Chapter 1 Functional Vocabulary – Advanced Communication Skills Laboratory Manual


Functional Vocabulary


This chapter attempts to educate you on the importance of vocabulary and its uses. An enriching vocabulary is not only inevitable in today's world but also a master key to success. A rich vocabulary gives you abundant chances to express your ideas in different ways, and simultaneously gives scope to develop your ideas. This chapter introduces you to various kinds of words. We did not design any tests as we believe that the teachers should take liberty in setting tests and analysing the students' performance.


The root is the basic part of a word. It shows its main meaning and other parts can be added to it. Table 1.1 lists the roots, their meanings and the various words formed using these roots.


Table 1.1 Important Roots

Root Meaning Examples
Ago, actus I do Agency, agility, active, action
Amo I love Amorous, amiable
Amgious A corner Angle, triangle
Anima, animus Life, mind Animal, animate, magnanimous, unanimous
Annus Year Annum
Anthropos A man Misanthropy, anthropology
Appello I call Appeal, repeal, appellation
Aqua Water Aquatic, aqueduct
Artis Art Artistic, artifice
Aster A star Asterisk, astronomy
Audio I hear Audible
Bene Well Benefaction, benediction, beneficent
Bios Life Biomedical, biography
Brevis Short Brevity, abbreviation
Caedo I cut, kill Suicide, patricide
Candeo I shine Candle, incandescent
Carnis Flesh Carnivorous, carnage, carnal
Cede, cessum I go, yield Cessation, concede, proceed
Centrum Centre Epicentre, concentrate
Centum A hundred Centenary, century
Chronos Time Chronology, anachronous
Civis Citizen Civilization
Cordis The heart Cordial, concord
Corpus The body Corpse, corpulent, corporation
Credo I believe Credibility, credulity
Culpa A fault Culprit, culpable
Demos The people Democracy
Dictus I say Dictation, predict, verdict
Dominus A lord Domineering, dominating
Duo Two Dual, duplicate
Esse To be Essence, largesse
Fido I trust Confide, bona fide
Finis An end Finish, finite
Floris A flower Flora, flourish
Fortis Strong Fortitude, fortress
Fundus The bottom Fundamentals, foundation
Gamos Marriage Bigamy, monogamy, polygamy
Geo Earth Geocentric, geography
Grapho I write Autograph, calligraphy, graphology
Gratia Favour Ingratitude, ingratiate, grateful
Gravis Heavy Gravity, gravitational
Habeo I have Habit, habituate, prohibit, inhibit
Homo A man Homage, homicide, humane
Impero I command Imperial, imperative
Judicis A judge Judicial, adjudicate, judicious
Kosmos The world Cosmopolitan
Kratos Strength Autocratic, plutocratic
Laudis Praise Applaud, laudatory
Levis Light Alleviate, levity, levitate
Liber Free Liberate
Litera A letter Literature, literary
Locus A place Locality, locus standi
Lumen Light Luminary, luminous
Lucis Light Lucid, elucidate
Magnus Great Magnum opus, magnificent, magniloquent
Manus Hand Manuscript, manual
Mare The sea Marine, maritime
Mater A mother Maternal, matriarch, alma mater
Medius The middle Mediator, medium, intermediate
Memor Mindful Memorize, memoir
Monos Alone Monarch, monotony
Multus Many Multitude, multinational, multifaceted
Novus New Novice, novel
Omnis All Omnipotent, omniscient, omnibus
Onoma A name Anonymous, synonymous
Orthos Right Orthogonal
Pater A father Paternal, patriarch
Pathos Feeling Apathy, empathy, sympathy
Phileo I love Anglophile
Phrases A speech Paraphrase
Polis A city Metropolis, necropolis
Primus First Primary, premier, primitive
Probo I try Probe, probationer
Putatus I cut Amputate
Rectus I rule Regal, regulate
Ruptus Break Rupture, erupt
Scriptus I write Scripture, describe, proscribe
Signum A sign Insignia, significant
Similes Like Similitude, similarity
Sophia Wisdom Philosopher
Stringo I bind Stringent
Sumptus I take Assumption, presumption
Tele After Telepathy, telephone
Temporis Time Temporal, temporary
Terminus An end Terminate, exterminate, terminal
Terra The earth Terrestrial
Theos A god Theology, theocracy
Thermos Warm Thermal
Thesis A placing Hypothesis
Unus One Unanimous, unity
Verbum A word Adverb, verbal, verbatim
Verus True Verify, verity, veracity
Voco, vocatus I call Vocal, vocation

Tables 1.2 and 1.3 reflect the prefixes and suffixes used in the formation of words.


Table 1.2 Important Prefixes

Prefix Meaning Examples
A, ab, abs From, away Abuse, avoid, absolve
Am, amb, ambi On both sides, around Amphibian, ambidextrous, amble, ambivalent
An, anti, ante Before Anterior, anticipate
Anti Against Antithesis, anticlimax, antipathy
Bene Well Beneficent, benevolent
Bi, bin, bis Twice Bimonthly, binary, bisect
Circu, circum Around Circumvent, circumlocution
Col, com, cor, con With, together Collate, common, corollary, connect, confer
Counter, contra Against Counterproductive, contravene
Dia Through Diaphanous, diaphragm
Dis Apart Disjoint, disturb, distend
Dys Badly Dysfunctional
Demi Half Demigod
E, ef, ex Out of Exit, efface, extract
Hemi Half Hemisphere
Hyper Beyond Hypertension, hypercritical, hyperactive
Hypo Under Hypocrite, hypothesis, hypodermic
Il, im, ir, in Not Illogical, immaterial, irrefutable, intolerable
Intro, enter, inter Among, within Introspection, entertain, international
Mal, male Bad Malediction, maladjustment, malevolent
Meta Implying change Metaphysical, metamorphosis
Non Not Nonsense
Pan All Panorama
Pen Almost Penultimate
Peri Round Peripheral, perimeter
Post After Post-mortem
Pre Before Preamble, preempt
Re Back, again Resume, renovate
Semi Half Semicircle
Super Above Superman, superhuman
Tra, tres, trans Across Travel, trespass, transverse

