ESL Resources for Students & Teachers - Simple English News

Active Words

Learn new English vocabulary the fun and easy way which is enjoyed by ESL students all over the world. ESL teachers can use these materials in their English classes – if you would like to use material from this site, please send an email to info at simpleenglishnews dot com for permission.




ability: natural talent, being able to do something.

abroad: in a foreign country.

to accompany: to join.

accountancy: keeping and inspecting financial records of businesses, institutions or individuals.

accurate: exact, truthful.

to acquire: to get by one’s effort, American Heritage Dictionary.

to achieve: to reach a goal, result.

addictive: relating to a habit that is hard to stop. He is addicted to drugs.

adolescence: (usually) a person’s teenage years.

to age: to get older.

airborne: in flight, flying.

alliance: an agreement to work together.

to amaze: to make a great impression.

The Americas (also America): North and South America.

ancestor: someone who is your relative and who lived a long time ago.

antagonist: a person who opposes other person, opponent.

anthem: a hymn.

to apologize: to say that one is sorry.

appliance: a household item (often electric) used for a purpose, ie, a toaster, hair-dryer.

appriase: to give your opinion about the value of something.

archery: shooting arrows.

archipelago: a large group of islands.

architecture: buildings.

as early early: very early.

audax: a long-distance cycling event which participants must navigate within a predefined time limit.

autumn (BrE): the season of the year after summer and before winter.



bachelor: a man who is not married.

backlash: a strong negative reaction.

baldness: lack of hair growth, hair loss.

ballpark: a baseball stadium, a place where ball games are played.

to ban: to prohibit, to forbid.

bastion: a fortified place.

to be crazy about: to like something very much.

to be credited with: to be responsible for (inventing, making, producing).

to be fed up: to have had enough, to be tired of.

beloved: well liked, popular.

benefits: positive uses.

beverage: drink.

bicentenary: the 200th anniversary.

The Big Apple: a term for New York City.

blender (also liquidizer): a small electric appliance used in the kitchen for cutting vegetables, fruit, etc.

blight: a disease of plants.

blistering: (of sunlight) very strong, intense.

blizzarda powerful snowstorm.

blockhead: a stupid person.

bloodstream: the blood flowing through a circulatory system, Random House Unabridged Dictionary.

to bother: to disturb, to cause trouble.

bout: a (boxing) contest.

brainchild: an original idea.

to brew: to make beer.

brewery: a company which makes beer.

buff: a person who is interested in a particualr thing, a fan.

buffer: a device at the end of a railway car to absorb shock.

buffoonish: like a clown.

bug: (informal) a virus.

bully: a person who is cruel to smaller or weaker people.

to burn up: to be completely destroyed by heat (e.g. objects entering the earth’s atmosphere).

to busk:to perform outdoors.

bustling: full of activity.



candlelight: the light of a candle.

catch: a problematic downside.

catfish: someone using a false identity on social network media in order to cheat.

cemetery: a place in which dead people are buried.

chalk: a white or coloured substance used for writing or drawing.

chateau: a large country house or castle.

to cheer up: don‘t be sad.

childbirth: giving birth to a child.

to chillax: to calm down and relax.

to chime: to make a musical sound, ie, from a bell or a clock.

the Chinese: Chinese people.

chocoholic: a person who is very fond of eating chocolate.

chocolatier: maker or seller of chocolate.

chore: work done around the house, ie, washing dishes.

