(n) = noun, (v) = verb, (adj) = adjective, (coll) = colloquialism / slang, (abbrev) = abbreviation, (adv) = adverb
~ ~ ~
loser (n) = a ridiculous person who never succeeds at anything
go over (v, coll) = to mentally sort through
grotesque (adj) = larger-than-life, distorted, monstrous
vibrator (n): see notes to page 7
get into (v, coll) = become involved with, have one’s attention absorbed by
crap (n, coll) = slang word for excrement. Children call it poo. Crap is not polite. Do not say ‘crap’ in a job interview or in front of your grandma.
there’s no point means there is no reason or meaning.
What the fuck am I doing? Adding ‘the fuck’ in this question adds emotion.. The feeling of frustration is more strongly expressed.
Filey is a traditional, old-fashioned northern English seaside holiday town where it is usually raining.
B&B (n, abbrev) = guest-house offering ‘Bed and Breakfast’
chilly (adj) = cool (you will need a hat and gloves)
poky (adj) = unpleasantly small, narrow and poorly lit
corridor (n) = long hallway with doors into rooms
microwave (n) = type of electric oven for heating food quickly
kettle (n) = large electrically-powered jug for boiling water
Baby Belling stove (n) = famous brand-name for a traditional electric cooker
desolately (adj) = inhumanly, soullessly
slippy nylon = a type of man-made fabric with a smooth satin ‘slippy’ surface
quilt (n) = thick bed-cover
crappy (adj, coll) = rubbishy, poor quality
minescule (adj) = extremely small
wheely bin (n) = modern style of dustbin (USA: garbage or trash can) used in the UK, having two wheels for ease of movement
guest-house (n) = place to hire a room and get breakfast; cheaper than a hotel
sliver (n) = extremely thin slice or piece
claustrophobic (adj) = psychologically distressing due to being too small, narrow, enclosed or boxed-in
synthetic (adj) = man-made
Renoir is a French artist who belongs to the 19th century European art movement known as Impressionism.
knickers (n) = women’s underwear; pants
blister pack (n) = medicinal pills presented in the form of a grid on a small foil card, which you have to press out to release, leaving a torn hole that looks like a blister.
aspirin (n) = painkiller (a tablet, normally)
ugly (adj) = unattractive, the opposite of beautiful
monkey (n) = animal with a slight resemblance to humans, but small, hairy and ugly
manuscript (n) = unpublished text of a novel or other lengthy piece of writing
mat (n) = small square rug or piece of hard-wearing material, used to protect the floor just inside the main entrance door of a house.
over-written (adj) = (of a text or story) revised/edited too much; spoiled by having had too much added
verdict (n) = final judgement or conclusion
heart-searching (n) = the activity of thinking hard about an emotional subject
sign (someone) up (v) = take on someone’s case, enter into a contract with (someone)
in the current climate = in the present social situation
latest (adj) = most recent
dwell on (v) = think at great length about; contemplate
bloody (adj, coll) is an oath or swear-word used like ‘fucking’ to add emphasis and strong feeling. It is not as shocking or offensive as fucking, but it is still not appropriate in a formal context. Some people would be shocked.
punter (n) = see notes to page 40.
trickle (v) = (of liquid) run slowly and unevenly in small rivulets
pubic hair (n) = hair that grows in the groin, in the area of the sexual organs
wee (n, v, coll) = urine (verb: urinate)
perspiration (n) = sweat
fuck it is an expression of anger or frustration, saying ‘I don’t care’ although you probably do care – a lot. For an etymology of the word ‘fuck’ see notes to page 24.
Memorial Hall (n) = a large building which belongs to a village or community for all to use
startlingly (adj, adv) = very surprisingly
whoop (n) = very loud gasp
be put off by (v) = be discouraged or detered by
anxious (adj) = worried
bulimic (adj) = suffering from the illness ‘bulimia’, an eating disorder where the sufferer believes him/herself to be too fat, so makes him/herself vomit up any food that they eat.
throw up (v, coll) = vomit
latte (n) = an Italian word for a cup of coffee made with frothy steamed milk
sumptuous (adj) = very luxurious
manor (n) = a traditional large, grand old house of a wealthy family, usually situated in its own land
get into unhealthy patterns = begin to have bad habits (for example, not eating well)
truffle (n) = (in this context) a type of luxurious chocolate sweet
textile artist (n) = an artist who uses and/or makes fabrics, cloths, yarns etc in the creation of their artwork. An example is English artist Kate Stewart who sometimes uses her drawings of life-models in the creation of her textile pictures.
strenuous (adj) = requiring physical strength or exertion; physically taxing
folding bicycle (n) = an ecologically-friendly mode of transport which also keeps you fit. When Suki’s girlfriend left her and took the car, Suki bought a Dahon D3 Curve from the wonderful Ellis Briggs Cycle Shop (Yorkshire, England). It has become her fifth limb.
barn conversion (n) = a traditional agricultural building (barn), often made of stone, used for storage, which has been changed into a residential house by somebody rich. Typically, barns are picturesque buildings situated in the countryside, which is where people dream of living.
moor top (n) = very high, often windswept, tree-less land, typical of Yorkshire (northern England). For photos, see the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.