Table 1.3 Important Suffixes

Suffix Examples
-ar, -or, -yer, -er, -eer, -ier, -any, -our, -eur Registrar, emperor, player, engineer,
Denoting an agent or doer of a thing copier, mercenary, saviour, enterpreneur
-an, -en, -on, -ain Artisan, denizen, surgeon, captain
Denoting state, action, result of an action  
-age Bondage
-ance Askance
-dom Martyrdom, stardom
-hood Brotherhood, manhood, childhood
-ion Presentation, submission
-ment Merriment, enjoyment
-mony Acrimony
-ness Harness
-ship Partnership
-tude Certitude
-ure Manicure
-y Slavery, mastery

There are some words in English that are confusing and difficult to use. We have listed such words below. Go through these words in order to understand and use them and to incorporate them in your active vocabulary. Abbreviations: A short form of a word or expression. Abbreviations can be used in three ways:

  1. Truncation: The first part of the word is used. E.g.: ‘prof’ for professor.
  2. Contractions: The first and last letters are given. E.g.: ‘St’ for saint.
  3. Single initial letters of each word are given. E.g.: ‘BBC’ for British Broadcasting Corporation.

Acronyms: A special type of abbreviation, which are spoken and written as words starting with a capital letter. E.g.: HUDA for Hyderabad Urban Development Authorities

Accolade: High public praise

Acolyte: A faithful follower

Accrue: To come as a natural growth or increment

Adapter: Someone who adapts

Adaptor: An electronic instrument

Address: Apply onself to something; details of place of living

Adipose: Animal fat stored in fatty body tissue

Affect: To assume or pretend, to influence an emotional state

Ageing: Growing old, maturing

Agent: The doer of an action

Alright: This implies that everything is fine

Alumni: Plural form of alumnus, implying ex-students of a particular school or college

Amateur: A learner and not a professional

Amend: To revise, reform, modify.

Annex: To append or attach

Annexe: An addition to a building

Appraise: To assess the value of

Apprise: To inform, give notice to

Auger: A tool for boring holes

Augur: An encouraging or discouraging sign

Aural: Connected with hearing and listening

Bain: A cooking utensil

Bane: The cause of ruin or trouble, curse

Bait: Food put on a hook to catch fish

Barbaric: Uncivilized, primitive

Barbarous: Cruel or harsh

Bare: Naked

Bear: 1. An animal (noun)

     2. To carry (verb)

Beau: A close friend or lover of a woman

Befriend: Act as or become a friend to

Belabour: To beat or attack

Belie: To falsify or conceal

Bereaved: Greatly saddened at the loss of a family member or partner through death

Bereft: Generally deprived

Bevvy: An alcoholic drink

Bevy: A group or an assemblage, especially of women

Bloc: A political group

Block: To stop; a section

Blond(e): Having light-coloured hair and skin (‘blond’ is used for men and ‘blonde’ for women)

Breach: Breaking of a promise

Breech: Refers to delivery; the part of the cannon behind the bore

Bureaux: A writing desk

Calendar: It tells you about days and dates

Calender: A rolling machine for paper or cloth

Callous: Insensitive, indifferent, unsympathetic, cruel

Callus: Hard skin

Cannon: A large gun; a double-touching stroke in billiard

Canon: A law or rule or a clergyman

Canvas: Cloth used as a surface for painting, and to make sails, tents, etc.

Canvass: To ask for votes

Carat: A unit of measurement for gold and gems

Caret: An insertion mark in proofreading

Cashmere: A fine, soft fabric

Celebrant: A person who performs a rite

Celebrate: To treat a day as special with ceremonies or festivities

Censer: A vessel in which incense is burnt

Censor: To suppress or stop

Censure: To blame

Chauvinist: An excessive advocate of any cause

Chord: A group of musical notes

Cord: Long, thin, flexible material made from several twisted strands

Classical: Conforming to ancient Greek and Roman culture

Classic: Implies anything outstanding, definitive, or stylish

Climatic: Pertaining to climate

Climactic: Pertaining to or coming to a climax

Climacteric: Referring to a critical period in human life

Comic: Pertaining to, or characterized by comedy

Comical: Promoting amusement; funny

Complacent: Self-satisfied; untroubled

Complaisant: Obliging, ready to condone

Complement: To complete or make whole

Compliment: Praise

Comprehensible: Understandable

Comprehensive: Inclusive

Compulsive: Any behaviour that is very difficult to stop or control

Compulsory: Mandatory; obligatory

Concert: A musical performance

Consort: The wife or husband of a ruler; group of people who play very old music, or the group of old-fashioned instruments they use.

