Following the Star*

*A breeze  Something that is very easy. (See usage example in This is confusing. Isn’t it?!)

*A play on words  A playful way to use words by changing a word or the use of a well-known expression, or saying (See usage example in A, An, or The?…THAT is the question)

*Account of  This phrase is another way to say “story” or report (See usage example in Comfort Food, Words, and Women )

*Akin This means like, or almost the same as. (See usage example in Tough Topics: Aging and Death)

*All CAPS = all capital, or uppercase letters. (See usage example in Did I Forget to Mention…Ellipsis? )

*Amen! Literally, “Let it be so!” This word is used at the end of prayers, but also to show support for what someone else has just said. So, “Amen, brother/sister!*” is the equivalent of “You can say THAT again!”

*Art of something indicates a skill which can be mastered.  We often talk about the art of teaching, the art of cooking, the art of listening, or the art of making friends or money.  How have you used, or heard this expression used? Let everyone know by commenting below! (See usage example in The Art of Small Talk)

*Bad a***s As described in Cursing: Using inappropriate words appropriately!, curse words also called profanity is sometimes written by using an asterisk (*) instead of a letter.  The term bad ass means a strong person who is generally fearless, often stands up to authority, and lives by their own rules.

*Beside myself  To be beside oneself is to be extremely upset to the point that you can no longer think rationally or behave normally. (See usage example in Just Peachy, A love story)

*Break down This phrase has multiple uses and has different meanings in different contexts. On my home page, it means to simplify, to break it into understandable pieces.

*Brother/Sister Frequently these terms are used by Christians to refer to other Christian believers, but they can also be used generally as friendly terms, like “bro” (short for “brother”), dude, and bud.     + An observation: “Sister” is the only word in this group that can be used safely with women!  My daughter used the term “dude” across gender lines, but I made her call me “Your dude-ness” (like the title for royalty: “Your highness”)!

*Call someone out* (also, “call someone on something”) This means to bring attention to something someone is hiding, or bring attention to a certain behavior (they may or may not be aware of).

*Can I have a witness? (also, May I have a witness?)  This is a preacher’s call for the congregation* or whomever he’s talking to, to respond “Amen!”*(See usage example in Lessons Learned while Teaching English on-line)

*Cerebral  Having to do with the mind or intellect. (See usage example in To and Fro with To, For, and From)

*Check out often means “look at” (See usage example in Look! Watch out!) Check out has other meanings: 2. it describes paying for something at a cash register, 3. it also means a complete lack of attention to what is happening (similar to daydreaming).  For example: “Ten minutes into the politician’s rant*, I realized I had checked out and had no idea what he was even talking about.”

*Clean this word as an adjective means “appropriate” and “right”: clean living= means making healthy AND moral choices (doing the right things, the right way) (See usage example in Comfort Food, Words, and Women )

*Coined this is a verb which means “to invent a word” (See usage example in Comfort Food, Words, and Women)

*Come easy this phrasal verb describes something that happens without much (or any) effort. It is seen in the idiom “Easy come, easy go,” which means that things that come without effort are often lost easily as well. (See usage example in Talking Naturally about Nature)

*Comfort zone This expression refers to the conditions and behaviors that we are used to and comfortable with.  New experiences which push or challenge us are sometimes described as outside our comfort zone. (See usage example in A, An, or The?…THAT is the question, and Tough Topics: Aging and Death)

*Communion  The sacred ritual of sharing bread and “the fruit of the vine” (grape juice or wine, depending on the church) to remind us of Jesus. He asked His followers to remember Him in this manner at the Last Supper (as recorded in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke).

*Congregation means a church audience. People who have congregated (= gathered) in one location.

*Don’t get me wrong! Don’t misunderstand me, which also means, Please understand me (see usage example in Frickin’ Fricatives)

*(to be) Down Being down means being depressed or in a defeated condition. (See usage example in Just Peachy, A love story)

*Easy peasy This expression is just a fun way to say “easy.”  We also say, “easy breezy” just because it rhymes and is fun to say! Try it! (see usage example in Take Your Lunch and Eat it Too!)