granite-ridden = (of landscape) having a lot of visible rock. Note: granite is a type of stone
greyscale (adj) = having no colour; only shades between black and white
bleak (adj) = miserable, tragic, hopeless
setting (n) = (of landscape) situation, context
contemplate (adj) = think about deeply or at length
theme (n) = underlying idea or concept
carb (n, abbrev) = carbohydrate: a basic energy-giving type of food, including rice, bread, potatoes, pasta, all wheat products
porridge oats = food typically eaten for breakfast in the UK, especially in Scotland where crops of oats were traditionally grown. Porridge is a thick grey lumpy soup. Yum.
ask after (v) = to inquire about; especially to enquire about someone’s well-being
high-powered (adj) = excitingly successful; very influential
radical rewrite = a completely re-created, greatly improved version (of a written text)
‘Fingers crossed!’ = ‘Good luck!’ It is considered lucky to cross your longest finger over your index finger while you wish for something.
size 14 = UK dress-size of an average or above-average build of woman
size 8 = UK dress-size of a very slim woman
adjective (n) = a word which describes something
graceful (adj) = elegant in movement
slender (adj) = slim
willowy (adj) = as thin as a branch of a ‘weeping willow’ tree
swan-like neck = extraordinarily beautiful long white neck
leggy (adj) = unusually long-legged
toned (adj) = muscular in appearance
gorgeous (adj) = extremely beautiful
seduce = see notes to page 38
Conservative Jeremy: ‘Conservative’ can mean politically right-wing, but in Jeremy’s case, it describes a particular behaviour of his. You will read full details of this in TWO SMALL LIVES, sequel to A SMALL LIFE.
gifted (adj) = especially good; talented
pent-up (adj) = held-in; tense
macho (adj) = manly (e.g. tough, hard, strong)
Jeremy-Of-Few-Words: a ‘man of few words’ is a guy who is rubbish at communicating
whisky (n) = very high alcohol-content drink, traditionally produced in Scotland
Bonfire Party: re-read page 10 for a recap. Bonfire Night is a UK festival celebrated on 5th November.
He was up for it means he definitely wanted to do it
hearthrug (n) = small carpet traditionally placed in front of the fireplace (hearth)
coal burner (n) = stove that uses coal as fuel
get attached (v, coll) = become emotionally involved
a girl thing is an issue that girls want to discuss but men do not. Examples: love, menstruation, relationships
podium (n) = small stage or raised area on which the model poses
skinny (adj) = very thin
angular (adj) = appearing to have lots of pointed bits and corners
hover (v) = to stand uncertainly or temporarily, as if floating
punter (n, coll) = customer or participant or audience (in this context, the punters are artists)
screen (n) = (in this context) a tall, vertical piece of furniture like a board, used to hide things behind, or for undressing in privacy
fumble about (v) = use your hands clumsily
bedsit (n) = sometimes called a ‘studio flat’: the cheapest, tiniest accommodation one can rent. Students, men who’ve just left their wives, and poor people like Suki live in them. Re-read page 13.
whiff (n) = faint smell or aroma
decaying (adj) = rotting; turning bad
dampish (adj) = quite moist; clammy
shift (v) = move in a sliding or ‘sideways’ way
mass (n) = body, significant amount
curl (n) = a semi-circular or loop shape (of a strand of hair)
buoyant (adj) = bouncy
tattoo (n) = an ink sketch permanently drawn on the skin’s surface
pubic hair (n) = hair that grows in the genital area on humans
waxed (adj) = removed or modified in shape, using a technique of pouring hot wax onto the hair and peeling it off
mini-kimono (n) = Japanese-style dressing gown, shorter than is traditional
sequinned slippers (n) = footwear for wear in the home, decorated with tiny sewn-on glittery disks
dainty (adj) = delicately pretty
self-harm (v) = cut or injure onesself on purpose, eg with a knife,
rejects her advances = says ‘no’ to her wish for increasing intimacy
dynamic (n) = interaction; exchange of energy; engagement
potter away (v, coll) = work at a slow, conscientious pace
intersperse (v) = place (things or words) between other (things or words)
sharp (adj) = pointed; quick and hard
mutterings (n, pl) = words spoken discreetly in a low voice, perhaps only to ones-self
the odd oath : this expression means an occasional rude/impolite word or phrase spoken due to anger
pal (n, coll) = good friend
pub (n, abbrev) = ‘public house’: a traditional British-style bar selling alcoholic drinks
it stays abstract means the conversation remains neutral and non-applied, i.e. no acknowledgement is made that the theories discussed might be true for the current conversation between artist and model
sensual (adj) = felt or perceived in a physical (and pleasurable) way
account (n) = [in this context] tale; recollected story
intimacy (n) = physical and/or psychological closeness
quasi- (prefix) = almost (Latin)
mapping (adj) – descriptive; having the close detail / accuracy of a map
tingle (v) = cause a faint or light sensation like fizzing or tickling
deliberative (adj) = carefully carried out; considered
cover the historical ground means to sum up the previous development (of a subject) through former times until the present day
seduce (v) = capture (someone’s) intense interest; win over; achieve the sexual acquiescence of (someone)
trundle away (v, coll) = steadfastly work at a craft or type of activity that has a traditional practical dimension (eg using a hand-worked machine, or tools)
tone (n) = register (of speech); style of talking conveying a particular mood
matey (adj, coll) = friendly
derangedly emphatic = so strongly and forcefully spoken as to almost sound like a crazy person
common (adj) = usual, frequent
flimsy (adj) = insubstantial; easily broken or destroyed
one-to-one = two people working together with no-one else present, for example a tutor and a student
pay in kind (v) = make a payment using goods or by offering a service, instead of money
trundle away (v) = [in this context] carry out a manual work-activity that uses a noisy implement or machine (in this case, a wooden loom)
loom (n) = traditional wooden machine used to weave fabric
Woman’s Hour = a “great British institution” on BBC Radio 4: a radio programme that first started several decades ago. See the link. If you click on ‘listen again’, traditionally you must at the same time be doing your ironing.
