English Skill Building – 102 – Vocabulary

English Skill Building – 102


Words – phrases with multiple uses


a. The singer was incarcerated for a long ten years because she had sung a song critical of the dictator in power. After her release she was horrified to find that she could no longer sing. Along period of disuse and no practice inside the prison had made her voice croaky.

b. After the British left India, some of their official quarters remained unoccupied for years. The government had to spend a huge amount to renovate these buildings. Years of disuse had caused the roof to crack in a few places and the plaster on the walls to peel off.


Some senior government officers misuse their official cars. Their families and friends go on picnic using these vehicles.


The officer was suspended from service when a Dalit staffer working under him complained that the former had abused him using casteist slur.

Brief [as adjective]

After I heard my professor’s brief introduction to Quantum Mechanics, my mind became impatient to explore the subject.

Brief [as verb]

The intelligence agent briefed his boss about the activities of the Maoists in the city.

Brief [as noun]

Meaning 1 – The finance minister’s brief is to reduce the budget deficit drastically.
Meaning 2 – The advocate’s hands are full. He is not accepting any more brief.


A fan of the pop singer climbed on to the stage and ripped the shirt of the artist.

Rip off

The credit card companies rip off their customers even for minor defaults.

Rip into

The commando ripped into the hideout of the fugitive with his gun blazing.

The opposition leader ripped into the president’s inaugural speech citing many unsubstantiated claims in it.

Rip up

The examiner ripped up the answer paper after finding that the answers were all copied from a book.

Blaze [as noun]

Meaning 1 – Some arsonists had started a fire in a forest. In minutes, the whole forest was ablaze. Fire-fighting helicopters were pressed into service to control the blaze.
Meaning 2 – A maroon-coloured blaze in the sky intrigued the scientists in the astronomical observatory.
Meaning 3 – In early winter the gardens of Kashmir become a blaze of colour with flowers of many hues blooming.

Blaze [as phrasal verb]

Blazed away

The ship caught fire. With no fire fighting facilities available on board, the ship blazed away for days before sinking into the sea.

Blazed up

The dry leaves on the forest floor blazed up at the touch of a match.

The wife blazed up at her husband’s allegation when the divorce proceedings were going on in the family court.

Blaze [as idiom]

Blaze a new trail

Virat Kohli has blazed a trail in the field of Indian cricket.

Strike [as noun]

The strike in the railways has left thousands of soldiers stranded inside their compartments.

The opening batsman waved at the audience before taking the strike.

Strike [as verb]

She strikes her dog with a small whip if it does not obey her.

Before entering the Gurudwara, it didn’t strike to me that I had to cover my head.

The Samajwadi Party is trying to strike a deal with smaller parties before the state elections.

Lata Manjeskar’s songs strike a chord in the minds of Indians.

The NATO is trying hard to strike a bargain with President Putin to avert a showdown over Ukraine.

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