*Exaggerated This expression means to “stretch the truth”. To say something is more than it is (see *sensationalize, and usage example in Comfort Food, Words, and Women )

*Fancy This word has a variety of uses and meanings.  The most common use is as an adjective meaning elaborate as in “a fancy watch,” or meaning fine or expensive as in “a fancy restaurant.” It is also used in the expression, “Fancy meeting you here!” to indicate surprise.  My grandparents used to say, “Fancy that!” to indicate surprise, but this is an old-fashioned use.  Be careful because the word “fancy” is sometimes  used as a slur* referring to homosexual men. (See usage example in We’ve Got to Stop Meeting Like This!)

* For all intents and purposes This phrase means “in practice,” “essentially,” or “basically/fundamentally.” (See more synonyms at Thesaurus.com and usage example in Let Me Qualify That! [Qualifying Statements])

*Frame in a sequence of drawings or photographs, such as a movie reel, a strip of photograph negatives, slides, or comic strip drawings, each individual picture is a frame.  In comic strips a panel is a synonym for frame. (See usage example in Say it isn’t So! )

*Frickin’ The word frickin’ is a euphemism for the F-word, see  Cursing: Using inappropriate words appropriately! and usage examples in Frickin’ Fricatives.

*G’pa An abbreviation for grandpa. This is also what the grandkids call my husband.   Yes, I’m G’mama! (See usage example in To and Fro with To, For, and From)

*Gazillion A whole lot! Not a real number but it is akin* to millions or billions. (See usage example in Shoot!)

*Good for you! This expression has two uses.  It can be “taken at face value” (interpreted literally) to mean, “you’ve done well.”  It is also used sarcastically to mean, “I am so unimpressed.” (See usage example in Especially Strange!)

*Grab something to eat This means to get some food (usually fast food). The use of “grab” gives a sense of picking up something quickly.  Grab is often used to mean pick something up en route to/from someplace else. For example: “Could you grab me a cup of coffee while you’re up?”, “I’m going to swing by* the store to grab a few things.” (see usage example in Are You Coming or Going?)

*Gym-hopping The word “hopping” is used as a suffix here (a suffix is something added to the end of a word that changes its meaning).  When added to the word “gym” this refers to someone who is hopping/going from gym to gym. (See usage example in A, An, or The?…THAT is the question)

*Hand-in-Hand This expression describes things that work well together or that are often found together. Example: “Art and creativity go hand in hand.”

*Handle is verb meaning to manage or deal with (See usage example in This is confusing. Isn’t it?!)

*He says, She says This expression refers to the conflicting stories or perceptions between a man and a woman (See usage example in  Body Language: Expressions Speak Louder Than Words )

*Home-cooking  Literally food cooked at home.  Also called “homemade” (see usage example in Comfort Food, Words, and Women )

*Huh? This “word” is used to indicate confusion, or a lack of understanding.  Sounds which are used to express emotions are called an interjections (see usage example in The Challenge of Using “Challenging” )

*I’ll say! means yes! The expression is a little old-fashioned, Nowadays you’re more likely to hear: “You’ve got that right!,” or simply, “Word!”  (See usage example in This is confusing. Isn’t it?!)

*In a way In a certain manner, sort of (see usage example in Let Me Qualify That! [Qualifying Statements])

*In and of themselves Independently. (See usage example in Shoot!)

*It hit me! To have a sudden realization.  (See usage example in The Word? Word!)

*Keep in (something) in mind means to remember something. (See usage example in Especially Strange!)

*Let’s say this means pretend.  It is used to introduce a hypothetical, unreal condition. (See usage example in Let Me Qualify That! [Qualifying Statements])

*Lingo means the special words and phrases used almost exclusively by a group.  Many churchgoers have words and phrases that have unique meanings.  The same is true for teenagers, and people working in certain industries (like the medical field, or education). +my advice: If you are a newcomer to a group’s lingo, “call them on it!”* In other words, let them know they are using words or abbreviations that are not understood by everyone (maybe there is someone else who isn’t sure what is being said)!  (See usage examples in Lessons Learned while Teaching English on-line)

