Tag Archives: adjective

Swanky

swanky meaning

Today’s linguistic revelation came from… a pot of yogurt. I never win anything in these contests, but at least I can learn a word or two – that’s my consolation prize!

A ‘swanky‘ hotel stay is the one that’s going to be ‘luxurious and expensive’, according to the Oxford Dictionary, but totally free for you if you’re lucky enough to win it!

Here are some ‘swanky’ examples:

– The latest swanky spa to make a splash on the London scene is Notting Hill’s Hydro Healing, where treatments to help with common ‘lifestyle disorders’ (I think that means tiredness, stress and overflowing toxins) have an aquatic focus (The Guardian).

– The outlook is bleak for swanky stores, much better for discount chains (The Economist).

– The chink of wine glasses, the clatter of cutlery and the chatter of low voices fill the warm air of the latest swanky restaurant to open in London (The Economist).

 

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Tenuous

tenuous meaning

Photo credit: Francesca Alviani (flickr)

Today I was listening to my favourite radio show on BBC 6 Music – presented by Cerys Matthews – which was dedicated to Norwegian Constitution Day. One of my best friends lives in Norway (hello, Sasha!) and I know that it’s a big deal over there. So Cerys was picking tunes – not necessarily from Norwegian singers or bands – but those that had some links with Norway and listeners had to guess what the link was. As answers came in about Elvis Presley’s song, she said these were all good guesses, but the link she had in mind was more ‘tenuous‘. So, this is my new word for today: a tenuous link is the one that is rather weak or perhaps even far-fetched.

Here are a few more examples:

– Every night, it seems we read of yet another instance of a local trader virtually forced out of business by the hike in car park charges or, however tenuous the link, the introduction of car parking charges during the evening (Oxford Dictionary)

– The Plantagenets’ family connections to the king are far more tenuous: Richard had no surviving children but five siblings, and now could have several million similarly distant descendants (The Guardian).

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Diary-intolerant

diary-intolerant

Photo credit: oldragbaggers.com

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, at some point in the morning I usually listen to Shaun Keaveny’s breakfast show on BBC 6 Music, which never fails to cheer me up.

Today he mentioned he had so many things to do this week (just like me!) that he was struggling to fit in a lunch with a friend, who was also very busy. In fact, that friend of Shaun’s has developed ‘a condition’, which manifests itself in high blood pressure, increased heart beat, etc. whenever the guy tries to write up his to-do list for the coming week. The condition is called ‘diary-intolerance‘. At this point I nearly choked on my muesli! What an excellent pun!

I won’t bother with examples this time – I don’t think there would be many – and I really need to get back to my work. I also need to make sure I don’t look into my diary too often – it’s becoming too scary!

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Losable… and other -able adjectives

losable

Photo credit: funnyjunk.com

What an eventful week… Yesterday I taught my first Russian class at a language school – it was a new experience for me as so far I have only taught individual students. It is also a men-only group, so it was very funny when they arrived and got their little notebooks out and said they felt like they were back to school. Then they started comparing notebooks and telling each other where they got them from – some ‘stole’ theirs from work, while some had to go to a stationary shop. The guy who came with a brand-new notebook said he didn’t know whether to buy a large A4 one or a smaller (A5) size, but decided to go for the smaller one, which, they all agreed, was more portable, but also more ‘losable‘! What an adorable word!

I’ll be honest – I do have a strange fascination with these made-up-on-the-spot words ending in ‘-able’.

When I watched ‘Closer’ for the first time, there was a scene in which Jude Law said about Nathalie Portman ‘She’s completely lovable, and completely unleavable‘, and it just blew me away. I guess one of the reasons I love English so much is that it is so flexible and it lends itself to puns and wordplay and making things up and really encourages a playful attitude to a language.

I am really looking forward to the next lesson in the hope that my students learn some Russian and I maybe learn some an English word or two!

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Gobby, continued

I often have this with new words – I come across one and think, hm, maybe it’s not that common, maybe I’ll hardly ever hear it again and I almost don’t write it down. But being the nerdy type that I am, most of the time I do. And a few days (sometimes even hours) later this word appears out of nowhere again.