pot-bellied stove (n) = a traditional old-fashioned small wood-burning oven used for heating. It is circular and bulbous like the big stomach of a man who drinks too much.
get going (v, coll) = (with a lot of effort) begin or start
unclench (v) = relax; become loose
wee (n, coll) = urine
on all fours = resting on hands and knees
ages = a very long time
a while (n) = a period of time
anus (n) = the part of the body – the hole – from which we get rid of waste. I could get a job writing dictionaries, couldn’t I.
flubbery (adj) = fleshy, fatty (I think this adjective is my invention)
Someone is probably going… : The verb ‘go’ is used colloquially here to mean ‘say’
spent tulip (n) = a type of flower (traditionally from Holland) when it has passed its best time
petal out (v) = to open up very wide (a flower)
wantonly (adv) = loosely, without inhibition or restraint (having a sexual connotation)
pert (adj) = tight; neat
abundance (n) = plenitude; lots; more than enough
haemorrhoid (n) = a bulbous lump (specifically, a swollen vein) on or inside the anus
skin tag (n) = another medical condition. Look, do you really need to understand all these sordid details? Why can’t you stop being so anal (ironic pun) and just skip over new words?
configuration (n) = orderly form or shape
off-putting (adj) = unattractive; designed to cause rejection
highlight (v) = draw attention to; pinpoint (ouch!)
scarlet (n) = a shade of bright red
Blutack (n) = (used here as a verb) brand-name of blue-coloured sticky stuff used for fixing paper temporarily to a wall
permission (n) = the right (to do something); the official allowing (of something)
surreptitiously (adv) = covertly; secretly; without being seen
embarrass (v) = cause psychological discomfort
keep to (v) = limit (onesself) to
mere (adj) = diminutive; modest; small
A4 = a standard size of paper used for letters
acknowledgement of receipt = response to say that something has been received
greedy (adj) = insatiable; always wanting more
remote (adj) = a long way from anything or anybody else
Dales barn (n) = a traditional stone-built agricultural building in the beautiful landscape of the Yorkshire Dales (UK), sometimes bought by rich people and made into a stylish home
live by art = survive financially purely by producing art
engrossed (adj) = absorbed, focussed (on)
single-minded (adj) = focused; thinking about only one thing
driven (adj) = highly motivated; in fact completely obsessed. Like Conservative Jeremy.
awesome (adj) = amazing
guy (n, coll) = man
weaver (n) = person who makes cloth by the traditional method (warp and weft threads interlocking)
jump at (v) = eagerly grab (e.g. an opportunity)
further-flung (adj) = more widely spread out
blotch (n) = pink and sometimes lumpy mark or patch (on skin)
torso (n) = trunk of the body
folks (n, coll) = people (used informally)
grin (v) = smile broadly
run of late nights = a series of nights when you don’t manage to go to bed until late
synopsis (n) = short summary of a story
PC (n, abbrev) = personal computer
Boots (n) = old established and well known UK chain of chemist shops
rash (n) = group of spots that appear on the body due to an ailment
consult (v) = discuss with; get advice from
Gosh = a polite exclamation of mild surprise or interest, the same as ‘good heavens’ or ‘fancy that’
race (v) = travel at top speed; hurry
surgery (n) = doctor’s clinic
appointment (n) = arrangement to meet
knickers (n) = woman’s underwear
sweaty micro-climate = a damp, humid localised weather-condition created by perspiration (sweat)
spongy (adj) = soft and undulating; comfortable
bacteria (n pl) = germs
thrive (v) = become strong
follicle (n) = microscopic (tiny) hole in the skin from which a hair grows
bottom (n) = buttocks etc; the thing that a pair of shorts covers
antibiotic (n) = medicine that kills germs
ultra-formal (adj) = extremely uptight; no fun
build-up (n) = gradual raising of tension; gradual increase in expectancy
De-Robing Moment = the instant when the model takes off his/her final piece of clothing (some models use a bath-robe)
prissy (adj) = inhibited; British
clasp (adj) = hold closely (with your hands)
frock (n) = dress
the very last second = the absolutely latest moment that you can manage to wait until
portcullis (n) = heavy metal gate that is pulled up and down to open and close the entrance to a castle or fortress
courtyard = enclosed (although open to the air) sheltered area within a building or between buildings
cobbles (n) = small regular-shaped stones used to pave a road before tarmac was invented
chuck about (v, coll) = throw around
Dahon D3 Curve (n) = the make and model of Suki’s wonderful folding bicycle
Ellis Briggs Cycle Shop = the shop in Shipley, West Yorkshire (UK) where Suki bought her folding bicycle
hoik (v, coll) = lift (with difficulty)
massive (adj) = enormous, huge
oak (n) = a type of tree. It has frilly-edged leaves and grows acorns
shower (n) = a short period of rainfall
draughty (adj) = [of an indoor area] chilly due to the entry of draughts of cold air (eg under a door)
threadbare (adj) = worn [of fabric or carpet]
unconventionally (adv) = going against the norm
horizontal (adj) = parallel to level ground; at right-angles to the vertical
tapestry (n) = fabric, usually hand-woven, traditionally used to weave large wall-hanging pictures
slung (adj) = casually hung (from sling (v) = casually or carelessly throw
alcove (n) = small niche or separate small area of a room
cannon (n) = big heavy ancient weapon that fires iron balls out of its end which used to land on castles and kill people
rough-hewn (adj) = primitively carved; having a lumpy, unrefined surface
flagstone (n) = flat square of paving stone used to create hard-wearing interior or outdoor floors
dusky (adj) = shadowy, not well-lit
arrow-slit (n) = tall narrow hole in the wall of a castle or fortress to enable the firing of arrows (to kill attackers)
drape (v) = lie or hang loosely or elegantly
unfurl (v) = move from being a small shape into a bigger shape, for example a flag unrolling
foetal (adj) = like a foetus (baby in the womb), i.e. curled into a small tight shape
glorious (adj) = magnificent, joyful
tiptoe (adj, n) = stand on the balls of one’s feet to be as tall as possible
stretch (n, v) = elongate (yourself), reach to your most extended possible body-length
term (n) = [in this context] a fixed period of time. In a UK school or college, a term is normally a third of the year, i.e. four months.
