Exciting Adventures in the English Language and Culture

Tag: Upper-Intermediate

Body Parts as Verbs

Body parts are among the first words English learners are taught, which is perfectly understandable given that we use our bodies and talk about them a lot.

However, as is often the case in English, many of the nouns describing different parts of the human body are also verbs, and useful ones for that. More often than not students are left to discover them one by one on their own while reading or watching videos.

I decided to make it easier for you and give you a more or less complete list of such verbs in today’s post. (A quick disclaimer: most of the verbs below have multiple meanings; I’ll be looking only at those an average person is most likely to need in their day-to-day speaking – for others you can always consult a good dictionary.)

Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay

Starting from the top, our first verb is to head. It has several meanings:

1) to hit the ball with your head, especially in football

Don’t head the ball unless you know how to avoid injury.

2) to travel in a particular direction and often in a deliberate way

We headed out of town early in the morning to avoid traffic.

3) to be in charge, or, in other words, to be the head (=leader, the most important person) of a team, company etc.

Michael heads (up) the London branch of the company.

4) to be at the top of a group of people or things – just like the head is at the top of the body

The book heads the shortlist for the Booker Prize.

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Wanderlust

Image by Digital Designer from Pixabay

Do you like travelling? You probably do, but how much? Are you happy to go on a couple of holidays a year, or are you one of those who really suffer staying in one place for a few months, weeks or even days? If the latter, then there’s a perfect word to describe your urge to constantly move on – it’s wanderlust.

The English language borrowed it from German at the very start of the twentieth century. It’s a blend of two German words, meaning literally ‘desire to wander’.

How can it be used in a sentence? Here’s some examples:

Smitten by wanderlust, he quit his job, sold his house and spent the rest of his life gallivanting all over the world.

She suffers from wanderlust but has to stay at home with children.

Shortly after the Iron Curtain had been lifted, he went on a sightseeing holiday to Paris and was immediately gripped by wanderlust visiting one country after another until he died last year.

That’s a nice addition to your vocabulary, isn’t it?

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