Build Your Vocabulary – Part 7

Words

Ahh !! Such diversity of words in one language !!

The extent to which the language has evolved is astonishing and at the same time intriguing. Here  I present to you the 7th edition of the vocabulary building tutorial.

Happy Learning and discovering !! 🙂

Word Meaning Sentence
Perspicacious Having a ready insight into and understanding of things. Many perspicacious investors sold their tech stocks long before the market crashed.
Magnum Opus A work of art, music, or literature that is regarded as the most important or best work that an artist, composer, or writer has produced. Origin : Latin This film is going to be the magnum opus of the director.
Complicity The fact or condition of being involved with others in an activity that is unlawful or morally wrong. They were accused of complicity in an attempt to overthrow the government.
Logjam Situation that seems irresolvable. The CEO of the company has a power to break any logjam in financial issues.
Truculent Eager or quick to argue or fight; aggressively defiant. The truculent attitude of students during strike was justifiable.
Opprobrium Harsh criticism or censure. The alleged complicity of the actor in betting brought opprobrium from his fans.
Insouciant Showing a casual lack of concern. Because Bill is insouciant and not concerned about his retirement, he does not worry about saving money.
Budge Make or cause to make the slightest movement The opposition is refusing to budge on its stand against the ruling party.
Dossier A collection of documents about a particular person, event, or subject. The government will soon release dossiers containing the evidence of a planned protest against the government by the opposition.
Tome A book, especially a large, heavy, scholarly one. I prefer reading novels to tomes.
Cuckold (of a man) make (another man) a cuckold by having a sexual relationship with his wife. In the novel, the protagonist cuckolds his employer.
Motif A dominant or recurring idea in an artistic work.A decorative image or design, especially a repeated one forming a pattern. Unrequited love is a frequent motif in the playwright’s works.
Duress Threats, violence, constraints, or other action used to coerce someone into doing something against their will or better judgement. The judge overturned the case because the defendant’s attorney proved that his client’s confession had been given under duress.
Musing Characterized by reflection or deep thought She was looking over the sea with sad, musing gaze. She missed him.
Beleaguer Put in a very difficult situation The board is supporting the beleaguered director.
Nemesis A downfall caused by an inescapable agent. The enemy which constantly causes problems The whole world witnessed the nemesis of the country whose sole nemesis was poor governance
Renege Go back on a promise, undertaking, or contract. The government had reneged on its election promises.
Heteronormative Denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation. We used to live in a heteronormative culture but things are changing now.
Churlishness Deliberately rude behavior Although she is a beautiful and talented actress, she has a reputation for being churlish and difficult to get along with.
Fractious Irritable and quarrelsome. They fight like fractious children.
Debunk Expose the falseness or hollowness of (an idea or belief) to reveal the inaccuracies associated with a belief The scientist hoped to debunk the genetic theory by completing his own research.
Jingoism Extreme patriotism for one’s country that often shows itself through aggression towards other nations The dictator’s jingoism caused him to constantly rant about his nation’s superiority while threatening his rivals with war.
Tantalize Torment or tease (someone) with the sight or promise of something that is unobtainable. Excites one’s senses or desires. Since I am on a diet, I must ignore the tantalizing smells coming from the bakery.
Desperado A desperate or reckless person, especially a criminal. No one could believe that the decently dressed man was a desperado.
Livid Furiously angry After sitting in the airport for nine hours, I was livid when I learned my flight would be delayed another six hours.
Contestation The action or process of disputing or arguing There is a global contestation over the distribution of natural resources.
Annulled Declared invalid ( an official agreement, decision or result ) The elections were annulled by the general amid renewed protests.
Profligate Recklessly extravagant or wasteful in the use of resources. Licentious and dissolute During the mayor’s campaign, he swore to put an end to profligate government spending.
Bootleg Make, distribute, or sell (alcoholic drink or a recording) illegally. Government has to enforce measures to curtail bootlegging.
Hooch Alcoholic drink, especially inferior or illicit whisky. Prohibition of liquor in a state will lead to larger number of deaths due to hooch tragedies.
Pacifist A person who believes that war and violence are unjustifiable. She was a committed pacifist all her life.