hope you don’t mind = hope you are not upset / disturbed / annoyed [by]
blinking (adj) (as in forty blinking six ) = used to add emphasis, thus expressing e.g. surprise (It’s summer but it’s blinking snowing!), shock (Your novel’s going to be published at last – that’s blinking unbelievable!), determination (I’ve blinking made it happen!), annoyance (you’re a blinking idiot!), etc.
huge (adj) = massive; extremely large
By the way = incidentally
ought to = should
synopsis (n) = a short statement giving a general summary or overview of a subject or story
impress (v) = make an impact (on); have an effect (on)
slightly (adv) = just a little bit
deflated (adj) = let down (like when the air goes out of a balloon)
invent (v) = create, make up
her take on it = her opinion or view of it
avoid (v) = stay away from
pass judgement (v) = give your moral opinion; say whether something is (in your opinion) morally right or wrong
Prozac (n) = the manufacturer’s name of a well-known anti-depressive drug. People like Suki sometimes take it addictively for years
chain-smoking (n) = activity of smoking cigarettes one after the other with no rest between each one
too many issues = too many subjects that are complicated or difficult to talk about
scrawn-bag (n) = a person who is unattractively thin, like a sack of bones
de-skill (v) = to take away or reduce or undermine somebody’s ability
acknowledgement of receipt = a written statement (paper document or email) to confirm that something (eg money) has been received
Victoria = the name of the literary agent on whom Suki is pinning all her hopes…
pencil (n) = small stick-shaped drawing/writing tool made of graphite (or traditionally, lead) encased in wood
watercolour (n, adj) = type of paint which, when mixed with water, can create translucent or delicate effects
sketch (n) = see notes for page 7
fabulous (adj) = amazing, gorgeous, terrific, absolutely great
session (n) = period of work (in Suki’s case, a session is often two hours)
fantastic (adj) = fabulous; great
physique (n) = body-shape
amateur (n) = non-professional
rush (v) = hurry
complete (v) = finish
draft (n) = see notes for page 17
Victoria’s agency: Victoria is the literary agent who has almost definitely said that she will find a publisher for Suki’s novel.
Easter (n) = a Christian festival in the spring, marking the death and return to eternal life of Jesus; a celebration of new life, symbolised by eggs (made of chocolate) and baby animals.
booking (n) = work session
fistful (n) = tightly-held handful (a fist is a clenched hand)
notes (n) = [in this context] paper currency. Probably in this case £25, which is Suki’s usual income for two hours of life-modelling.
champagne (n) = expensive French wine with bubbles, normally only drunk at celebrations. Suki always has a bottle of (cheapest brand) champagne in her fridge because it symbolises hedonism, luxury, pleasure and fun. And her novel might soon be accepted for publication, so she must have a bottle ready.
shortlist (n) = the final selection of contenders in a competition
poem (n) = an artistic use of language to form a composition in verse form; a piece of text which uses words in a highly precise, aesthetic and meaningful way
laboriously (adv) = with a lot of hard work
catch up with (v) = increase speed in order to reach someone who has moved ahead
stanza (n) = verse (of a poem)
(Note: Conservative Jeremy was the first artist for whom Suki modelled. He got her into this crazy life)
An etymology of the word ‘fuck’
Fuck (and its diminutives) is one of the most ancient and often-used words in the English language, but for reasons we can only guess at, it wasn’t written down in the kind of texts that have survived from Old English and Middle English. Its earliest recorded written use – in the form ‘fukkit’ – dates from 1503 acording to the Old English Dictionary [2nd edition], though there was a John le Fucker recorded in 1209 (still a lot of those about today).
The earliest appearance of its current spelling is in 1535. Fuck as a noun dates from the 1670s.
Fuck was outlawed in print in England by the Obscene Publications Act, 1857, and in the U.S. by the Comstock Act, 1873. The word fuck did not appear in any English language dictionary from 1795 to 1965, when at last ‘The Penguin Dictionary’ (UK) included it.
Interestingly, fuck is absent from my 1989 edition of America’s famous ‘Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary’ which is 9.5cm thick, however I think it appears in most contemporary UK dictionaries; even small ones.
Although the word fuck was for two centuries not allowed in print, it continued in conversation, notably among soldiers during World War I.
Advice to learners of English: it is better not to say fuck in front of your boss or your grandmother. Otherwise, it’s a great word for expressing high emotions: rage, frustration and joy. Also you can use fucking adjectivally to fill in a gap when you can’t think of the right word.