Contemptible: Despicable

Contemptuous: Scornful

Council: Advisory or administrative body

Counsel: To advise, opine or advocate

Coup: A blow or strike

Coupe: A shallow dish

Credible: Believable

Credulous: Willing to believe or trust readily

Creditable: Trustworthy or praiseworthy

Criteria: Standards used for judging or making a decision about something

Currant: A small, black raisin

Current: A stream or flow of electricity or water; existing in the present; prevalent; customary.

Deduce: To infer by reasoning

Deduct: To subtract

Definite: Precise

Definitive: Final and conclusive

Defective: Faulty

Deficient: To be lacking in something

Defuse: To make harmless

Diffuse: To spread over

Delusion: False belief or hallucination

Illusion: False impression

Denizen: An occupant or inhabitant

Dependant: One who is dependent

Dependent: Relying on someone or something else for support

Derisive: Mocking

Derisory: Laughable

Desert: A sandy, arid region with little or no rainfall and sparse and widely spaced vegetation

Dessert: Sweet food served after the main part of a meal

Detract: To take away

Distract: To divert attention

Device: A machine or a tool made for a special purpose

Devise: To invent a new way of doing something

Dice: The plural form of die; it means a cube with numbered faces used in gambling and board games

Discreet: Tactful, judicious

Discrete: Dstinct, specific

Distrait: Absent-minded

Distraught: To be upset

Diverse: Varied

Divers: Several (archaic)

Divorcee: For both sexes, a person who has legally separated from his/her conjugal partner

Drier: Comparative degree of dry

Dryer: A device used for drying

Dying: Ending one’s life

Dyeing: Staining, changing the colour of something

Economic: Relating to money, trade and business

Economical: Use of money, time or goods in a careful manner, ensuring no wastage

Effect: To complicate matters, to carry out or accomplish. If it is used in plural form, it implies goods.

Egoist: An adherent to the philosophy of the ego or the self

Egotist: A self-centred person

Egregious: Extraordinary in a negative way

Elegy: A mournful poem

Eulogy: A tribute to someone alive or dead

Elicit: To draw out

Emend: To remove errors in a text

Enormity: Great size; seriousness of a situation

Enormous: Either immense or excessive or both

Enormousness: Great size, usually replaces enormity

Ensure: To make certain

Entrance: Refers to admission

Entry: Admittance

Envelop: To wrap up something or someone

Envisage: To have a mental picture of some future event

Envision: To have a vision

Equable: Even-tempered

Equitable: Fair or justified

Etc: Implies ‘and the rest’

Exalt: To praise

Exult: To rejoice

Exigent: Urgent

Exiguous: Scanty or slender

Geezer: An old man

Geyser: A hot spring; bathroom water heater

Geriatric: Refers to medical care of old people

Germane: Relevant or appropriate

Gild/gilt: Cover with gold

Guild: An association

Guilt: Responsibility for wrongdoing

Gourmand: A person who eats and drinks in excess

Gourmet: One who knows about and enjoys food and drink

Graceful: Movement endowed with elegance and grace

Gracious: Polite, kind and generous manner

Groin: The joint between the abdomen and the thigh

Ground rules: Basic rules or principles or procedures

Hale: Healthy

Hail: A greeting or salutation; to come from; frozen rain.

Hanger: A shoulder-shaped frame used for hanging clothes

Hangar: An aircraft shed

Hanged: Refers to a person killed by dropping them with a rope around their neck

Hung: Suspended

Heroin: A drug

Heroine: A woman admired for her noble qualities; a female actress performing the main role

Holocaust: A huge slaughter, particularly by fire

Homonym: Words spelt alike

Homophone: Words pronounced alike but spelt differently

I.e.: Implies ‘that is’

Illicit: Illegal.

Immanent: Inherent

Imminent: About to happen

Ingenious: Clever

Ingenuous: Naive, artless

Insure: To protect something against financial loss.

Judicial: Referring to judges and the system of justice

Judicious: Just

Kudos: Honour, acclaim

Lightening: Making something lighter

Lightning: A flash of light in the sky caused by electricity and followed by thunder

Linage: The number of lines of printed matter Lineage: Ancestry

Mettle: Temperament, spirit, courage

Metal: Substances like gold, iron

Meter: Measuring instrument

Metre: Unit of length

Naval: Pertaining to navy

Navel: Belly button

Nemesis: Retribution in a positive sense

Oral: Connected with speaking or the mouth

Ordinance: A regulation or decree

Ordnance: Artillery and the supplies necessary for it

Palate: The roof of the mouth

Palette: The plate or board on which a painter mixes colour

Pallet: A platform for moving and storing goods; also, a mattress

Panacea: A cure for all diseases

Paparazzo: The singular form of ‘paparazzi’, refers to photographers who snatch pictures of celebrities

Pedal: Part of a bicycle Peddle: Drug-trafficking

Pendant: An object, especially jewel or gem, that hangs from a chain around the neck

Pendent: Hanging

Petrel: A seabird

Petrol: Fuel

Populace: Ordinary people

Populous: Heavily populated

Poser: One who poses; a puzzle.

Poseur: One who assumes false attitudes

Pour: To enable continuous flow of something, liquid or otherwise

Pore: To study attentively; a minute opening

Premier: Refers to a Prime Minister; foremost.

Premiere: The first public screening of a film or performance of a play

Prescribe: To lay down or specify

Proscribe: To condemn or forbid

Presumptive: To give ground for presuming

Presumptuous: Impertinent and bold

Progeny: Children

Quaff: To drink a lot after a long time

Queer: Strange, odd; homosexual.

