Vocabulary in News


arraign: charge, prosecute, indict, incriminate
He was arraigned for criminally abetting a traitor.

besiege: surround, enclose, encircle, close in on, hem in
The main part of the army moved to besiege the town.

brandish: wave, display, exhibit, flaunt
He appeared in the lounge brandishing a knife.

brouhaha: hubbub, uproar, commotion, turbulence
The brouhaha of the crowd startled even the players.

callousness: heartlessness, insensitivity, coldness
I find your statement breathtaking in its callousness and cynicism.

clad: dressed, clothed, arrayed, draped, attired
He was clad casually in slacks and a light blue golf shirt.

conjugal: marital, nuptial, spousal, hymeneal
A woman’s refusal to allow her husband his conjugal rights was once grounds for divorce.

disparaging: contemptuous, insulting, derogatory, disdainful, contumelious
“He was alleged to have made disparaging remarks.”

flak: criticism, condemnation, censure, disapproval
Such an unpopular decision is bound to draw a lot of flak from the press.

flounder: dither, struggle, falter, be in the dark
The president is floundering, trying to jump-start his campaign.

furore: commotion, fury, disturbance, frenzy, hullabaloo
The government’s decision to raise taxes has caused a great furore.

hitherto: previously, so far, till now, heretofore
The polytechnics have hitherto been at an unfair disadvantage.

imperious: haughty, commanding, arrogant, overbearing, tyrannous
She gave him a witheringly imperious look.

laconic: terse, brief, to the point, concise, succinct, pithy
President’s laconic answer and the demeanor were slammed as being cynical.

lethargy: sluggishness, inertia, sloth, stupor, dullness, lassitude, languor
He was upset with police lethargy and lack of vehicles for patrolling.

magniloquent: pompous, lofty, pretentious, exalted
His magniloquent speech was hard to comprehend.

munch: chew, champ, crunch, chomp, scrunch
Sheep were munching their way through a yellow carpet of leaves.

petrified: terrified, stunned, appalled, aghast, dumbfounded, scared stiff
He was petrified at the thought of having to make a speech.

pusillanimous: cowardly, timid, timorous, lily-livered
The authorities are too pusillanimous to deal with this situation.

swivel: turn, spin, revolve, rotate, pivot, pirouette
He swivelled round to face Sarah.


as useful as a chocolate teapot: of no practical use
Although this resolution is about as useful as a chocolate teapot, yet we will vote in its favour.
crank out a paper: write a paper or essay in a mechanical way
I had to crank out a new paper every week to pass this course.
day late and a dollar short: late and ill-prepared
You seem to show up a day late and a dollar short all the time. You need to get organized.
doubting Thomas: someone who is sceptical and does not believe something without proof
I was a real doubting Thomas. I didn’t believe the stuff would work.
for the birds: meaningless or worthless.
This television programme is for the birds.
get walking papers: get dismissal orders
After fight with the manager, I’m terrified that I’m going to get my walking papers.
have bigger (or other) fish to fry: to have more important things to do
I won’t waste time on your question. I have bigger fish to fry.
kick the bucket: to die.
Ali is too young to kick the bucket!
play hooky: to fail to attend school or some other event
Why aren’t you in school? Are you playing hooky?

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