I work through them = I mentally examine them, one after the other
blot out (v) = mentally erase; ignore
unrequited (adj) = not returned; not reciprocated
conjure (v) = bring magically into existence; bring into one’s mind
fabulous (adj) = amazing; extremely lovely
fling (n, coll) = very short romantic or sexual relationship
incredible (adj) = unbelievable
entire (adj) = whole, total
the latter (n) = the last (most recent) thing mentioned
return to the moment = bring (one’s self) back to the present time
manner (n) = behaviour, style
required (adj) = needed; necessary
fantasy (n) = imagined story; mental picture
still (adj) = unmoving
involuntary (adj) = accidental; uncontrolled
vagina (n) = the final part of a woman’s body through which a baby travels when being born
clench (v) = suddenly become tight
zing (v, coll) = sizzle; ring; shiver with pleasure
expression (n) = [in this context] appearance of one’s face
trapped (adj) = caught; held by force
vase (n) = a vessel or pot that can hold water, used to display bunches of flowers
cunnilingus (n) = a sexual act in which a woman’s genitals are given pleasure by another person’s mouth
eventually (adv) = at last; in the end
swap (v) = exchange
fuck (v, coll) = have sex. See notes above (at the start of page 24 language notes)
induce (n) = cause; make (something) happen
warmth (n) = heat
dwell on (v) = think for some time about
literally (adv) = in a real, physical way
flush myself up = make myself become pink with heat I produce from inside myself
get warm means become warm
indecisive (adj) = unable to choose
member (n) = [in this context] penis
nipple (n) = see notes on page 19
tease (v) = agitate, stimulate, cause a response
erection (n) = solidity (of something which has changed from being soft to hard)
visible (adj) = viewable; able to be seen
audience (n) = group of people watching / listening (usually an entertainment, eg a film, a concert)
put down to (v) = attribute to
arouse (v) = physically or emotionally stimulate; cause a physical or emotional response
curiosity (n) = particular interest; inquisitiveness
blow-heater (n) = the type of small heater which blows out hot air but is not very good at making a naked model warm, because it just heats one area on your body, while the rest of your body turns blue with cold.
snakey (adj) = like a snake; long and wriggly
flex (n) = electrical lead or chord
got hidden means it was put out of sight by somebody
death-trap (n) = an instrument or method for catching and killing someone
Health and Safety is a term used in the UK in institutional contexts referring to the rules and regulations set out by the Government to protect workers / other users of a place or building. There is a lot of joking and complaining that the Health and Safety Regulations are ridiculously extreme.
on red alert = in a state of emergency; ready for the worst thing to happen
cubicle (n) = small compartment, for example a public toilet, usually only big enough for one or two people
shifted (adj) = moved; rearranged
inhumanly tidy = extremely orderly and neat – much more tidied than a normal person would bother to do
absence (n) = the state of being away; of not being there
forlornly (adv) = sadly; glumly; dejectedly
abandon (v) = let go of; leave
inform (v) = tell; give information to
option (n) = choice
printmaking (n) = a mechanical way of making images with paint or ink which does not involve conventional drawing and painting tools but uses other media such as presses, rollers, knives etc
momentarily (adv) = for a very short time; for a second
bedsit (n) = see notes for page 13
shower tray (n) = the small area on which you stand when you are having a shower
slattern (n) = an untidy, slovenly woman; a woman who does not even try to keep her home clean. When Suki gets depressed, she becomes slatternly.
realise (v) = [in this context] become aware
charcoal (n) = black substance made from burnt wood which artists use for drawing
approve (v) = be positive (about)
foreground (v) = bring to the front; make more important
fantasies (n) = imaginings; wild thoughts
explicit (adj) = totally clear; unhidden
odyssey (n) = a long period in the journey of life, in which many challenging experiences take place
…are currently in. To be ‘in’ means to be trendy, fashionable, modern.
resemble (v) = look like
tribeswoman (n) = female member of a racial group that has a strong community tradition and identity
suckle (v) = feed from the breast
skin (n) = flesh
chest (n) = front of the upper body, where your ribs and lungs are
nipple (n) = small round protrusion on your chest. Females use them to give their babies milk. Humans have two nipples each. Including men.
sag (v) = droop; hang down
wrinkly (adj) = having creases or fold-lines
disc (n) = flat circular shape
induce (v) = cause (to happen)
perk up (v) = become erect (or alert).
vibrator (n) = see notes for page 7
drag (v) = pull across (something)
penis (n) = male sexual organ
get hold of (v) = grab; take firmly into your hands
fretful (adj) = upset; worried
loss (n) = state of being without something which you previously had
preconceive (v) = think of or imagine beforehand; have a sense (of something) before actually seeing/experiencing (it)
straightforward (adj) = uncomplicated, easy
luscious (adj) = luxurious; extremely attractive
drop in [to] (v) (coll) = stop by [at]; enter for just a short time (for example a shop)
who should be [...] but : this grammatical construct, using a question-word (‘who’, in this case), is an expression of surprise, for example when a coincidence happens. Or it is sometimes used ironically, i.e. to pretend surprise, when not really feeling surprise. For example: When I open Suki’s fridge, what should I find but a bottle of champagne.