*Lol! This is an acronym, a series of letters each representing a word, which stands for “Laugh out loud!” (See usage example in Let Me Qualify That! [Qualifying Statements])

*Look (something) up means to research or find In a book.  The expression “look me up” dates back to when telephone books were used to find people’s phone numbers and addresses. (See usage example in Not Scary)

*Might as well This expression is used before suggesting something that makes sense (see this usage example in Take Your Lunch and Eat it Too!).  Might as well can also mean that the outcome of something doesn’t matter, e.g. “I’ve already blown my diet today, so I might as well have another slice of pizza.” Finally, might as well can be used to compare one condition to another, e.g. “I might as well have been invisible; no one noticed me.”

*More often than not means usually or generally. (See usage example in The Art of Small Talk)

*Panel   In comic strips a panel is a synonym for frame. (See usage example in Say it isn’t So! )

*Q & A These abbreviations are used for “Question” and “Answer” (See usage example in This is confusing. Isn’t it?!)

*Raise concerns  Raise in this phrase means to bring up in a discussion.  So, to raise concerns means to express concern or doubt about something. (See usage example in Just Peachy, A love story)

*Rally cry, also a battle cry.  This is a phrase, or message which inspires or motivates people to rally (=come together)to accomplish something  (see usage example in The Challenge of Using “Challenging” )

*Rant, also “Going off” A passionate (often angry) critical lecture/speech. (see “tirade”)

*Recap To give a quick summary (short for recapitulate, which is rarely used!)  (See usage example in Rest Assured I’ll Reassure You

*Refresher A review of previously learned material. (See usage example in Did I Forget to Mention…Ellipsis? )

*Rock the boat This expression means to upset the balance.  A similar expression is “to make waves.” (See usage example on the Notions page)

*Run into Also, bump into. These expressions mean to meet or encounter someone (or something) unexpectedly.  (See usage example in We’ve Got to Stop Meeting Like This!)

*Rule of thumb A general principle which can guide decisions and behavior (see usage example in Frickin’ Fricatives)

*Scold means to criticize harshly.  Like a mother scolding her child for running into the street. (See usage example in Look! Watch out!)

*Second-guessing is to have doubts after  decisions have been made or to question someone else’s actions. (See usage example in The Word? Word!)

*Sensationalized means to make something more dramatic, exciting, and provocative that it is.  Also called “stretching the truth” (See usage example in Comfort Food, Words, and Women )

*Set the tone means to determine the over-all feeling of an interaction.  For example, “His quiet, calming presence set the tone for an enjoyable evening in spite of the day’s earlier chaos.” (See usage examples in Cursing: Using inappropriate words appropriately!)

*Slur An insulting term or statement. “The disc jockey’s show was cancelled after a racist slur sparked a probe.” (See *Fancy above)

*Small talk means casual conversation.(See usage example in The Art of Small Talk)

*So-called  means said by others, or alleged.  The use of this phrase suggests that the speaker or author doesn’t agree with the term which follows.  Additionally, putting the term in quotes further emphasizes that it is someone else’s words (see usage example in Frickin’ Fricatives)

*Speak one’s mind  is to state one’s opinion or thoughts directly and plainly.   (See usage example in Tough Topics: Aging and Death)

*Spot To see (especially something that is hard to find). (See usage example in Shoot!)

*Stand someone up to fail to keep an appointment or date with someone and fail to cancel or notify them of your inability to meet them (see usage example in Say it isn’t So!)

*Stare death in the face means to come to the brink (=the edge) of death and survive.  (See usage example in Tough Topics: Aging and Death)

*Stem from means to come from, or result from. (See usage example in Talking Naturally about Nature)

*Subbed To act as a substitute for. As in, “I subbed for Mrs. Decouto today.” (See usage example in To and Fro with To, For, and From)

*Swing by means to stop somewhere briefly, usually on your way to another destination. For example: “I’ll swing by your office after lunch to sign the contract.”

A switch hitter*  This baseball term means a player that can bat both right and left-handed. (Referenced in  A, An, or The?…THAT is the question)

*Tack on This phrasal verb means to “add to.”  (See usage example in This is confusing. Isn’t it?!)