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Foreign Words in English – Spanish

     language.1y10        whyspanish

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Hola Amigos !!

Here I am with my 2nd Edition of Foreign words – this time exploring the Spanish lexicon, and I must tell you this venture has been as exciting and revealing as the French voyage…..

About the language :

Spanish is one of the most popular languages in the world, next to Mandarin Chinese and English. Approximately 425 million people worldwide use Spanish as their primary means of communication. Mandarin Chinese has around 880 million users and English has around 400 million. Spanish is a romance language and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.Spanish is the official language in about 20 countries.

Well, to my great surprise and astonishment, I came across words of Spanish origin that are so common in our day to day conversation, that I did not even enlist them with their meaning and example sentences. It would be like defining what an apple is, or what a car is…..For e.g. Following words have Spanish origin :

Cannibal Marijuana
Chocolate Platinum
Cockroach Tobacco
Dengue Tornado
Hurricane Vanilla
Mosquito Tomato
Cargo Potato
Plaza

Now you tell me , do I need to define these ? 😉

That is the extent of diversity of the English language. It is breath-taking !!

Now, here is the list of often used in English but Spanish –originated words with their meanings and example sentences !!Make them a part of your creative piece to give it a distinct, Spanish touch.

Buena Suerte !!

( Good Luck )

Spanish – originated Word Meaning Sentence
Adios Goodbye Anyway, adios and good luck!
Aficionado A person who is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about an activity, connoisseur Since she is a Sudoku aficionado, she finds it very easy to pass time when she is traveling all by herself.
Amigo used to address or refer to a friend I’ll do my best. Adios, amigo!
Barbecue A meal or gathering at which meat, fish, or other food is cooked out of doors on a rack over an open fire or on a special appliance. We were invited to a barbecue by our neighbors at their farm house.
Bonanza A situation which creates a sudden increase in wealth, good fortune, or profits. Publicity seekers know that festival can provide a bonanza of media coverage.
Breeze (old Spanish + Portuguese) A gentle wind. Tantalizing cooking smells wafted on the evening breeze.
Cafeteria A restaurant in which customers serve themselves from a counter and pay before eating. We will spend Wednesday evening at the nearby cafeteria.
Stampede Sudden rapid movement or reaction of a mass of people in response to a particular circumstance or stimulus. Several casualties were reported due to a stampede at the public event.
Embargo An official ban on trade or other commercial activity with a particular country. An official ban on an activity There is a complete embargo on taking photographs in court.
Fiesta An event marked by festivities or celebration. Revelers throw tomatoes during the annual tomato fight fiesta. The main aspect of any fiesta is the food.
Guerilla A member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces. This town fell to the guerrillas.
Macho Masculine in an overly assertive or aggressive way. Let’s not say that guys don’t hurt or feel broken hearted. They are human and they get hurt, but in keeping with the macho image, they hide the pain.
Nada nothing They searched the suspect’s house but got nada.
Peccadillo A relatively minor fault or sin. Unless you’re perfect, you should never complain about a peccadillo of someone else.
Pronto Promptly, quickly Put the vegetables in the refrigerator, pronto!
Renegade A person who deserts and betrays an organization, country, or set of principles. When Clara learned her law firm was trying to hide important evidence, she became a renegade and joined the opposing legal team.
Savvy Shrewdness and practical knowledge, especially in politics or business. He is tech-savvy. We’re looking for some computer-savvy people to work for us
Vertigo a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height, or caused by disease affecting the inner ear or the vestibular nerve; giddiness. when a person feels like they are moving when they are not. Once he was at the top of the mountain, he suffered from vertigo.

                      

A Brother’s Sister

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Cynosure of all eyes,

 I was, for three years long,

 Soon, I heard joyful cries

‘Look sweetie, your brother is born’.

~

 Tiny little hands, minuscule fingers,

So delicate he was to hold,

 In the hospital, by his side, I lingered,

 ‘Let him sleep, honey’, mum told.

~

I got my first & only sibling,

My very first friend,

This was just the beginning,

 Of a friendship that would never end.

~

Sharing toys and chocolates,

He was my partner in crime,

That hasn’t changed till date

Along the years, over the time.

