Number one for English language teachers

Word of the week archive: O – T

Tim Bowen entertains us with these lively discussions on origins of words. In this section you'll find articles on anything from 'posh' and 'snob' to 'serendipity' and 'sophisticated'.

Word of the week articles

  • Word of the week: Penguin

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    With global warming high on the agenda at the moment, the possible fate of the penguin has been in the news as its natural habitat is affected by the consequences of rising sea temperatures and diminishing ice cover in the Antarctic.

  • Word of the week: Plonk

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Do you plonk yourself down on the sofa after a long day and crack open some cheap plonk? Only plonkers would miss out on this word of the week!

  • Word of the week: Posh

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    The Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners defines the word posh as follows: something that is posh looks expensive and attractive. someone who is posh talks and behaves in a way that is typical of people from a high social class.

  • Word of the week: Quack

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Article

    If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck - or could you be dealing with a 'quack'? Find out by reading this word of the week by Tim Bowen.

  • Word of the week: Rocket science

    Type: Reference material

    Rocket science can be broadly described as the science and technology of space research. Few would argue that this particular area of human activity is not a complex one and that rocket scientists are, in all probability, highly skilled and knowledgeable people.

  • Word of the week: Serendipity

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    The discovery of aspirin is often cited as an example of serendipity. At the end of the 19th century a German chemist was attempting to find a cure for rheumatism when he produced aspirin. It was then found to be an extremely effective pain killer. Thus the chemist had discovered aspirin by chance.

  • Word of the week: Snob

    Type: Reference material

    The Macmillan English dictionary for Advanced Learners defines snob as ‘someone who thinks and behaves as if they are better than other people, usually because of their social class’. If you call someone a snob, this usually means that you don’t like their superior attitude and behaviour.

  • Word of the week: Sophisticated

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Ever been to a dinner party where the conversation was so terribly sophisticated that you found yourself wishing you had a sophisticated teleportation device? Tim Bowen looks at how this word of the week has gradually changed in meaning.

  • Word of the week: Spam

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Do you remember this brand of tinned meat? Tim Bowen explains that, with new advances in technology, 'spam' is no longer something you might want to put in your sandwiches.

  • Word of the week: Symposium

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    People normally associate the word symposium with intellectual discussion or as a slightly high-brow word for conference. The Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners gives the following definition: “a meeting where experts discuss a particular subject”.

  • Word of the week: Tawdry

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Article

    Tim Bowen tackles a thorny term with this slightly sordid Word of the week.

  • Word of the week: Trivial

    Author: Tim Bowen Type: Reference material

    Have you ever been to a dinner party and tried to impress others with unimportant facts? Chances are that you engaged in some trivial conversation. Tim Bowen presents us with some trivia surrounding the origin of this Word of the week.

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