Next day after I heard ‘gobby‘ at a meet-up with colleagues, I was reading Londoners by Craig Taylor in bed, and, sure enough, there was the word ‘gobby‘ staring at me from the page: ‘And we were both precocious and gobby and forthright, very opinionated’.

This book is a brilliant collection of stories of and interviews with Londoners – a truly enjoyable read whether you love London, hate London or cannot quite make up your mind.

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Gobby

gobby meaning

Photo credit: scarlettlondon.com

Yesterday I went to a meet-up with fellow translators and what a nice bunch of people they are! I met quite a few new people and really enjoyed myself. Towards the end I was talking to a guy who has been working as a teacher at at one of local schools (for girls), and the general conclusion was that when they are young they behave themselves and don’t cause much trouble, but teenage girls often become gobby. Now, that was a genuinely new word for me, even though I knew exactly what it meant because having lived close to a local school I’ve seen quite a few of them.

According to Oxford Dictionary, ‘gobby‘ means ‘tending to talk too loudly and in a blunt or opinionated way’.

Here’re a few examples:

– At convent school, I was always untidy and gobby and got everything wrong (Oxford Dictionary).

– Adele Adkins is a gobby, funny and extravagantly talented 19-year-old whose massive voice is going to make her the biggest singing star of 2008. And, no, she’s not going to be the new Amy Winehouse (The Guardian)

– Those are the teenage girls I love to write about in all their stroppy, sweet, bitchy, gobby, shy, pain in the arse, multi-faceted glory. Because when you’re a teenage girl, being difficult is your default setting (The Guardian).

 

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Toe-curling

toe-curling phrase

Photo credit: baby.about.com

Yesterday I got a text message from my friend to say that she has had a baby and I was welcome to visit her at the hospital. I popped in during the visiting hours (rushed in, really, after a trip to Bath) and spent at least half an hour admiring her and her newborn daughter – they both looked amazing! It turned out they were about to be discharged and a nurse came by to go through some important information and as I missed my chance to say goodbye before that I was hanging around and overheard their conversation about breastfeeding. The nurse said it could be ‘toe-curling‘ in the beginning, but then new mothers get used to it.

This was a genuinely new word for me, which means ‘very embarrassing or excessively sentimental’ (Oxford Dictionaries).

Here are some examples:

– The self-satisfaction and smugness of the text is toe-curling and its frequent sickening doses of sentimentality are like being forced-fed chopped liver with chicken fat (Oxford Dictionaries).

-I am sitting across a table from my sister-in-law, outside a small Italian restaurant, reading her a letter. As experiences go, it’s toe-curling. I am telling her everything I’m grateful to her for. It’s like a bad episode of Oprah. Surely us Brits aren’t built for this stuff? But according to Action for Happiness, little things like this can really improve our lives (The Guardian).

– More toe-curling attempts to make opera ‘cool’? Stop it, pleads Tom Service – it’s doing just fine as it is (The Guardian).

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In good (or not so good) nick

in a good nick meaning

Photo credit: calliopegifts.co.uk

Today I went for my regular volunteering shift at the local bookshop – to strengthen my willpower by resisting the temptation to buy more books, to get my weekly fix of chocolate biscuits, to spend time around some lovely people and… hopefully to hear some more cool phrases.

A customer came in asking whether we had any more books by Marina Lewycka apart from A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian that we had in the shop. He said he had seen another book, but it was in such a bad nick that he didn’t get it.

I hear this phrase – ‘in good/bad nick‘ – from other volunteers very often. ‘Nick‘ essentially means ‘condition’.

You can also say that a book that is in a bad nick is ‘tatty‘.

I must say that in the days when I was buying books from charity shops like there was no tomorrow, I did buy some tatty ones, but I ended up donating them back to charity shops as I never read them. Much as I love books – all kind of books – I find that they need to look appealing.

I still find that I have hoarded way too many books and I need to slowly work my way through them so that I could buy new books!

This is how my current ‘to-read list’ looks like (or at least its English section – there’re at least as many books in other languages waiting to be read and they make me feel bad):

bookshelf shelfie

And while we’re on the subject of books and shelves… I recently came across the word ‘shelfie‘, i.e. ‘selfie of your bookshelf’. Here are some shelfies from Guardian readers.

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