~

Once a kid, now fully grown

Into a tall, handsome man,

So quickly, the time has flown

Twenty years is a long span

~

But, even after twenty years,

Our bond is very much the same

Still reveling, fighting, sharing  tears

Pulling each other’s leg, calling names !

~

I don’t get to see him much

Away from home, I live

But I always keep him in touch

Sense of closeness I want to give.

~

I want him to be successful

And lead a happy, sanguine life

Filled with pride and joy, blissful

Complete with children and a caring wife!

~

A Proud sister, I will always be,

I want to see him rise and shine,

Apple of my eye, he will always be

No matter how old he is, brother mine !!

                                                                                               ~

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Mutual Admiration Sessions

The man who discovered fire meets the man who invented the wheel ('I've always admired your work).

Me: “I am feeling so low today. There is so much competition out there in the world. I feel I am not worth anything.”

Roomie (visibly panicked) : “ What happened ? Are the mid-sems result out? ”

Me : “No! It’s just that I don’t know what I am doing with my life.”

Roomie: “ Why are you in a brown study today ? ” Don’t tell me you have completed the entire Supernatural series and have no more episodes to watch. The ‘Sherlock’ episode has come out. You can watch that.”

Me : “ I am serious. I am 20 now and I am just not satisfied with what I am today. I feel worthless.”

Oh! by the way, I did complete the Supernatural series, and I have put the ‘Sherlock’ episode on download.

That’s not the point. I think I don’t have the qualities to be a successful person in life. How will I fulfill my aspirations when I am not even confident enough about my abilities and strengths? Forget the aspirations, I don’t even feel good as a human being !!”

Roomie (in a saturnine tone) : “Well, I am on the same page with you ! Indeed there are so much expectations and hopes with one’s life that I am scared and afraid of facing the world after college. I want to live a happy and successful life and the fear of failure haunts me everyday.”

Me (histrionically) : “Am I ever going to cheer up ?? Will I ever regain my confidence? Am I good for anything? Oh, how I wish someone could bring me back to life !

Roomie: Don’t lose heart! Ok, Let’s do one thing. Let’s play a game so that we can both cheer up and regain the lost confidence.

Me: What game?

Roomie : You list one strength/ admirable quality that I have , and then I will list yours. We will keep rotating the turns. But no exaggeration and pretense ! You don’t have to flatter me. It should be genuine.

Me: Will that work?

Roomie : I have not tried, but let’s check !

    ~

And man did it work! By the end of a 15 minute-long session, alternatively admiring the other person and hearing words of praise for yourself, the mood was lifted , the missing confidence regained and a lesson was learnt.

The account dates back to my college days and is one of the most vivid moments that I shared with my room-mate. That day, we learnt two things:

  1. Admiration lifts our mood and helps us regain confidence. So that day we promised to each other that if ever, either of us feels low or disheartened or worthless in life, the other would come to the rescue – not only to shower admiration on the gloomy friend and cheer her up, but also to make her see the beauty in the world by making her to praise the former.
  1. A girl understands a fellow girl’s mindset so well! 🙂

From that day, it was a secret we both had kept to ourselves, until this day when I am letting the cat out of the bag. We even gave a name to the game – ‘Mutual Admiration Sessions’.

Well the game was a stroke of serendipity, but can it not be extrapolated to our life ?

During the course of the journey we call life, we often come across predicaments which tend to shatter our confidence in our own being. Our worth becomes a blurred image and we tend to question the correctness of every decision we take, owing to the failures we encountered in the past or harbingers of discouragement we came across. Ideally, our conscience should remind us of the accomplishments we have achieved in the past and the greater heights we are capable of reaching in future – we know it as self-confidence. But at certain times, our conscience ceases to communicate and gets buried under a thick cover of apprehensions and doubt. We need an external agent to lift that cover and show us a picture of what truly we are capable.

The endeavor should not be equated to chest thumping – the intention is not to get blinded by the admiring words showered upon by the ‘mutual admiring partner’. That’s why, it is mutual. You will hear praise for yourself, but you will also have to point out qualities that you admire in your fellow participant. It will negate the probability of getting lost in narcissism. Eventually, when the cover is lifted, your mood will be lifted along with your confidence.

