Number one for English language teachers

Word of the week archive: A – G

Tim Bowen entertains us with these lively discussions on origins of words. In this section you'll find articles on anything from 'amok' and 'glitz' to 'cowboy' and 'buff'.

Word of the week articles

  • Word of the week: Amok

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Have you ever had to deal with a classfull of students running amok? Well, it's happened to all of us. Tim Bowen whips up a frenzy with this rather odd Word of the week.

  • Word of the week: Banter

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Do you indulge in a bit of banter with your friends or colleagues? Tim Bowen looks at the development of this good-natured noun.

  • Word of the week: Bargain

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Ever bartered and bargained you way to a steal of the century? Or perhaps you ended up with a little more than you bargained for? Tim Bowen drives a hard bargain with this competitively-priced word of the week.

  • Word of the week: Bizarre

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Article

    Have you ever met someone who behaved so bizarrely that you walked away bewildered and befuddled? Or perhaps you know someone who proudly sports a neatly trimmed beard? Tim Bowen explains the connection with this mysterious word of the week.

  • Word of the week: Bogey

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Are you part of a losing team, bad at golf or suffering from a blocked nose? Well, according to Tim Bowen, you could have a triple case of the bogies. Take note of this unpleasant Word of the week or the bogeyman might get you!

  • Word of the week: Booze

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Know any good boozers? Been to any lively booze-ups recently? Tim Bowen explains how this informal word can be traced back as far as the 13th century.

  • Word of the week: Buff

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Do you fancy yourself as a bit of a film buff? Or do you fancy your buff next door neighbour? Tim Bowen explains all about this interesting word.

  • Word of the week: Bully

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Those of you who have ever been the victim of bullying probably wouldn't describe the bully in question as 'a fine young chap'. It seems that the meaning of the word bully has changed a lot since its Germanic origins. Tim Bowen has really done his homework with this Word of the week. Bully for him!

  • Word of the week: Burly

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Ever encountered some burly bouncers on a rowdy night out or found yourself immersed in the hurly-burly of a Moroccan market? Tim Bowen traces the origin of this stately Word of the week, all the way back to a lady's chamber...

  • Word of the week: Camp

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Would you set up camp in a field or a forest? Perhaps you've found yourself wavering between opposing political camps whilst strolling through your University campus? Tim Bowen explains why there's more to this word than simply choosing where to pitch your tent.

  • Word of the week: Cowboy

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Are you a fan of the Wild West? Tim Bowen explains why 'cowboy' no longer just refers to the gun-slinging heroes of our childhood.

  • Word of the week: Crap

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Having a crap day? Let Tim Bowen cheer you up with his explanation of the origin and varied meanings of this impolite word.

  • Word of the week: Dapper

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Ever met a dapper little man or a vivacious lady? Tim Bowen takes a look at this gender-specific word of the week.

  • Word of the week: Dodgy

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Are you sporting a dodgy haircut or living in a dodgy neighbourhood? Tim Bowen throws us an illuminating dodgeball with this word of the week.

  • Word of the week: Flagrant

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Do your students ever show a flagrant disregard for school rules? Perhaps you think that England were denied a blatant try in the rugby world cup? Tim Bowen looks at the fiery origins of this word of the week.

  • Word of the week: Flippant

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Article

    Ever flipped your lid over a flippant comment or told your students that there's no place for flippancy in the classroom? Tim Bowen explains how the root of it all lies in talking nonsense.

  • Word of the week: Freak

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Ever encountered something unnatural or out of the ordinary? Well you may just have witnessed a freak show! Let our resident language freak, Tim Bowen, freak you out with this Word of the week!

  • Word of the week: Friendly fire

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    If you regularly watch the news, 'friendly fire' is a term you are probably familiar with. Tim Bowen explains this topical oxymoron.

  • Word of the week: Frugal

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Feeling frugal? Got a tight grip on the purse strings? Tim Bowen explains how this word derives from another which is quite opposite in meaning.

  • Word of the week: Fun run

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Have you ever entered a fun run? Or is that not your idea of 'fun'? Tim Bowen may persuade you to dust off your running shoes with this explanation.

  • Word of the week: Geezer

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Do you know someone who's a bit of a blinding geezer? Bumped into an old one in the street? Tim Bowen explains the meanings and origins of this word of the week.

  • Word of the week: Glitz

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Have you ever dreamed of joining the Hollywood elite and walking down the red carpet at the Oscars? Well, you may just have been swept up in the glitz and glamour of the occasion. Let Tim Bowen dazzle you with his explanation as to why this word has not always been all-American.

  • Word of the week: Green

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    How green are you? Tim Bowen explains why he's not asking about your colour!

  • Word of the week: Gross

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Try not to let Tim Bowen gross you out with his explanation of the varied meanings and origins of this disgusting word of the week.

  • Word of the week: Grotty

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Feeling a bit grotty today? Had a Hard Day's Night? Tim Bowen explains the colourful origins of this word of the week which first appeared in the UK after it was used by the Beatles.

  • Word of the week: Gung-ho

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Are you a little gung-ho in your approach to things? Tim Bowen explains the unusual origins of this word.

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