Raise: To bring up children

Rise: An increase in anything

Ravage: To devastate, lay waste, destroy

Repertory: Theatre company that performs a list of plays regularly

Reticent: Reserved, or reluctant to speak

Revert: To go back to something in the sense of responding to it

Riffle: To go through anything quickly

Rifle: To ransack

Rigor: Muscular rigidity

Rigour: Strictness or hardness

Salon: A lavish living room

Saloon: A public bar

Salubrious: A healthy and pleasant place to live in

Salutary: Beneficial

Sanitary: Cleanliness especially in drainage and sewage disposal

Seasonable: Appropriate to the season

Seasonal: Pertaining to season

Stanch: To stop the flow of something

Staunch: Excessively loyal or adherent to a certain belief or a system

Stationary: Not moving

Stationery: Writing material

Stile: The steps over a fence

Style: A particular way of doing something

Suit: Clothes; playing cards; lawsuit.

Suite: Retinue; set of rooms

Swat: To hit sharply

Swot: To study hard

Systematic: Methodical

Systemic: Affecting the system or body as a whole

Ubiquitous: Found everywhere

Urban: Anything concerning a city

Urbane: Refined and sophisticated

Venal: Ready to use power and influence in return for money; open to bribery.

Venial: Minor, excusable

Xerox: A firm that specializes in producing photocopying machines

Yours: Belonging to you. (Do not write ‘your’s’) for the possessive.


1. Abjure



2. Acme


The highest point of success

3. Admonition



4. Alacrity



5. Ameliorate


To improve

6. Amoral



7. Anathema


Something strongly detested

8. Antiquated



9. Apposite



10. Arcane



11. Artifice


Clever trick or deception

12. Attrition


Wearing down

13. Augury



14. Avocation


Minor occupation

15. Baleful



16. Banal



17. Bellicose



18. Bourgeoisie


Middle class

19. Braggadocio


Empty boasting

20. Brazen



21. Bucolic



22. Catharsis


Outlet for strong emotions

23. Causal


Showing the relationship of cause and effect

24. Celerity



25. Cite



26. Credence



27. Coeval


Of the same age

28. Compendium



29. Corroborate


To support or strengthen

30. Cower


Shrink, cringe

31. Cynosure


Centre of attention

32. Duplicity


Double dealing

33. Duress



34. Equitable


Fair and just

35. Esoteric



36. Eulogistic



37. Exacerbate


To aggravate

38. Expedient


Useful or helpful for a purpose

39. Expeditious


Quick and without delay

40. Fastidious



41. Fecund



42. Festal



43. Furbish



44. Furore


Frenzy, a commotion

45. Fusillade


A series of shots fired in rapid succession

46. Gargoyle


Stone figure of a strange creature used as a spout for rainwater

47. Gauche



48. Genesis



49. Glean


To gather bit by bit

50. Grandiloquent


Using pompous language

51. Historic



52. Idyll


Short description of pastoral beauty

53. Impetuous


Impulsive, rash

54. Impugn


Criticize, challenge

55. Incessant



56. Incite


Stir up

57. Ingenious


Clever, inventive

58. Ingenuous



59. Innuendo


An indirect implication

60. Intrepid



61. Judicious



62. Lachrymose



63. Largesse



64. Latent



65. Licentious



66. Loquacious


Very talkative

67. Malaise



68. Melange


A mixture

69. Mitigate


Make less severe

70. Mottle


Mark with spots

71. Nascent



72. Nonchalance


Indifference, unconcern

73. Obfuscate


Confuse, perplex

74. Obliterate


To blot out

75. Obstreperous



76. Officious


Too eager to tell people about rules

77. Osmosis


Gradual absorption

78. Outre



79. Perilous



80. Perspicacious



81. Pleonasm


Use of more words than are needed

82. Presage


To foretell

83. Privy


For private uses; sharing of a secret

84. Prognosis



85. Proscribe



86. Regale



87. Repugnance


Strong feeling of disgust

88. Rookie


A new recruit

89. Satellite


A servile attendant

90. Sentient


Capable of feelings

91. Sporadic



92. Superfluous


More than needed

93. Trumpery



94. Veracity



95. Viaduct



96. Vituperate



97. Voracity


The state of having limitless hunger for something

98. Yammer




The following list reflects foreign expressions and their meanings:

  1. Ab initio: From the beginning
  2. A la mode: A type of stew, or served with ice cream; up to date.
  3. Albeit: Although
  4. Alibi: A suspect’s claim that they were somewhere else at the time the crime was committed
  5. Appendices: Plural of appendix, both in books and in the body
  6. Addenda: List of additions, to a book, report, etc.
  7. Ad hoc: For a particular purpose
  8. Ad valero: According to value
  9. Ad infinitum: Endlessly
  10. Apropos: Connected with
  11. Bona fide: Genuine or real
  12. Circa: About, used especially with dates
  13. Corrigenda: A list of errors
  14. De facto: Actual, even though not planned or intended
  15. De jure: By right
  16. Détente: A state of friendly relations between two countries that are not friendly towards each other
  17. En masse: As a group
  18. Entourage: Group of friends or assistants who travel with some important person
  19. Bonhomie: Easy friendliness
  20. Ex parte: One sided
  21. Fait accompli: Something that has already been done and cannot be changed
  22. Impasse: A deadlock
  23. In toto: Totally, as a whole
  24. Ipso facto: By the fact itself
  25. Inter alia: Among other things
  26. Locus standi: Legal standing before a court
  27. Per se: By itself
  28. Prima facie: On first consideration
  29. Pro rata: According to rate or proportion
  30. Protégé: Somebody under the protection or guidance of an experienced or influential person
  31. Nouveau riche: A person with new wealth, not modest in spending it
  32. Raison d’ etre: Reason for existing
  33. Sine die: Without fixing a date
  34. Status quo: Existing state of affairs
  35. Ultra vires: Beyond legal powers
  36. Vis-à-vis: When compared to
  37. Via media: The middle way between two extremes; compromise
  38. Incognito: Hiding one’s identity
  39. Cliché: Worn out expression or idea
  40. Infra dig: Below one’s dignity
  41. Ex gratia: Payment made as a favour
  42. Carte blanche: Blank cheque, full power
  43. Penchant: Bent, inclination
  44. Finesse: Delicate skill in guiding relations between people
  45. Annus mirabilis: A year of wonderful events
  46. De novo: Afresh
  47. Tete-a-tete: Private conversation
  48. En bloc: In a body
  49. Sine qua non: Necessary condition
  1. An accident waiting to happen: A situation so dangerous that it is bound to result in a disaster of some kind at some point.
  2. Accidentally on purpose: Giving the appearance of being done unintentionally but actually being done deliberately and often maliciously.
  3. Bring someone to account: To make sure that an offender is punished.
  4. An ace up one’s sleeve: A secret or hidden advantage that can be used to defeat an opponent.
  5. Hold all the aces: To be in a position of total power or control.
  6. The acid test: A test that will prove or disprove something beyond doubt.
  7. Act up: To behave or act badly or wrongly.
  8. Get one’s act together: to get oneself organized.
  9. A hard act to follow: Someone or something that sets such a high standard that others will find it difficult or impossible to meet.
  10. Not to know someone from Adam: Not to recognize them or have any idea who they are.
  11. An Adonis: A beautiful young man.
  12. Have the advantage of someone: To recognize them without being recognized oneself.
  13. Under the aegis of someone: With someone’s moral or financial support.
  14. The aftermath: The situation resulting from an important, especially unpleasant event.
  15. Come of age: To become old enough to be considered legally an adult.
  16. The agony column: The part of a newspaper or magazine where letters stating the problems of the readers are printed along with advice from a member of the magazine’s staff.
  17. Airs and graces: Behaviour in which a person acts as if they are better or more important than others.
  18. Clear the air: To make a situation simpler and less tense.
  19. Go up in the air: To become very angry or excited.
  20. Alive and kicking: In a strong or healthy condition.
  21. Be all over someone: To treat them with great or excessive friendliness and affection.
  22. Alpha and omega: The beginning and the end.
  23. Make amends: To do something to improve the situation.
  24. An anchorman: A person on whom the success of an activity depends, the person responsible for the smooth running of a discussion between other people.
  25. Ancient history: Something that happened long ago and is no longer of importance.
  26. An angel of mercy: A person who appears when they are particularly needed, bringing help, comfort, etc.
  27. The answer to a maiden’s prayer: Exactly what one desires and has been searching for.
  28. To talk someone or something apart: To criticize someone, a plan, etc. severely.
  29. An apology for something: A poor quality example of something.
  30. Keep up appearances: To behave in such a way as to hide the truth.
  31. An apple of discord: Something that causes jealousy and fighting.
  32. An apple of someone’s eye: A person or thing that is greatly loved by someone.
  33. Upset the apple cart: To spoil plans, obstruct progress, etc.
  34. April showers bring forth May flowers: Adversity is often followed by good fortune.
  35. Like something out of art: Extremely old-fashioned.
  36. Be up in arms: To be very angry and make a great protest about something.
  37. Keep at arm’s length: To avoid becoming too friendly with someone.
  38. With one arm tied behind one’s back: With no difficulty whatsoever.
  39. Have been around: To have a great deal of experience of life.
  40. Someone’s for the asking: Something that a person may have quite easily or readily.
  41. Get the axe: To be dismissed from a post.
  42. Have an axe to grind: To have a personal, often selfish, reason for being involved in something, or for wanting a particular answer or solution to a problem.
  43. Babes in the wood: People who are naive and trust others unduly.
  44. A babe in arms: An innocent, inexperienced person.
  45. Back-scratching: Doing favours for other people in return for favours done.
  46. Get off someone’s back: To stop annoying or harassing them.
  47. Talk out of the back of one’s head: To talk complete nonsense.
  48. Rise to the bait: To do what someone has been trying to make one do by means of suggestions, hints, etc.