I also believe that some people will find it silly and childish and immature.

When somebody is depressed and low, and has lost all the trust and faith on oneself and one’s capabilities, how can such a stupid game help?

My answer to all those people:

You have been serious all your life. Try being silly for a change !

It might work for you, it might not ! I give no guarantee. But at least it will be worth a try.

Well, it helped me and my roomie ! 🙂

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Foreign Words In English – French

frenchenglishwords      Do-you-speak-English

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Starting a new endeavor, I bring to you my latest edition of foreign words which will enrich your exotic vocabulary and will give you an insight into different foreign words (and their origin), which are widely used in English. Use them in your writing and let the words do wonder for you!

For the first edition, I have listed the French-origin words commonly used in English.

About the language :

French is one of the worlds great languages, rivalled only by English as the language of international society and diplomacy.Besides in France itself, French can be heard in several other European countries, widely throughout Africa, and also in various dependencies. In addition, it is the unofficial second language of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and many others.It is the mother tongue of about 75 million people, with millions more familiar with it as a second language.French is one of the romance languages, descended from Latin. A number of dialects initially emerged but history favoured the North and Parisian French gained ascendancy over the others.In the 17th – 19th centuries French was pre-eminent as an international language, though it has been eclipsed by English in the 20th.

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During my analysis and reading to prepare this list, I came across many familiar French words which I thought had English origin. So the entire exercise had its own surprising moments.

Get ready to get surprised and start giving a French touch to your writing by incorporating these words at the right place to convey the apt meaning.

Avoir du plaisir à apprendre !

( I hope that means ‘ Have fun learning !’ in French – if not , feel free to correct me)

French-originated Word Meaning Usage
à la carte On the menu.

In restaurants, it refers to ordering individual dishes rather than fixed priced meals

The restaurant provides three course dinner à la carte on Wednesday evening
Adieu good-bye, farewell The entire school gathered in the auditorium to bid adieu to the principal.
Avant-garde The pioneers or innovators in art in a particular period Because the new tower has an avant-garde design, it does not fit in with the historical buildings in the square.
Bête noire A person or thing that one particularly dislikes or avoids. Jane was his . He always tried to avoid her.
Agent provocateur A person employed to induce others to break the law so that they can be convicted. He acted as an agent provocateur, instigating the mob for violent protest.
Carte Blanche complete freedom to act as one wishes. The architect was given carte blanche to design the restaurant by the restaurateur.
Déjà vu a feeling of having already experienced the present situation. I felt a sense of déjà vu when I walked down that lane.
En route On the way I am en route for the meeting at my office.
Esprit de corps feeling of pride and mutual loyalty shared by the members of a group The team under Jaden has no unity and no spirit de corps.
Fait accompli a thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected hear about it, leaving them with no option but to accept it. Accepting the change as a fait accompli, the best we could do was to adjust ourselves according to the change.
Faux pas an embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social situation The designer committed a fashion faux pas at a recent fashion event by wearing a dress made of leaves.
Haute Couture expensive, fashionable clothes produced by leading fashion houses. She inaugurated her new store that would make haute couture accessible to common people.
Laissez-faire abstention by governments from interfering in the workings of the free market.

the policy of leaving things to take their own course, without interfering.

Small business owners are happiest when the government maintains its laissez-faire management style and stays out of their affairs.
Nouveau riche people who have recently acquired wealth, typically those perceived as ostentatious or lacking in good taste. He was nouveau riche, but nobody knew how he amassed such great wealth.
RSVP Please respond (to my message). Literally the abbreviation of ‘Répondez, s’il vous plaît’. Please send an RSVP request to all the guests, so that I can estimate the number of guests attending the wedding.
Vis-a-vis In relation to Many agencies now have a unit to deal with women’s needs vis-à-vis employment.
Cliché a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. When will she come up with a new phrase and stop using that cliché in all her social media posts?
Gaffe An unintentional act or remark causing embarrassment to its originator; a blunder. Keeping abreast of fashion trends ensures that one does not make a social gaffe in interacting with one’s peers.
Panache flamboyant confidence of style or manner. She always wears her stylish outfits with panache.
Rapprochement (Especially in international affairs) an establishment or resumption of harmonious relations. The rapprochement talks between the two nations are in progress.
Soirée An evening party or gathering I have been invited to a soiree at her home on Wednesday.
Raison d’être The most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence. The company‘s raison d’être is to provide cheaper mobiles to the public.
Saboteur a person who engages in sabotage. She will go down as the chief saboteur of the monarchy.
Gourmet a connoisseur of good food; a person with a discerning palate.