Christmas: an annual Christian festival commemorating and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ held on Decmeber 25.

cigarette butt: the filter end of a cigarette that you throw away after you have finished smoking.

to claim: to state that something is true.

cliff: a steep high face of a rock (according to WordNet).

climber: a person or thing that goes up towards the top of.

clockwork: machinery that is used especially in mechanical clocks.

clothing line: it is a collection of clothes in the fashion industry put together to show designer’s inspiration, often featuring new trends during a particular season.

to come true: to fulfil, to happen.

commotion: a noisy disturbance.

complaint: a statement that you are not satisfied with something.

to commence: to start.

concentration camp: a place where prisoners of war are kept under harsh, terrible conditions.

to conduct: to lead, direct, manage.

to consider: to think about.

to construct:to build.

contentedness: satisfaction.

to contradict: to show the opposite of something.

to converse: to speak, hold a conversation.

conglomeration: (in business) a group of several companies.

to convince: to persuade, to win someone to your side of an argument.

to cope: to deal with something successfully.

copyleft: opposite of copyright.

cosmonaut: a Soviet or Russian astronaut.

cottage: a small house by a lake or mountain that is often used as a vacation home.

crane: a device for lifting and moving heavy weights.

craze: a temporary fashion, mania.

crisis: a difficult time, a dangerous time.

crude oil: petroleum as it comes from the ground.

cruelty: behaviour that causes harm.

cub: the young of a bear.

cub reporter: a young or inexperienced reporter employed by a newspaper.

cuisine: the making and style of food, ie, Italian cuisine, Japanese cuisine.

cutlery: forks, knives and spoons used for eating.

to cut off: to stop the supply of something.



daily: a daily newspaper.

to dash: to move, run quickly.

debris: the remains of something which was destroyed or broken down.

to debut: to appear for the first time.

deceased: dead.

to deduce: to form a conclusion or opinion about something.

demand: the need to buy something — which one has the ability to buy.

deodorizer: a product that removes a bad smell from something.

dependence: needing something, relying on something.

to depict: to show in a picture.

descent: the origin of a person.

desirable: something that someone would want, something that is worth having.

destination: a place to which a person is travelling.

devastating: causing damage.

devotee: a big fan, supporter, enthusiast.

diplomat: a person, such as an ambassador, who represents a government.

dire: horrible, terrible.

dismal: depressing, cheerless.

display: exhibition.

dispute: disagreement, argument.

dog days of summer: the hot days of summer.

dormant: inactive.

dough: flour and liquid mixed together.

to download: to transfer a file from one computer to another.

to dub: to give name to.

to duck: to bend down suddenly (to avoid a punch or a thrown object).

dulcet: (especially of sounds) sweet and pleasant to the ear.

dung: excrement, especiall of animals.

to dye: to color (colour BrE) something.



eager: strong interest or enthusiasm.

earworm: a tune or part of a song that keeps repeating in your mind.

elder: older.

elevation: the height above sea or ground level.

to elope: to run away secretly to get married.

to embrace: to put one’s arms around another person.

to enable: to make possible.

to endorse: to give support.

entrepreneur: a person who starts a business.

epitome: a typical example of a particular type.

erroneously: wrongly, mistakenly.

to establish: to set up.

evocative: that produces especially emotional feelings.

exasperating: frustrating, irritating.

Executive Board: a group of people that are directly involved in making the most importantdecision for an organistation.

exhausted: very tired.

exponentially: used to describe something which has grown extremely fast.

extraterrestrial: outside earth.

extrovert: a talkative person.



fall (AmE): the season of the year after summer and before winter.

to fall apart: break up, (of an organization) not to continue.

fancier: a person who has a special liking towards something: ie, John likes dogs, he is a dog fancier.

faux pas: behaviour that is not polite.

favorite: (in sports) the player or team that is most likely to win.

feline: belonging to the cat family.

feud: a strong quarrel or argument which often exists for a long time.

fidelity: not cheating on your partner.

to file: to send in a report.

to fire: to remove someone from a job.

firm (noun): a business, company.

flavour: (flavor AmE) a taste.

to flee (flee – fled -fled): to run away.

fleeting: not lasting, temporary.

flux: a constant change.

footie: (slang) football, soccer.

footing: basis, base.

forces: an army or military.

fortune: a great amount of money or possessions, wealth.

fraction: a small part of a larger whole.

frequently: often.



gadget: a device.

gaffe: a mistake.

game: wild animals which are hunted.

gamification: the concept of adding playful elements into a game in order to encourage the engagement of participants.