  49. A different ballgame: A completely different situation.
  50. Go bananas: To be or to become violently angry.
  51. Not touch something with a barge pole: To refuse to have any contact with something, or be involved with it in any way.
  52. Bank on something: To rely on something.
  53. Bark up the wrong tree: To attempt to do the wrong thing, or to do something the wrong way.
  54. Not exactly a barrel of laughs: Boring, not at all amusing or enter taining.
  55. With bated breath: In anxious expectation.
  56. Full of beans: Full of energy, very cheerful.
  57. Not know beans about something: To know absolutely nothing about a subject.
  58. Spill the beans: To reveal confidential information.
  59. Not have a bean: To have no money.
  60. Bear the brunt of something: To suffer the worst part of some kind of misfortune.
  61. Lose one’s bearings: To become uncertain of where one is, what one is doing, etc.
  62. Eager beaver: Someone very enthusiastic or industrious.
  63. Get out of bed on the wrong side: To start the day in a bad mood.
  64. Put something to bed: To send a newspaper or magazine to be printed.
  65. Not all beer and skittles: Involving not just pleasure, but also something difficult or unpleasant.
  66. Give someone the benefit of the doubt: To assume that someone is innocent, or is telling the truth, because there is not enough evidence to be sure that they are not.
  67. Give a wide berth: To keep well away from someone.
  68. The best of British: The best possible luck.
  69. To have the best of both worlds: To benefit from the best features of two different sets of circumstances.
  70. Too big for one’s boots: Self-important.
  71. Fit the bill: To be exactly what is required.
  72. Foot the bill: To pay, usually for something expensive.
  73. Birds of a feather: People of similar interests or personalities.
  74. Eat like a bird: Eat very little.
  75. A little bird told me: To find something out in a way one does not wish to reveal.
  76. A bitter pill to swallow: Something difficult to accept.
  77. Blackboard jungle: The educational system, the teaching profession.
  78. A wet blanket: A person who spoils people’s enjoyment by being dreary or pessimistic.
  79. Bleed someone white: To get them to spend all their money on one, often by coercion.
  80. Blind alley: A situation or activity that offers no prospects of success or advantage.
  81. Blood, sweat, and tears: The maximum amount of effort.
  82. A bluestocking: An educated, intellectual woman.
  83. True blue: Unchangingly faithful and loyal.
  84. Until one is blue in the face: Having made as much effort as possible.
  85. Sweep the board: To win everything.
  86. Keep body and soul together: To remain alive, especially to not die of hunger.
  87. A bolt from the blue: A sudden, unexpected happening.
  88. A bone of contention: A cause of argument.
  89. A breath of fresh air: Someone or something refreshing and new.
  90. Save one’s breath: To not bother to say anything.
  91. Brevity is the soul of wit: The most effective and clever statements are made using relatively few words.
  92. Am I my brother’s keeper?: I am not responsible for the actions of others.
  93. As daft as a bush: Extremely foolish, having no common sense.
  94. Make no bones about: To have no hesitation about stating or doing something openly.
  95. Bring someone to book: To make someone explain, or suffer for, their behaviour.
  96. Read someone like a book: To understand someone’s character, their reasons for acting as they do, etc. completely.
  97. Get the boot: To be dismissed.
  98. Boy/girl next door: Just an ordinary boy/girl.
  99. Someone’s brainchild: A favourite theory, invention, etc. thought up by a particular person.
  100. Know which side one’s bread is buttered: To know what’s advantageous.
  101. Catch the bug: To be taken with great enthusiasm for.
  102. Like a bull in a china shop: Acting in a very clumsy or tactless manner.
  103. A burning question: A question of interest to, and eagerly discussed by, many people.
  104. Buttonhole someone: To catch their attention and hold them in conversation.
  105. I’ll buy that: I will accept that explanation even though it seems rather implausible.
  106. Cut the cackle: To stop talking and start acting.
  107. A piece of cake: Something very easy.
  108. The game is not worth the candle: The project is too difficult, troublesome, etc. for the advantages it would bring.
  109. Not fit to hold a candle to: Not good enough to be compared with.
  110. Set one’s cap at: To deliberately try to attract a member of the opposite sex; to choose something as a goal.
  111. On the cards: Likely.
  112. Stack the cards against someone: To make it very difficult for them to succeed.
  113. Has the cat got your tongue?: A remark made to someone who is not making any comment or reply in a situation that demands a response.
  114. Like something the cat brought in: Untidy, soaking wet, or otherwise unpleasant to look at.
  115. Hit the roof: To become suddenly very angry.
  116. Chance one’s arm: To do something risky, to take a risk.
  117. Work like a charm: To be extremely effective, sometimes unexpectedly so.
  118. A big cheese: A very important or influential person.
  119. Chicken feed: Something, usually a sum of money, very small and unimportant.
  120. Chip off the old block: Someone who is very like one of his/her parents in personality.
  121. Have a chip on one’s shoulder: To have a rather aggressive manner, as if always expecting to be insulted or ill-treated.
  122. Touch a chord: To evoke emotion or sympathy in someone.
  123. Come full circle: To return to the original position, situation, etc.
  124. A clean slate: A fresh start.
  125. Come clean: To tell the truth about something.
  126. A close call/shave: A narrow, often lucky escape.
  127. On cloud nine: Very happy.
  128. Warm the cockles of one’s heart: To make one feel happy and comfortable.
  129. Get cold feet: To lose courage and abandon a plan, etc.
  130. A contradiction in terms: A statement or idea containing a contradiction.
  131. What’s cooking?: What is planned or about to happen?
  132. That’s the way the cookie crumbles: That is what the situation is; that is just what one expects would happen.