check-out (n) = till; machine/desk where you pay for goods before leaving a shop
floppy-forelocked (adj) = having long beautiful curls of hair falling over one side of the forehead, probably also over the eyebrow. Typically this would be a posh, trendy middle-class boy or young guy. Conventional ordinary boys who are scared of looking girly have their hair almost shaved off to look like ‘real men’.
endearingly awkward = heart-warmingly uncomfortable in a social situation. People with Aspergers Syndrome may behave ‘awkwardly’ in a group of people, but because of this they bring out a feeling of motherly protectiveness in people like Suki.
perplexed (v, adj) = puzzled; bewildered
stutter (v) = speak with a habit of halting before completing words; speak with a speech impediment
unintelligible (adj) = impossible to understand (of spoken words)
practically (adv) = in effect; almost
sprint (v) = run very fast
uneasy (adj) = nervous
autistic (adj) = having autism, a mental disorder due to the brain having developed differently, which affects how the autistic person processes information. Autistic people have impaired social interaction and communication (some have no speech, and never make eye contact), and restricted and repetitive behaviour. These signs all begin before a child is three years old.
Aspergers Syndrome = a mental disorder on the autism spectrum. People who have this condition find social interaction difficult, and they have restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests. They might also be physically clumsy and use language in an unusual way, though they are still able to speak – unlike many people who are autistic. Their cognitive development is not impeded; they can be very gifted and clever, like anybody.
anal-retentive (adj) = obsessive. If you are anal-retentive, you pay too much attention to detail. You are so obsessive that you start to annoy others. The term comes from Freudian psychoanalysis.
get anything onto paper = manage to produce art (or creative writing). It is so hard to take the first step, isn’t it?
in the end = finally; eventually; at last
gifted (adj) =having a natural talent or skill (for a particular activity)
ribby (adj) = very thin and bony; so thin that your ribs show through the skin of your chest
manages to get Peter to… = succeeds in persuading Peter to…
get off with (v) (coll) = have a romantic / sexual encounter with
pupil (n) = school student (aged under 19)
illustration (n) = portrait; picture; image; depiction
perceive (v) = see; feel
vulnerable (adj) = weak, easily hurt, delicate
prosecution (n) = legal action against someone who is said to have done something wrong (i.e. something that is contrary to the law; a criminal activity).
attempt (n, v) = try
suicide (n) = the act of killing yourself; the taking of your own life
draft (n) = version, rough unfinished piece of writing
cuddle (v) = hold (another person, or a soft toy) tightly in your arms in a comforting way, like when you hold and rock a child
sex with a minor = it is a crime to have sex with a ‘minor’ (someone younger than a certain age, in the law of the country). In the UK, ‘minors’ are people under 16 years old.
(Note: Victoria is the literary agent on whom Suki is pinning all her hopes of publication)
Foundation students = students aged over 18 who are studying a one-year pre-degree Art course covering a wide range of skills so that they can find out what kind of art they like to do. A Foundation course also helps students to collect a body of their own art-work which they need if they are going to to apply for university Art courses.
pose (n) = a motionless physical position held by a model or by someone being photographed
loiter (v) = hang around, wait (because you don’t want to move away)
easel (n) = large prop or stand on which artists rest their pictures while they paint. Often made of wood
swap (over) to (v) = exchange with
masking tape (n) = roll of pale cream-coloured sticky tape, made of paper so that you can tear it easily. Artists use it to stick their drawing paper to their easels
chat (v) = talk in a friendly, informal way
out of the blue = suddenly; unexpectedly
split up (v, coll) = separate; break up (from being lovers / a couple)
bell-like (adj) = sounding like a bell; loud and clear
hubbub (n) = background noise; the sound of many people speaking
realize (v) = become aware; discover; notice
divulge (v) = make known, give away (information)
I suppose = I guess; I imagine
a bit = a little; a small degree or amount or piece
mature (adj) = grown-up; old; having more wisdom
gorgeous = beautiful (Suki likes girls)
plug away at (v) = to conscientiously or patiently continue working on
the odd [poem] = an occasional [poem]
brief respite = short period of relief; quick break
Team Leader = a new term for ‘Head of Department’.
dash off [a sketch] = to very quickly create [a sketch]
demonstrate (v) = show how to do (something)
definitely (adv) = certainly, without doubt
mobile = hand-held telephone
attractiveness (n) = beauty; ‘pulling power’
portrait (n) = drawing or painting aimed at showing a good likeness of a particular person
equate with = equal, add up to
Art Foundation course = in the UK this is usually a one-year college course to prepare students for a university degree in Art. The Foundation course helps students to find out what kind of Art they are best at, or which type of degree they would like to do, and it helps them prepare a folio of work in order to make their applications.
shivery (adj) = so cold that your body vibrates
easel (n) = the stand – often made of wood – on which artists place their canvases in order to draw/paint
denimed (adj) = clothed in the blue fabric from which jeans are made
ineffectual (adj) = useless; having no effect
radiator (n) = heater
nakedness (n) = the state of being unclothed
proud (adj) = pleased with onesself; happy to proclaim one’s ability
stoical (adj) = willing to suffer; brave; able to accept difficulty
nude (n) = naked
amidst = in the middle of; among
throng (n) = group; gathering of people in one place
cosily (adv) = comfortably, warmly
muffled-up (adj) = wearing thick warm clothing, especially a scarf around the neck
snuffly (adj) = snotty-nosed; the snotty sniffling of someone who has a cold
fingerless gloves warm your hands warm while keeping your fingers free to work. They also look a bit hippy-ish and trendy
stint (n) = work-shift, period of time
bleat (v) = the noise sheep make
session (n) = period of time, eg a two-hour class
canteen (n) = cafe (often in a college or workplace)
netbook (n) = little portable computer
get [it] back to = re-deliver [it]
Easter (n) = Christian religious festival in spring to commemorate the death and coming back to life of Jesus
holiday (n) = vacation
suggestion (n) = an expressed idea or thought
stimulate (v) = provoke [thought or activity]
confident (adj) = aware of and happy about one’s abilities; not shy
prose (n) = piece of writing which is not poetry or verse
rolling stone (n) = a person who does not stay in one place for long; a person who is free.