garlic: a plant, with a very strong taste and smell, which is used in cookery and herbal medicine.

gather: to come together.

to get by: to make enough money to live on, pay bills, buy food, etc.

to get upset: to become angry.

glare: a very strong, bright light.

to glow: to produce light.

gondola: a Venetian boat.

to go through the roof: to rise (prices) very quickly, to go up very sharply.

to go to the polls: to vote.

to grant: to allow, to let have, to give permission.

greenback: the American dollar.

the green light: approval, permission.

grubby: dirty.

gruelling: physically difficult or tiring.



haberdashery:: small things used in sewing, a shop selling these items.

hailstone: a small ball of ice that falls like rain.

to hand out: to give out, supply.

harsh:: cruel.

harvest: the crops that have been gathered in a season.

to hatch: to come out from an egg.

to have egg on one’s face: to make an embarrassing mistake, to feel like a fool.

to have two left feet: to dance badly.

heat sink: a device for absorbing excessive heat.

heavyweight: a boxer that weighs more than 79.4 kilograms.

to hibernate: to sleep during the winter.

hiker: a person (tourist) who goes for a walk in the countryside.

holidaymaker: vacationer, someone who is on holiday.

homesick: missing ones home.

hood: (AmE: the bonnet) the movable part of a car covering the engine.

to hurl: to throw.



in a row: without interruption, one after the other.

indigenous: native.

illegible: not readable.

inconvenient: not good for someone.

individual: person.

inexpensive: cheap, not expensive.

influence: (in art) a person or style that has a powerful effect on the work you do.

innovative: new (used when speaking about a new product or idea.)

interpretation: oral translation.

introvert: a shy person.



journey: trip.

junk: old things considered as of no value anymore, waste.



to kick off: to start a game.

to kick the habit: to stop a bad habit, such as smoking or drinking.

kilt: traditional clothing worn by men and boys in Scotland.

knit: to make an item from yarn or thread by using long needles or a special machine.



to lack: to be without something.

lacklustre: unispiring.

laconic: using few words.

to land: (of a plane or bird) to come down from the air.

landline: a traditional telephone, i.e., not a mobile.

landmark: an important or historic building.

latter: the second of two.

lavish: luxurious.

least: smallest, lowest.

lent: the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic as a period of fasting.

life expectancy: the amount of time a person is expected to live.

likely: a word used to describe something that will probably happen.

liquidizer: a small electric appliance used in the kitchen for cutting vegetables, fruit, etc.

litter: rubbish, waste material.

loan: especially a sum of money that is expected to be returned.

to lob: to throw slowly.

to look over someones shoulder: to monitor someones activity constantly.

loosely translated: not exact translation.

looting: stealing or taking something. Looting is iften used in newspaper reports after an earthquake or riot.

to lose your temper: to be angry.

lovebirds: a couple which is very much in love.

lung: each of the pair of respiratory organs (adj. related to this organ).

to lure : to attract.



malnutrition: not eating enough food.

to make ends meet: to get by with money one makes.

manufacturer: a person or company that makes a product.

manure: excrement, especially of animals.

marine: related to the sea. 

means: a method.

memorable: easily remembered.

to metamorphose: to transform.

midfielder: a player who occupies the middle of the field.

mint: a place where coins are made.

miraculous: extraordinary

monk: a member of a male religious community who does not own anything and is not married.

monstrous: like a monster, very big.

mortgage: a special loan for buying property such as a house, etc.

moustache: (AmE mustache) the hair on the upper lip.

multitude: a large amount, number.



necessity: a need for something.

neglected: receiving little or no attention.

nebulizer: a device used to provide medication to the lungs (Wikipedia).

nerd: a person who is good in technology but not very good in communicating with other people.

nerve-racking: inclined to make one nervous.

never mind: not to mention.

nightlife: activities at night, such as bars, discos, theaters.

nobility: the group of people belonging to the highest social class in a country, the aristocracy.

to nominate: to choose, select for a position.

nomophobia: fear of being without a cell phone.

nostalgic: wanting or desiring things that are of the past.

notwithstanding: in spite of.

nut: (slang) a crazy person.



obese: very fat.

obesity: the state of being very fat.

odd: unusual, strange.

off-road: not on the road.

offspring: children.