  133. Cut corners: To use less money, effort, time, etc. when doing something than was thought necessary, often giving a poorer result.
  134. Pluck up the courage: To finally become brave enough to do something.
  135. Till the cows come home: For a very long time.
  136. At the crack of dawn: Very early in the morning.
  137. Have a cross to bear: To have to endure a heavy responsibility or misfortune of some kind.
  138. When it comes to the crunch: When the actual moment of trial arrives.
  139. A crying need: Something requiring urgent attention.
  140. The cup that cheers: A cup of tea.
  141. Cupboard love: Attachment to a person because of the material things, they can provide.
  142. Curtain lecture: A private scolding, especially one given by a wife to her husband.
  143. Be curtains for someone: To be the end or death of them.
  144. A curtain raiser: A first subject for discussion, first action, etc., which is not the most important one planned, but which is useful to get things started or to show the shape of things to come.
  145. Look daggers at someone: To look at them in a hostile manner.
  146. The daily grind: One’s daily routine.
  147. What’s the damage?: What is the total cost?
  148. A damp squib: Something that is expected to be exciting, effective, etc. but which completely fails to be so.
  149. A dark horse: A person of potential about whose abilities, etc. little is known.
  150. At the end of the day: When everything has been considered and the final decisions are being made.
  151. That will be the day: That is very unlikely.
  152. Dead beat: Exhausted or very tired.
  153. Let the dead bury the dead: The past with all its problems, sadness, etc. is best forgotten.
  154. Catch one’s death: To get a very bad cold.
  155. Flog something to death: To talk or think about a subject so much that it is no longer interesting.
  156. Sign one’s own death warrant: To be the cause of one’s own misfortune or downfall.
  157. Between the devil and the deep sea: Faced with a choice between two risky and undesirable courses of action.
  158. Give the devil his due: To be fair to someone one dislikes or disapproves of.
  159. Different strokes for different people: Not everyone is the same and everyone has individual tastes.
  160. Take a dim view of: To disapprove of.
  161. Discretion is the better part of valour: It is wise not to take unnecessary risks.
  162. What the doctor ordered: The very thing that is needed.
  163. Dog eat dog: A situation in which one has to compete ruthlessly in order to survive or be successful.
  164. A dog in the manger: Someone who tries to prevent another person from having or doing something, which he/she himself/herself does not want, and cannot do.
  165. A prophet of doom: A person who always believes that the worst will happen and tells everyone so.
  166. Drive a point home: To try to make it completely understood or accepted.
  167. Dry someone out: To cure an alcoholic.
  168. A lame duck: A helpless or inefficient person.
  169. Double Dutch: Nonsense.
  170. Be all ears: To listen with keen attention.
  171. Play it by ear: To be spontaneous.
  172. Up to one’s ears: Deeply involved in.
  173. Elbow room: Space enough for moving or doing something.
  174. At the eleventh hour: At the last possible moment.
  175. A fool’s errand: A useless journey.
  176. Get even with someone: To get revenge.
  177. There is more to something than meets the eye: It is more complicated, or better, than it appears.
  178. Up to one’s eyes in something: Deeply involved in something.
  179. Face someone down: To assert one’s superiority over them merely by looking at them.
  180. Faint heart never won fair lady: It is necessary to be bold to achieve what one desires.
  181. All is fair in love and war: In certain situations, especially those involving a spirit of competition, any tactic or strategy is permissible.
  182. Fair-weather friends: People who are only friendly as long as everything is going well for someone.
  183. Familiarity breeds contempt: One ceases to be fully aware of and to appreciate the qualities, beauty, goodness, danger, etc., of something one knows very well.
  184. Pull a fast one on someone: To deceive them.
  185. Ruffle someone’s feathers: To upset, distress or annoy someone slightly.
  186. Sweep someone off his feet: To affect them with strong emotion or enthusiasm.
  187. Mend fences: To put things right after a dispute or disagreement.
  188. Sit on the fence: To remain neutral and not take sides in a dispute or argument.
  189. In fine fettle: In good health.
  190. A big fish: An important or leading person.
  191. Have other fish to try: To have something else to do or to attend to.
  192. Flavour of the month: A person or thing that is particularly liked at the moment.
  193. Wipe the floor with someone: To defeat someone completely.
  194. Not to have the foggiest idea: To have no knowledge of something.
  195. Follow suit: To do just as someone else has done.
  196. Food for thought: Something that should be considered carefully.
  197. Nobody’s fool: A sensible person.
  198. Speak with a forked tongue: To tell lies, to attempt to deceive others.
  199. Pardon my French: Excuse my swearing.
  200. Forbidden fruit: A source of illicit pleasure.
  201. Lead someone up the garden path: To mislead them or cause them to take a wrong decision in a subtle and not immediately obvious manner.
  202. Look a gift horse in the mouth: To criticize something that has been given to one.
  203. A golden handshake: A large amount of money given to a person who is leaving a job, especially to one who is forced to leave it.
  204. It’s all Greek to me: I do not understand.
  205. The green-eyed monster: Implying jealousy.
  206. Grey matter: Brain, powers of thought or reasoning.
  207. Your guess is as good as mine: I have no idea.
  208. Be my guest: Please do the thing you want to do.
  209. Get into someone’s hair: To annoy them.
  210. Have someone eating out of one’s hand: To have them behaving very submissively towards one and doing as one says.
  211. Fly off the handle: To lose one’s temper.
  212. Happy-go-lucky: Not worrying about what might happen.
  213. The hard facts: Facts that cannot be denied.
  214. Die in harness: To die while one is still working and not retired.
