and age, it’s hard not to eavesdrop on someone talking loudly on their mobile phone.
Example: Patricia eavesdropped on her friends talking.
Meaning: a form of praise, honor or award.
Usage: often used when someone gets an award for something they have done very well.
Example: The humble scientist has won many accolades from her research in diseases and vaccinations.
Example: Games provide a variety of accolades to win.
Example: Personal accolades did not interest the doctor. His duty was more important than honor.
Meaning: a risky business decision or project that promises profit. Often used as a verb which means to go somewhere possibly dangerous.
Example: The young man’s business venture was not well thought-out. He might lose all his money.
Example: The explorers ventured out into the wild jungle where no man had been before.
Example: We nervously ventured onto the frozen ice of the lake.
Meaning: to adapt, adjust, become used to a new situation or weather.
Usage: often used when talking about weather or situations that are not familiar.
Example: John has been acclimating to a new work and study schedule. He seems to always be exhausted.
Example: The man had lived in tropical climates his whole life so it was difficult for him to acclimate to the arctic weather.
Meaning: to not have energy, alertness or activity.
Usage: often used to talk about people or animals that do no have energy, feel weak or sleepy.
Example: Frogs often become lethargic after a cold night.
Example: Jane felt lethargic after eating a buffet dinner with her family. She couldn’t even get up for dessert.
Meaning: something that causes harm, misery or death.
Usage: often used to talk about things that cause us discomfort or inconvenience and are not really as serious as the true meaning.
Example: The humidity in Hong Kong is the bane of my existence.
Example: Rodents, insects and birds are a bane to those who tend gardens.
Meaning: to argue about something, usually a price.
Usage: often used to negotiate a price where those involved try to get the best deal for themselves.
Example: Mary haggled over the price of the souvenir before the shop keeper finally gave her the discount she wanted.
Example: My mother haggles like a professional negotiator. She got that car for half the price.
Meaning: describes someone or something that is merry and cheerful.
Usage: an older word that can be used to describe festive, happy ocasions as well as people.
Example: The happy and jocund faces of the children opening Christmas presents filled our hearts with joy.
Example: It was a jocund morning; all the animals were busy greeting the early spring that came after a bitter winter.
Meaning: a special way of doing something.
Usage: someone who has a special talent, usually innate or natural. It can refer to a positive or negative ability.
Example: Peter has a special knack for talking nonsense about topics he doesn’t know much about.
Example: The young buck had a knack for getting into the King’s garden and pantry, feasting on the royal vegetables and even gnawing on the cured ham.
Meaning: a manner that is usually light, humorous and not serious.
Usage: often used to make a sad or somber situation a little less serious which might be inappropriate.
Example: Matt told a joke at the funeral to inject some levity, but it was a little too soon for humor.
Example: Trying to provide a moment of levity and brighten up her mood, Stephen showed his seriously ill daughter a funny video about cats.
Meaning: a very small difference in color, meaning or feeling.
Usage: often used to talk about something that has a subtle, but important detail or difference.
Example: Being aware of the nuances and intonations of native English speakers will help you improve fluency.
Example: Amazing singers have a nuance to their voices which goes beyond singing the notes perfectly.
Meaning: to do something on purpsoe; intentional action.
Usage: often used to describe an action done by choice and sometimes in a careful and thoughtful manner.
Example The driver deliberately hit the cyclist in a fit of road rage.
Example: Scared of causing a fire, Jackie deliberately unplugged all of his many electronics before going on his holiday.
Meaning: something that makes you very annoyed or displeased.
Usage: often used to describe a situation that makes you unhappy or irritated.
Example: Sitting next to a crying baby on a long flight can be an exasperating experience.
Example: Being in a traffic jam can be an exasperating experience for any driver.
Meaning: so loud that you can’t hear anything else.
Usage: often used to describe something that has great volume or intensity.
Example: The thunderous fireworks in the sky shook the buildings.
Example: There was a thunderous ovation from the audience after the performance.
Meaning: easily fooled or tricked because of being too trusting.
Usage: often used to describe someone who believes things too quickly and without thought.
Example: Don’t be a gullible tourist that gets tricked by people who don’t mind cheating others.
Example: The young girl was gullible enough to believe his riduculous story.
Meaning: a job, duty or responsibility that you have.
Usage: often used to talk about a requirement or payment.
Example: The only obligation students have is to perform their best in school.
Example: Parents have the obligation to take care of their children to the best of their ability.
