Vocabulary | Humour


Did you know that there are over 600,000 words in English? That's a lot of words, and far more than any human being could ever manage to learn. Even Shakespeare only used around 55,000 different words in all of his works. Mind you, he did actually invent quite a few of them. To get a good mastery of English, you do need to expand your vocabulary as much as possible. The more words you know, the better your English will be. The Activities here will help you to quickly develop your vocabulary.


These English Activities are built around English jokes. The jokes may be old or new; they may be very funny or just amusing. The language of the joke is explored, and you will begin to understand a very important aspect of the English language - humour. Many students of English, be they students of English as a second language or of English as a foreign language, find it very difficult to "get" English jokes. British humour has a strong satirical element aimed at showing the absurdity of everyday life. A lot of English humour depends on cultural knowledge and the themes commonly include the British class system, wit, innuendo, to boost subjects and puns, self-deprecation, sarcasm, and insults. As well as this, English humour is often delivered in a deadpan way or is considered by many to be insensitive. A particular aspect of British English humour is the humour of the macabre, were topics that are usually treated seriously are treated in a very humorous or satirical way.

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Whether you have money or not, there is a lot of vocabulary in English to do with it. This lesson will help you talk about being careful with your money to being miserly with it. Whether you are generous with your money, or a total Scrooge, you will find the vocabulary in this lesson useful.

From The OED on CD-ROM

parsimonious, a. (pɑːsɪˈməʊnɪəs) 

Also 7 perci-, 7– parci-. 

[f. L. parsimōnia parsimony + -ous. Cf. It. parsimonioso (Florio 1598), F. parcimonieux (1788 in Hatz.-Darm.).] 

Characterized by parsimony; careful in the use or disposal of money or resources; sparing, saving; ‘close’. Said of persons, their expenditure, etc. 

   1598 Dallington Meth. Trav. H, Such a parsimonious sparer was Lewes 11.    1601 R. Johnson Kingd. & Commw. (1603) 238 Being so percimonious and sparing in his expences.    1655 Fuller Ch. Hist. iii. i. §28 Afterward he proved most parcimonious.    1769 Robertson Chas. V, xi. III. 315 He husbanded the provisions‥with the most parsimonious economy.    1874 Green Short Hist. vii. §3. 364 Her expenditure was parsimonious and even miserly.

b.b fig. Sparing or niggardly in the use or disposal of immaterial things. 

   a 1716 South Serm. (1744) IX. vii. 212 These are those inexorable spiritual Cato's, those parsimonious dispensers of mercy.    1745 J. Mason Self Knowl. i. v. (1853) 46 Nature‥deals out her Favours in the present State with a parcimonious Hand.    1865 Seeley Ecce Homo i. (ed. 8) 4 They asked, is God so little parsimonious of his noblest gift.

c.c Of things: Yielding sparingly, unproductive; meagre, scanty; showing parsimony, poor, mean. 

   1713 C'tess of Winchilsea Misc. Poems 169 T'allay thy envy'd Gains, Unthought of, on the parcimonious Plains.    1782 F. Burney Cecilia i. ix, Her dress, though parsimonious, was too neat for a beggar.    1830 S. Warren Diary Physic. (ed. Tauchn.) I. 11 Our parsimonious fare hardly deserved the name of food.

Hence parsiˈmoniously adv., parsiˈmoniousness. 

   1671 L. Addison W. Barbary v. 130, I find them‥without Parsimoniousness, and placing no Character of good House⁓keeping in abundance of Viands.    a 1745 Swift (J.), Our ancestors acted parsimoniously, because they only spent their own treasure for the good of their posterity; whereas we squandered away the treasures of our posterity.    1822–56 De Quincey Confess. (1862) 161, I continued‥to live most parsimoniously in lodgings.    1859 Helps Friends in C. Ser. ii. II. v. 110 It should tend to‥generosity rather than to parsimoniousness.

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