source by VOA

All About Names: He Was a True Jack of All Trades

Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories.

A person’s name is very important. Some names also have special meanings in popular American expressions.  To better understand what I mean, sit back and listen.  You might even want to get a cup of Joe, I mean, a cup of coffee. […]

By |March 4th, 2009|VOA 1|0 Comments

Hobson’s Choice: When There Is Really No Choice at All

Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories.

Making choices is necessary, but not always easy. Many of our expressions tell about this difficulty.

One of these expressions is Hobson’s choice. It often is used to describe a difficult choice. But that is not what it really means. Its real meaning is to […]

By |March 4th, 2009|VOA 1|0 Comments

Baseball Terms: This Is a Whole New Ballgame

Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories.

Baseball is America’s national sport. So it is not unusual that many popular expressions come from baseball. But first, let me explain a little about the game.

Each baseball team has nine players. The pitcher of one team throws the ball to a […]

By |March 4th, 2009|VOA 1|0 Comments

Top Brass: What American Workers Call Their Employers

I’m Susan Clark with the Special English program, Words and Their Stories.

The Italians have an old saying, “Il dolce far niente.”  The words mean it is sweet, or enjoyable, to do nothing.

On weekends and during holidays, many of us enjoy doing nothing. But most of the time we have to work. And, to keep our jobs, we must work hard. Our employer will not like it if we do nothing. […]

By |March 4th, 2009|VOA 1|0 Comments

Couch Potato: Life as a Full-Time Television Watcher

Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories.

Some unusual words describe how a person spends his or her time.  For example, someone who likes to spend a lot of time sitting or lying down while watching television is sometimes called a couch potato.  A couch is a piece of furniture that people sit on while watching television. […]

By |March 4th, 2009|VOA 1|0 Comments

Hang: Don’t Get Excited, Just Hang Loose

Now, the Special English program, Words and Their Stories.

Hang is a simple word. But there are many meanings for hang. Especially when it is used with other words. Two often-heard expressions are to hang tight and to hang loose.  […]

By |March 4th, 2009|VOA 1|0 Comments

Belittle: Thomas Jefferson First Used This Word

Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories.
Today’s word is belittle. It was first used by Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States.
Many years ago, a French naturalist, the Count de Buffon, wrote some books about natural history. The books were a great success even though some critics did not like them. Some critics said, “Count Buffon is more of a poet than a scientist.” […]

By |March 3rd, 2009|VOA 1|0 Comments

Swan Song: It Was My Final Effort and My Finest Work

Now, the Special English program, Words and Their Stories.
Every people has its own way of saying things, its own special expressions. These are the living speech of a people. And a story can be told about each of them. […]

By |March 3rd, 2009|VOA 1|0 Comments

Great Scott: What a Surprise!

Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories.
Every language has its ways of expressing strong emotions — surprise, shock, anger. […]

By |March 3rd, 2009|VOA 1|0 Comments

Wildcat: Is It a Fast Car or False Money?

Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories. Today, we tell about the word wildcat.
Humans have always depended on animals. From the beginning of human history, wild animals provided food, clothing and sometimes medicine. […]

By |March 3rd, 2009|VOA 1|0 Comments