glass half full describes a view of life that sees the positive in everything
glass half empty is the opposite of the above view. (Is your glass half full or half empty? Tell Suki on this week’s blog at www.sukithelifemodel.co.uk)
bijou (adj) = jewel (in French); used as an adjective in English to mean precious and lovely although small
studio apartment = a one-room flat which is, in truth, too small, but ‘studio’ makes it sound stylish and fashionable (‘glass half full’)
central situation = placed in the middle (in this context, in the city centre)
easy commuting = very good (place) from which to travel to work (i.e. it is near to roads, bus stops, train stations)
grotty = dirty, messy
bedsit = very small, cheap one-room flat, mostly lived in by students, people who have just got divorced, and unemployed alcoholics (‘glass half empty’)
seamy (adj) = unpleasant, dirty, down-at-heel, undesireable
downtown = the heart of the city, where all the noise is
the main thing = the most important or significant thing
rental (n) = the weekly or monthly fee paid to an owner (in this case, landlord) for the use of something
planet = Earth. This ball on which we live. All the other balls are planets too (Mars, Venus etc)
bike it (v) = make the journey by bicycle
unstimulating (adj) = not interesting; not provoking thought or ideas
eviction (n) = forced removal of a tenant from a property they have been renting, probably due to non-payment of rent
trauma (n) = shock
move (n) = the act of removal of one’s furniture and possessions from one living place to another
push out (n) = [in this context] force into a low priority
get back into (v) = re-absorb onesself in; re-focus on (something)
Civil Partner (n) is a term for a lesbian or gay person who has entered a legal contract – a Civil Partnership – with her or his lover. Kat and Sybil had a wedding-style party to celebrate this.
opinion (n) = decisive thought; conviction; clear idea
pic (n, abbrev) = picture
hideous (adj) = ugly, horrible
capture (v) = catch
so-called (adj) = named (perhaps inaccurately or incorrectly or undeservingly)
put weight on (or put on weight) (v) : become physically heavier, probably by eating too much cake
on one’s own = by onesself; alone
solitary (adj) = lone, single
actually = at this time
get [something, a task] done (v) = achieve something; complete a task
Melanie Alone is the name of the novel Suki is writing
pretend (v) = to be untruthful – in words or actions
get fitter (v) = become more physically healthy
tow [away] (v) = remove a vehicle (car or boat) by attaching a rope and using another vehicle to pull it away
quid (n, coll) = pound / pounds (British currency)
blow (v, colloquial in this context) = to spend [money] in a crazy way
second-hand (adj) = not new; already owned and used by someone
folding bicycle: Suki has two arms, two legs, and a fifth limb: her folding bicycle. It goes into cafes with her and sits under the table like a pet dog.
item (n) = thing, object
enhance (v) = add to; improve
single-mindedly (adv) = having one focus; thinking exclusively of one subject
transform (v) = change
Melanie Alone is the name of Suki’s novel which she hopes will one day be published…
network (n) = circle of contacts; group of friends and/or acquaintances
make up [for] (v) = compensate [for]
cottage (n) = traditionally a worker’s small house in the countryside
Bonfire Night (also Guy Fawkes Night, Plot Night) is a UK festival celebrated on 5th November, the anniversary of a failed attempt in 1605 to blow up the central government buildings in London – the Houses of Parliament – and overthrow the king. This secret plan was made by a man called Guy Fawkes. Suki went to a party in the name of ‘Bonfire Night’ but I think they just went to CJ’s house and drank too much alcohol; they didn’t have the traditional fire.
enthusiasm (n) = a lively interest
reservation (n) = (in this context) an expression of caution; a holding-back; a less than whole-hearted acceptance
huge (adj) = enormous; massive; gigantic; extremely big
to suggest (v) = to introduce an idea
amendment (n) = change
polished (adj) = from to polish (v): to rub (a fine wooden table, a car) with a cloth in order to make the object more perfect and beautiful
presumably = it might be expected (that)
to sign [someone] up (v) = to make someone sign a contract or make an official commitment
to get drunk (v) = to drink a lot of alcohol until you feel the effects…
brilliant (adj) (coll) = great, amazing, terrific
glittering (adj) = shining prettily
frosty (adj) = coated in a thin white layer of ice-crystals
day-job (n) (coll) = the ordinary job you must do to earn money, while you do your more interesting but low-paid or unpaid work (e.g. as an artist, or an actor…) at the same time
to immerse [onesself] (v) = to bury onesself, to become totally involved
Further Education normally means education from the age of 16 to adulthood, but not university degree level (that is called Higher Education)
ought (auxiliary v) is used before a verb infinitive to express a duty/ moral obligation/ moral correctness. ‘Ought to’ may often be used in the same context as ‘should’. Examples: 1. Suki ought to keep her clothes on / Suki should keep her clothes on because she is too old to be a model. 2. Ought I to stop taking my anti-depression pills / Should I stop taking my anti-depression pills so that I do not become dependent on them?
to hand over = to give (into someone’s hand)
to snap (v) = (in this context) to take a quick photograph without much care or attention
punter (n, coll) = customer; person receiving a service; member of an audience. When Suki carries out poetry readings, she is grateful if three punters and a dog come to listen.