Old Man Winter: a term used to describe winter, the cold.

oracle: a person who says wise things about the future.

orbit (adj. orbital): the curved path, usually elliptical, made by planets, sattelites, spacecrafts around larger objects such as Earth, the sun, etc…

organic: without chemicals.

to oust: to send away.

overdose: an excessive amount (as of a drug).

overhaul: to examine and repair something.



pardon: the act of forgiving someone.

parity: equality, the same level.

parlour (AmE parlor): a shop for selling a particular food or service.

to pass away: to die.

passerby also passer-by (pl. passersby, passers-by): a person who is going past a particular place.

patent: the right given by a government to an inventor to sell an invention.

to patent: to give an inventor of a product the right to sell it as his or her own.

patch:: a piece of cloth to mend a torn point.

pickle: (of vegetables or sometimes meat) to preserve especially in vinegar or salt water.

pickup truck: a small truck which is open at the back and used for deliveries.

pitcher: the player in baseball who throws the ball to the batter.

phablet: a phone and tablet hybrid.

plant: a living organism that grows in the earth.

to plant: to put a living organism in the ground so that it can grow.

playfull: full of fun.

playwright: someone who writes plays.

Pole: a person from Poland.

polyglot: a person who can speak several langauges.

to ponder: to think deeply about something.

pong: an unpleasant smell.

to pop in: to visit.

portable: something that can be carried, like an iPod or a mobile phone.

to portray: to show or represent (in a film or in the theater).

to possess: to have.

potable: suitable for drinking.

to pour: to flow (e.g. water) in a stream.

prankster: a person who plays tricks on other people.

preserve: (of food, fruit, vegetables) to conserve.

prestigious: honored, esteemed, with a big reputation.

prevention: the way we avoid getting a disease.

previous: exsisting or hppening before.

production: a work of art or literature.

to pull down: to destroy.

pupil: a schoolchild.

to put ones mind to something: to be determined to complete something.



Qatari (also Katari): an inhabitant of Qatar.

to quit: to stop doing.



realm: an artistic domain.

recession: a time when the economy goes down.

reconciliation: bringing back of friendly relations.

to reconsider: to consider again, to think about again.

to recount: to count again.

relay team: (in sport) team of sportsmen or sportswomen, in which each contestant participates only in a specified portion of the total distance in a race.

relief: help (things such as food, money, medicine) for people who are victims of a catastrophe, war, flood, etc.

relive: to live or experience again.

to relocate: to move.

remarkable: uncommon, extraordinary.

resurgence: comeback.

resurrection: the rising of Jesus Christ from the dead.

retiree: someone who has stopped working.

to reverse: to cause something to return to an earlier state or condition.

ridiculous: absurd, funny.

rife: numerous, full of something which is usually unpleasant.

robber: a person who steals. A burglar, thief.

roster: a list of players who can play for the team.

to rule: to decide (for a judge).

rumor: a report that may or may not be true. rumour(UK)

running mate: a candidate for vice president (usually used in the United States).



scarecrow: an object (usually a person in old clothes) to scare birds away from a field or garden.

scenery: the scenes or views of a place.

scrap paper: paper that has alreday been used.

scrawl: illegible handwriting.

to scrounge: to get something which is needed. He scrounged money for lunch.

scruffy: of low quality because of long use or bad handling.

to scrunch: to crush, to squeeze together.

sedentary: inactive, sitting down a lot.

to seek: to try to obtain, to try to get.

seismologist: a person (expert) who studies earthquakes.

to select:to choose.

selfie: a photograph that a person has taken of oneself.

short-lived: not lasting long.

shrewd: smart, intelligent.

