Tuesday January 22, 2013
By S.H. LOKE
CREEPY crawlies make our hairs stand on their ends. We feel squeamish so we squeal with fear or squirm in disgust. Though they are repulsive, they have crept into the English language to enrich our descriptions with vivid details.
A. A small child you feel sorry for.
The poor mites begging by the roadside were a pathetic sight.
B. A mite also means to a small extent or degree.
I cannot help feeling a mite nervous when I go on stage.
A. A tiny hidden microphone which transmits what people say.
A bug was planted in his phone by the police.
B. You can say someone has been bitten by a particular bug when they are very enthusiastic about something.
She is always globe-trotting as she has been bitten by the travel bug.
C. If someone or something bugs you, they worry or annoy you.
My mother is always bugging me about tidying up my room.
If you describe something like handwriting as spidery, you mean it consists of thin, dark, pointed lines.
I recognise her spidery writing easily.
If you describe a place as moth-eaten, you mean it is unattractive or useless because it is old or worn-out.
Chusan Hotel has become a moth-eaten hotel which is no longer popular.
Someone who is described as a leech deliberately depends on other people, often making money out of them.
Bernie is a leech who likes to swindle rich women.
6. Fly on the wall
If you say you would like to be a fly on the wall in a situation which does not involve you, you mean you would like to see or hear what happens in that situation.
I would like to be a fly on the wall when Nancy finds out she has bought a fake ruby ring from Beijing.
If you say someone is worming their way into someoneís elseís affection, they are making someone trust them, often in order to deceive them.
He managed to worm his way into the confidence of his neighbour.
8. A can of worms
If someone opens a can of worms, they are planning to do something which is more complicated or difficult than they realize.
When he started his furniture business he opened a can of worms.
To go somewhere quickly especially because you do not want to be noticed.
He was beetling down the back lane with a stolen plant.
If you slug someone, you hit them hard.
After a heated argument, he slugged his friend.
A waspish remark or sense of humour is sharp and critical.
His waspish remarks may offend many people.