Of a kind or standard suitable for a gourmet.

He was a celebrated gourmet, who travelled all around the world tasting all types of gourmet food..
burlesque An absurd or comically exaggerated imitation of something, especially in a literary or dramatic work; a parody. He has written a novel which is a burlesque of the literary life
Chauffeur Driver She always preferred a chauffeured driven limousine.
Élan A distinctive flair or style He performed with elan without getting scared of a packed auditorium.
Pince nez A type of spectacles without temple arms One of the distinctive characterization details of Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’ was the pince-nez he wore.

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Silhouette The dark shape and outline of someone or something visible in restricted light against a brighter background. She paused to see the church’s silhouette against the dimming sky
Charlatan a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill. The charlatan tried to deceive people into thinking he was a minister collecting donations for the poor.
Vignette a brief evocative description, account, or episode.

Design on a book page

Her novel is a classy vignette of contemporary life.
Belles lettres essays, particularly on literary and artistic criticism, written and read primarily for their aesthetic effect. The emergence of a literature of belles-lettres reflected the success of the colonies
Pirouette an act of spinning on one foot, typically with the raised foot touching the knee of the supporting leg. The dancer fell down while attempting a pirouette during the dance.

pirouette

Silhouette of a dancer attempting a pirouette !!

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Resumé a written summary of your education, work experience, and achievements; also known as a ‘curriculum vitae’ (CV) Please ask him to forward me his resume. I will have a look and then let you know whether this job suits him.
Facade The front part of the building that faces the street

 

a deceptive outward appearance.

Behind that facade of indifference, there’s a very nice person.
Camarederie Mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together. Because of the camaraderie they shared, the soldiers trusted each other with their lives.

Build Your Vocabulary Part – 6

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For the enthusiast readers and authors, here is the 6th edition of vocabulary tutorial – more words to add to your dictionary !

Happy learning !

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Word Meaning Sentence
Debauched Characterized by excessive indulgence in sex, alcohol or drugs His father did not approve of his son’s  debauched lifestyle.
Salacious Conveying indecent interest in sexual matters, obscene This novel had salacious content.
Whet A thing that stimulates appetite or desire. The delicious food laid at the table whetted my appetite.
Gumption Shrewd or spirited  initiative and resourcefulness Although he was well paid he had the gumption to ask for a raise.
Grit Courage and resolve, strength of character Grit, perseverance and determination are imperative qualities for succeeding in any field.
Gormandize Eat good food, especially in excess “Don’t gormandize at the party ! Don’t make a pig of yourself !”
Eerie Strange, frightening The door made an eerie sound at night.
Obeisance Deferential respect In my family, we say a prayer before each meal to show obeisance and thanks.
Gory Involving or showing violence and bloodshed The king captured the northern territory after  defeating his enemy in a gory battle.
Agog Very eager or curious to hear or see something They were all agog for the exam results.
Banal, trite, hackneyed Lacking in originality, overused Eventually, the saying has become so hackneyed that people have stopped using it.
Abstemious Indulging very moderately in something, like food or drink. Following his mother’s order, Jaden was abstemious at dinner.
Saturnine Gloomy, morose, sad and solemn

(ant. Sanguine )