sibling: a brother or sister.

significant: important, meaningful.

the silver screen: movies or the movie business.

sinkhole: a hole in the ground.

sizeable: large, significant.

skin and bones: extremely thin.

skyscraper: a very tall building.

to sledge: to ride on a sledge.

sleet: a mixture of rain, snow and ice.

slice: a thin, flat of food, such as bread, meat or cake, cut from a larger portion.

snag: to grab, to catch.

soil: the top layer of the earth in which plants grow.

species: (in biology) living organisms which have the same characteristics or qualities.

spectator: someone who watches an event.

spectatular: sensational.

splendour: great beauty.

spot: a place.

spouse: a wife or husband.

sprint: a race at full speed.

to sprout up: (used with plants) to develop quickly.

to squeak: to make a short and sharp sound.

starving: very hungry.

to steam: (of a train or ship) to travel by using steam.

stop-motion: a filming technique whereby the camera is repeatedly stopped and started.

stress test: a test to show how strong something (system, health) is.

stroll: a short walk.

struggle: fight, battle.

substance abuse: long-term use of alcohol or drugs.

successor: a person who does a job after someone else has left it.

succulent: juicy.

to suffer: to feel something unpleasant.

to sunbathe:to lie in the sun to tan the skin.

supporter: fan.

to survive: to stay alive, to remain alive.

to suspend: to stop for a period of time.

sustainable:involving methods and systems which use natural resources in a manner that they are not destroyed but can be replenished naturally.

swatch: a sample (as of fabric).

to swear: to use bad language.

sweetheart: loved one.

to swing votes: to change someone’s mind, to cause someone to vote for someone else.

swordsmanship: using swords.

to symbolize: to represent (with symbols).



to take for granted: to expect something to be available.

to take in: to visit.

to take off: (of a plane or bird) the moment of leaving the ground and beginning to fly.

to tee off: to hit a golf ball.

teller: a person who gives or receives money at a bank.

tenement: a larger building with flats for rent.

terra nullius: no man’s land.

that is: in other words.

to thaw up: to warm up.

theatrical: relating to the theater.

to think twice: to think again, reconsider.

thrilled: very happy.

to tie the knot: to get married.

to tithe: to demand the tenth part usually of agricultural produce for the support of the kingdom or the like.

toll: (resulting from some action) loss

to toss: to throw lightly.

trademark: the officially registered name of a product which belongs to a particular company.

to trash: to throw away.

to trespass: to go on someone’s property without permission.

tremendous: very great, very excellent.

trend: a new style.

tweep: a follower on the social media website Twitter.

twig: a small branch.

tycoon: a very rich businessman.



uncover: to reveal, to bring to light, to discover.

to undergo: to experience.

underway: happening at the present time, in progress.

unenviable: not wanted, not desired.

uninhabitable: not fit for life.

to unseat: to oust, to vote out of government.

to unveil: to reveal, to show to the public.

upcycling: creative re-working of used waste or unwanted items into new materials or useful products.

to update: to bring new information.

updraft: an upward movement of air.

uprising: an act of resistance, a rebellion.

urban: about cities.

to urge: to push, press, insist strongly.



various: diferent.

vast: big, great, large.

vengeance: the act of doing something bad to someone because he or she did something wrong to you or someone else.

vertical axis: a line forming an angle of 90 degrees with the level ground.

victorious: winning, being the winner.



to wager: to bet money.

wallet: a pocketbook for holding money and plastic cards.

wardrobe: the collection of clothes that a person has.

wasteful: useless.

to wear: have on one’s body.

wheel: a circular frame used in vehicles or machinery.

whilst: while.

widespread: common, used widely.

wig: an artificial covering of hair worn on the head.

winery: a place, usually a business, where wine is made.

witness: a person who is present and sees an event happening.

workshop: a room in which things are made or repaired.

worth: having a value of.

to wrap: to cover.





yooper: a person that lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.



zingy: pleasantly sharp taste, piquant.