*Take heart means take courage, or be encouraged. (See usage example in Not Scary)

*Take on it means opinion, or perspective (See usage examples in the bottom sections of posts throughout this blog)

*Take the Lord’s name in vain this means to say “God” or “Jesus Christ” (or simply Jesus, or Christ) when you are not referring to God (Christians believe that Jesus was 100% God AND 100% human, AND that he defeated death and is alive with God the Father.  So, saying “Jesus” is the same as saying “God” to a Christian believer).  Saying God’s name casually is worse than cursing to many believers. When God gave the first “laws” to Moses, “Do not take the name of the LORD, your God in vain” was one of them.

*Taking it out of context this means to quote something without regard to the originally intended meaning.  So, if someone quotes me as having said “I don’t like red roses,” but they didn’t mention that “Red Roses” was the name of a racehorse I was talking about, they would be taking my statement out of context. And, you would have been misled, because I love red roses! (See usage example in This is confusing. Isn’t it?!)

*Taunt To tease or provoke. (See usage example in The Word? Word!)

*Tell, Tells something which reveals something. For example card players try to learn their opponents tells so they can tell when their opponent is bluffing (See usage example in Say it isn’t So!)

*Tell it like it is To speak directly, honestly (see usage example in Let Me Qualify That! [Qualifying Statements])

*”The best defense is a good offense.” This frequently used expression (often quoted when talking about sports or business strategy) means that it is better to be proactive (making things happen) than it is to be reactive. (See usage example in The Art of Small Talk)

*”The life of the party” is what we call someone who keeps everyone entertained.  They are usually good at making people laugh. (See usage example in The Art of Small Talk)

*Thee/ Thou  These words were used to mean “you” in 17th century English, the language of the King James Version Bible. (See usage example in A, An, or The…THAT is the question! )

*This very thing   Very in this context means exact.  Very, can be used as an adjective in front of nouns in place of exact: “This is the very apartment I’ve been looking for.” (See usage example in Rest Assured I’ll Reassure You, and Tough Topics: Aging and Death)

*Tired When used to describe a phrase, it means “over-used” and cliche’. (See usage example in We’ve Got to Stop Meeting Like This!)

*Touchy This means sensitive, volatile, something that has to be handled carefully. (See usage example in Tough Topics: Aging and Death)

*Turn (something) around  To change the trajectory of something toward a positive direction.  (See usage example in Just Peachy, A love story)

*Umm Hmm Not a real word, this is called an interjection.  Like the expressions, “Yeah” (also spelled yah, and yea), yep, and  “Uhh huh” they all expresses agreement and are synonymous with yes and okay.  (See usage example in Did I Forget to Mention…Ellipsis? )

*Wanna In grammar, this is known as a “reduction.”  It means “want to.” Personally, I hesitated to use this word.  It is being overused.  In professional or formal situations this pronunciation would not be appropriate. The ending /t/ in “want” links to the /t/ in to, so a natural and always acceptable pronunciation is “WAHNtuh.” (The stress syllable is in ALL CAPS*)

*What the *? I chose this section title in an attempt to be clever, informative, and fun! Even though I don’t typically use curse words (I’ll post about this later).  Written curse words are sometimes represented by symbols *$@%^#@!.  It doesn’t matter which symbols are used, although generally there are at least four or five. Additionally, the asterisk can be used to substitute for actual letters in a curse word. For example, the expression “What the F***?! is probably familiar to all my readers! (See usage examples in Lessons Learned while Teaching English on-line)

*Whoop! Whoop!   A representation of the sound of cheering often accompanied bythe gesture of drawing big circles with one’s fist in the air. (See usage examples in Not Scary)

*Word! This is an expression of affirmation meaning “I agree”, or “You said it!”, or “Right on!” which is short for “right on target”= exactly right! (See usage example in The Word? Word!)

*Yep!, Yeah, Yah, Uh huh, Mmm hmm, I’ll say!, YES!  These are various ways of answering “yes”, “affirmative!” That’s right! You are correct! (See usage examples in This is confusing. Isn’t it?!)

  My Virtual English

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