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English Lounge

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Dre Childs
Kirsty Major Animal names that can also be verbs
What do the words badger, snake, ferret and fly have in common?
They are names of creatures, but they are also verbs or parts of phrasal verbs.
The reason this came up in one of my lessons was the word "badger", which is both an animal and part of a verb construction. Badgers are related to weasels, they have greyish-brown fur, and although they eat both plants and animals, they mainly feed on earthworms. If you badger someone into doing something, you keep pestering them or you keep on about the thing with the hope that they'll get tired of your nagging and give in. This isn't something that badgers do, but sometimes people make dogs do it to badgers in a cruel activity called badger baiting.
The same works with the word "snake". You can have a snake that slithers along the ground, or a river can snake its way through the forest, flowing in a curvy line.
Anyone who followed my "wolf week" posts on Facebook will know that as well as being one of my favourite animals, the word "wolf" can also be part of a verb construction. If you wolf something down, you eat it very quickly.
I talk about these words as well as a few others in this podcast episode. You can listen to it here:
or you can look for English with Kirsty on iTunes and Stitcher.
Kirsty Major Food idioms
This podcast episode is all about food idioms. I talk about 13 of them in total and I'd be interested to know if you can think of any more!
to have bigger fish to fry
If you have bigger fish to fry, you have more important things to do or think about. You don't have time to waste on unimportant things.
Fish out of water
If you feel like a fish out of water, you are uncomfortable in a place or situation because you feel that you don't belong there. For example, this could be because you don't know how to act, the experience is new for you, or the people around you are different from you.
A watched kettle never boils
This means that, if you're waiting for something to happen, it feels as though time is passing more slowly, and the thing you are waiting for will never happen. We don't think about how long it takes for the kettle to boil, but if you're in a hurry and you're waiting for it, it feels like a long time!
You can find out about the other 10 food idioms on the show notes page, where you can also read the explanations:
Helen Waldron A German-English translation dilemma...
Helen Waldron Words which do not exist in English (and more)
Me again - but this blog post is relevant to English and German speakers, as I try to translate such words as the dreaded "spießig" and divulge my own favourite German words.
Hope you enjoy it!


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