Meaning: something that has uncontrolled excitement or emotion and has little order.
Usage: often used to describe someone’s wild and quick movements or a desperate attempt to do something.
Example: The frantic mother searched everywhere for her lost child.
Example: Last minute Christmas shoppers created a frantic scene at the shopping centre.
Meaning: something that becomes visible or noticeable; makes an appearance.
Usage: often used to describe someone or something that can now be seen or comes into view.
Example: Halloween decorations and costumes manifest each year in October.
Example: The anger on the man’s face manifested after the rude server spilled his coffee and didn’t apologize.
Meaning: someone that walks in a confident and maybe arrogant way.
Usage: often used to describe someone that acts/walks in a way that is overly-assured or proud. Can also be used as a verb.
Example The rapper got out of his million dollar car with a swagger that no one at the party could ignore.
Example: Michelle swaggered through the school halls after she aced her exams.
Meaning: someone that shows skill at movement or moving their body; especially their hands.
Usage: often used to describe someone with athletic ability or gracefulness. Also used to describe skill of thought and mental ability.
Example: The football star’s deft handling of the ball made the defense look amateurish.
Example: The lawyer was so deft at prosecuting criminal cases, it was easy to get a conviction.
Meaning: to get strength or health back to a normal level.
Usage: often used when someone needs to recover or take rest in order to get healthy or continue doing something. Can also mean to get money back.
Example: It took me a few days to recuperate after my battle with the flu.
Example: Allow your body to recuperate after any type of vigorous exercise.
Meaning: small in amount, quality or extent.
Usage: often used to talk about a small portion(s) of something that is often not enough.
Example: People with a limited supply of food try to survive on meager portions.
Example: William lives off a meager salary so he doesn’t have any extra money.
Example: The meager rainstorm brought little rain.
Meaning: describes the ups and downs of someone’s past. In other words, the good and bad performances. Also used to describe squares with alternating colors.
Usage: often used to talk about someone’s career or life events marked with achievements and failures.
Example: The businessman had a checkered past when it came to delivering what he promised to his clients.
Example: The student’s checkered performance in school leads to increased pressure to succeed.
Meaning: to habitually tell the truth and to be precisely accurate.
Usage: someone who is veracious speaks the truth – like your brutally honest friend who always lets you know what they think.
Example: The veracious witness gave an unbiased description of the events that led to the accident.
Example: The reporter gave a veracious account of the details and facts that led to the political scandal.
Meaning: means lacking intelligence, silly or foolish.
Usage: describes someone or something that is unintelligent or doesn’t require the use of mental effort. Often used in a smug or self-satisfied way.
Example: “In the era of President Trump, politics is reduced to a fatuous, debilitating spectacle.” – Washington Post – 12 August 2018
Example: Expecting students to memorize stuff they’ll soon forget is fatuous.
Meaning: a strong preference or tendency.
Usage: when you want to talk about a strong liking, you might use the phrase “penchant for”.
Example: If you have a penchant for hamburgers, you might eat them every day or wish you did.
Example: Millenials have a penchant for using the “share economy”. That’s why sites and apps like Airbnb and Uber are so popular.
Meaning: an action that follows after or is the result.
Usage: often used when you want to talk about something that is likely to happen after another action.
Example: If you say something rude to someone, an argument may ensure due to your words.
Example: A struggle might ensure if a thief grabs a purse.
Example: A discussion may ensure if two sides disagree.
Meaning: describes something that is lacking grace, inconvenient, not easy or has an awkward appearance.
Usage: use it to talk about people and things that are strange, complicated or clumsy.
Example: Some say that the giraffe is an ungainly creature.
Example: The notch on the top of some modern phones is an ungainly and lazy solution to removing large bezels and keeping front facing cameras.
Meaning: growth, success, development, the act of waving or an extra touch.
Usage: has many meanings, but often used for something that thrives or prospers.
Example: The battle royale style of game has flourished in the past year and a half with massive success coming from PUBG and Fortnite.
Example: The garden flourished with color in the springtime.
Meaning: describes conditions as hot, humid and stifling. Also describes attractiveness or passion.
Usage: when the weather is sultry, imagine sweltering heat. When someone does a sultry dance, it may be attractive to you.
Example: The sultry summer weather in Hong Kong makes me reach for a tall glass of iced lemon tea.
Example: The actress gave an accurate and sultry performance of the pop star she was portraying.