The dog’s eyes became saturnine whenever his owner left the house.
Fanatical Filled with excessive and single-minded zeal His wife was fanatical about tidiness.
Heresy Opinions profoundly different from dogmatic or orthodox views, deviation from a dominant theory or opinion Just because an idea is new does not mean it is heresy.
Beatific Feeling or expressing blissful happiness Her beatific smile hides all the troubles she has been going through.
Blustery Characterized by strong winds, tempestuous The blustery student is difficult for the teachers to handle
anathema something or someone that one vehemently dislikes Reading classics is an anathema to me.
inveterate having a particular habit, activity, or interest that is long-established and unlikely to change. He is an inveterate gambler who spends all his money in gambling.
frisson A sudden feeling of excitement or fear, thrill. I felt a frisson just as they were about to announce the winner in my category.
superaanuated Outdated, obsolete, old fashioned Often they are forced to write about superannuated celebrities in preference to fresh talent.
entourage A group of people surrounding or attending to an important person An entourage of royal advisors always followed the king.
accrued accumulate or receive (payments or benefits) over time. Loans accrue interests.
unbridled unrestrained The girls danced with unbridled enthusiasm after winning the competition.

Commonly Used Idioms Part – 5

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Here comes the exclusive 5th edition of Idioms. As I explore the language and its endless list of idioms, I often come across a story hidden behind the origin of every idiom – sometimes hilarious, sometimes very interesting.

For example, take ‘Achilles’ heel’ – Achilles was a Greek hero in the Trojan War, who was defeated when his enemy shot him in the heel with an arrow. Legends say that Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except his heel. So now, when we say something is someone’s Achilles’ heel, it is his/her biggest weakness! Told you – origin of some idioms are very interesting. 🙂

Idiom Meaning Sentence
Catch off guard To surprise someone by doing something one was not expecting One of the larger airlines caught its rivals off guard yesterday by suddenly announcing a cut in fares.
Have money to burn To have a lot of money and spend large amounts on things which are unnecessary Christine’s new boyfriend seems to have money to burn. He’s always buying her extravagant gifts.
House on fire If two people get on like a house on fire, they like each other very much and become friends very quickly: I was worried before introducing my girlfriend to my sister, but when they met, they were a house on fire.
It’s all Greek to me something that you say when you do not understand something that is written or said The phrases written in the letter are all Greek to me.
Achilles’ Heel Weakness or vulnerable point The team is good on attack but defense is their Achilles’ heel.
A high hand oppressively The ruler rules his subjects with high hands.
Jump the gun To start something too soon When we took the test, Tom jumped the gun to gain a lead over others.
Let off steam To release one’s pent up(not expressed or released) emotions The kids can let off steam in the gardens while mum and dad have a relaxing drink
Get out of bed on the wrong side Someone in a bad mood and is easily annoyed all day What’s the matter with you? Did you get out of bed on the wrong side or something?
Cook the book Falsify a company’s financial accounts/records An independent audit showed that they’ve been cooking the books for years.
Couch potato A person who takes little or no exercise and watches a lot of television. During his vacation, he becomes a couch potato.
Full of hot air Full of nonsense Mary’s answer sheet is full of hot air.
Live in an ivory tower Live a life away from harsh realities of life Many professors are said to live in ivory towers. They don’t know what the real world is like.
Pipe down To stop talking Please pipe down and work on your homework.
Know the ropes Informed/aware of all the details of a situation or task Don’t worry about Sara’s taking over that reporter’s job-she already knows the ropes.
A dime a dozen Very common Romantic movies are a dime a dozen.
Dead ringer Looking very similar, duplicate He is a dead ringer of his late grandfather.
To pass the buck To pass the blame, to pass the responsibility Some people try to pass the buck whenever they can to avoid work.
A good Samaritan Someone who tries to help people with their problems Jane is a good Samaritan. She comes to everyone’s’ rescue.
Come to rescue To save someone or something A big donor came to the college’s rescue.
Whole nine yards Entire amount, everything possible She is mortgaging the house, her jewelry, the whole nine yards for his son’s college fees.
Last straw The final point beyond one cannot endure When he came late for the meeting the fifth time in two weeks, that was the last straw for his boss.
In a brown study Lost in deep thoughts She was in a brown study when I called her.
Stand one’s ground Refusing to change one’s position, stand firm despite opposition She was not intimidated by the police and stood her ground and described the burglar.
Cant’ hold a candle to Unable to measure up to someone Mary can’t hold a candle to Ann when it comes to athletics.
One’s salad days A time of youthful inexperience and carefree pleasure  But that was in my salad days, before I got married and had children.