  215. Have what it takes: To have the qualities or ability that one needs to do something.
  216. Wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve: To show one’s feelings openly.
  217. Set the heather on fire: To cause a great deal of general interest and excitement.
  218. An Achilles’ heels: A person’s vulnerable or weak point.
  219. Bring someone to heel: To make them obey and behave as one wishes.
  220. To take to one’s heels: To run away.
  221. High-falutin, Too showy or grand.
  222. Hobson’s choice: The choice between taking what one is offered and getting nothing at all.
  223. Holier-than-thou: Behaving towards people with an air of superiority.
  224. A home truth: A plain statement of something unplea sant but true about a person’s behaviour, etc. said directly to the person.
  225. Horn in on something: To join in an activity, etc. without being wanted or invited.
  226. Back the wrong horse: To give one’s support to the person who proves unsuccessful in a contest of some kind.
  227. Hot on something: To be fond of it, interested in and enthusiastic about it.
  228. Eat humble pie: To humble oneself.
  229. A household name: A person or thing that is extremely well known.
  230. Just the tip of the iceberg: Only a small, visible, part of a much larger hidden problem, state of affairs, etc.
  231. Include me out: An emphatic way of saying that one does not want any part in something.
  232. Iron something out: To solve a problem, to smooth out a difficulty.
  233. The jewel in the crown: The most valuable or most important part of something.
  234. A Judas: A person who is disloyal, a traitor.
  235. ut the Gordian knot: To solve a problem or overcome a difficulty by a vigorous or drastic method.
  236. Famous last words: A saying used to indicate that the person who has just said something will live to regret it or be proved wrong.
  237. A latchkey child: A child who frequently comes home to an empty house and, therefore, carries a key to the door with him/her.
  238. In league with someone: Having joined together with a person, organization, etc., usually for a bad purpose.
  239. A leopard never changes its spots: A saying indicating that the basic character or nature of a person is very unlikely to change.
  240. Flip one’s lid: To go crazy, to become very angry.
  241. Wash one’s dirty linen in public: To have a discussion or argument in public in a manner that attracts attention to a private problem or scandal.
  242. A loaded question: A question intended to lead someone into saying, admitting or agreeing to something which he is unwilling to do.
  243. A lost cause: An aim or ideal that cannot be achieved.
  244. A Man Friday: A general servant or employee who does all kinds of work.
  245. Manna from heaven: Something good, which comes to one unexpectedly or by chance, especially as a help, or comfort in difficulty.
  246. Tell it to the marines: I do not believe you.
  247. A case of May and December: A marriage or relationship between a young person and a much older person.
  248. Take the mickey out of someone: To make fun of or ridicule someone or something.
  249. Talk a mile a minute: To talk rapidly and continuously.
  250. The Midas touch: The ability to make money easily.
  1. Is in charge of a staff of nurses: Matron
  2. Writes for newspapers: Journalist
  3. Enters into contracts: Contractor
  4. Conducts sales at which goods are sold to the persons making the highest bid or offer: Auctioneer
  5. Sends goods to other countries: Exporter
  6. Brings goods from a foreign country: Importer
  7. Inquires into any violent or unnatural death: Coroner
  8. Regularly contributes local news or special articles to newspapers: Correspondent
  9. Gives an account of a happening to a newspaper: Reporter
  10. Announces radio talks, etc.: Announcer
  11. Is licensed to lend money on security of goods left with him/her: Pawnbroker
  12. Helps and encourages another in his work: Patron
  13. Is devoted to a party, group or a cause: Partisan
  14. Travels on foot: Pedestrian
  15. Takes part in a race, contest, examination, etc.: Contestant
  16. Leaves his native land to settle abroad: Emigrant
  17. Comes from abroad to settle abroad: Immigrant
  18. Tracks down criminals: Detective
  19. Has agreed to learn a trade without receiving payment for a number of years: Apprentice
  20. Travels regularly by train or bus: Commuter
  21. Is chosen to speak on behalf of a party: Spokesman
  22. Is elected or appointed to represent or act for others: Representative
  23. Has authority to examine and/or cut out parts of a book, film or a play, etc., regarded as immoral or undesirable: Censor
  24. Is hired to take care of a building: Janitor
  25. Officially examines ballot papers to see that they are not filled in irregularly: Scrutinizer
  1. Lives in complete solitude: Hermit
  2. Who makes good speeches: Orator
  3. Who eats human flesh: Cannibal
  4. Who does not believe in God: Atheist
  5. Who is an unmarried woman: Spinster
  6. Is a very ignorant person: Ignoramus
  7. Is put to death or caused to suffer for his religious beliefs or for a noble cause: Martyr
  8. Loves and is ready to defend his country: Patriot
  9. Is an extravagant person who wastes money: Spendthrift
  10. Is a humorous talker or writer: Humorist
  11. Is a ruler who has absolute authority: Dictator
  12. Is a person who has very narrow views and holds strongly to an opinion or belief: Bigot
  13. Is a cruel or unjust ruler: Tyrant
  14. Is a person who makes a pretense of virtue: Hypocrite
  15. Is a dishonest person: Humbug
  16. Bears pain and discomfort without complaint: Stoic
  17. Helps others, especially the poor: Philanthropist
  18. Takes a gloomy view of things and always expects the worst to happen: Pessimist
  19. Shows great enthusiasm for a cause: Zealot
  20. Is always hopeful and looks at the bright side of things: Optimist
  21. Is filled with excessive, mistaken enthusiasm, especially in religion: Fanatic
  22. Is a foolish, weak-minded person and is easily deceived: Simpleton
  23. Is unable to pay his debts: Bankrupt
  24. Sees little or no good in anything and has no belief in human progress: Cynic
  25. Talks too much or too often about himself/herself: Egotist