‘Foundation’ art course = normally a one-year full-time art course to introduce students to a full range of techniques and media, preparing them to start a degree course in the creative arts
Team Leader = manager of a department
Stanley Spencer is a famous 20th century British artist whose work is about love and his sometimes complicated, unconventional relationships.
to scrutinise (v) = to look (at) or examine very closely
nude (adj, n) = naked, unclothed (body)
sketch (n) = drawing
No news re my manuscript – Suki is frustrated that the literary agent, Victoria, has not yet replied with an opinion of her not-yet-published novel, which is the most important thing in Suki’s life.
follow the convention = to do the usual thing; to do what most people do. Suki never follows the convention.
frock (n) = dress
provocative (adj) = stimulating (a reaction)
akin to bed-wear = like night-clothes
out of action = not working; not functioning; (perhaps) broken
uptight (adj, coll) = tense; too controlled (the opposite of ‘chilled out’)
A shirt’ll do (coll) = A shirt will do the job. A shirt will be okay.
hanger (n) = coat-hanger; the shoulder-shaped, triangular thing on which you hang your clothes
to chuck (v, coll) = to throw
as much of a hovel = equally [as much of] a poor, simple, uncomfortable living-place [a hovel]
scent (n) = aroma, smell. Note: Suki wears Terre d’Hermes by Hermes, Paris. It’s a man’s scent.
fabric (n) = material, cloth
seam (n) = the sewn line where two pieces of fabric are joined together. Like the seams down the sides of your jeans.
armpit (n) = the ‘pit’ or hole-shaped place under the top of your arm, below your shoulder
at lightning speed = as quickly as possible
perishing (adj) = absolutely FREEZING COLD
whitish stains = marks (especially accidental marks, for example made by dirt) that are almost white
burgundy (n) = dark purplish red in colour (from the French region of Burgundy where a famous red wine is made)
how the hell (coll) = like how on earth. These two expressions strongly emphasise the question-word ‘how’. How the hell is stronger than, and not as polite as, how on earth
ascent (n) = upwards movement (in this case, up Jeremy’s stairs)
to stare into space (v) = to look into the distance without seeing; to be lost in one’s thoughts
taboo (n) = a forbidden thing (in a particular culture); something that is not allowed by society
to let on (v, coll) = to divulge; to speak about something to others
visible (adj) = viewable
to check out the talent (v, coll) = to look around and decide who is attractive
Melanie = the name of the woman at the centre of the novel Suki has written. Melanie is the main character. The story is all about Melanie. (Like Suki, Melanie is an unsuccessful writer)
to sustain a relationship (n) = to manage to be emotionally close to another person for a long time
dildo (n) = an artificial erect penis, often made of rubber or plastic
vibrator (n) = (in this context) a penis-shaped tool with an electric current giving it a pulsing movement, used as a sex toy
simultaneously (adj) = at the same time
erotica (n) = literature (or art) which describes or represents sexual love
raison d’être (n, French) = in the French language this means ‘reason to be’, or ‘purpose of life’
waiting to hear = waiting for an answer
worst (adj) = most extremely bad. ‘Worst’ is the superlative of ‘bad’ (as in: bad – worse – worst), just as ‘best’ is the superlative of good (as in: good – better – best).
worse (adj) = more than bad; bad to a greater degree
to menstruate (v) = to bleed (if you are a woman) once a month
to be in pose = to be, as a model, in a completely still position in order to be drawn by the artists
to fart (v, coll) = to let out air from your bottom. English people think this is funny.
to be prone to = to have a tendency to
to faint (v) = to suddenly lose consciousness; to become dizzy and fall to the floor, perhaps due to illness
manuscript (n) = the unpublished text of Suki’s novel
out-of-office reply = automated response to an email; that is, not a personal reply from the person to whom you have sent the email
a week on (Monday) = a further week, starting from next Monday
Melanie Alone is the title of the novel Suki is writing.
bit (n) = portion, piece
Arts Council (n) = a British institution which gives out small grants (sums of money) to support artists, writers, actors etc (and also larger grants to support theatres, orchestras etc)
grant (n) = a sum of money given to support a person or institution
beat-up (adj, coll) = battered, unrepaired
Micra (n) = a small, cheap car made by Nissan, typically driven by people like Suki
to shape up = to become physically fit
tax disc (n) = a round (circular) piece of paper proving that annual car-tax has been paid. This disc must be displayed in the front window of cars in the UK. If the annual payment is not renewed, it becomes illegal to drive the car.
to dither (over) (v) = to be indecisive (about)
chatty (adj) = talkative, friendly, informal
Victoria is the first name of the literary agent who will perhaps (Suki hopes) decide to help Suki find a publisher.
to get on with = to relate (well) to; to have a (good) relationship with
Hi (coll) = hello
who I was at St Martin’s with : the correct grammatical construction is with whom I was at St Martin’s (St Martin’s is a famous London art college). But it’s okay to use the first grammatical form, unless you are conservative or a snob.
Workshop (n) = [in this context] a class in which an activity is taught.
To go and [do something] (coll): the verb ‘to go’ is used to give greater emphasis to the subsequent verb. Examples: (1) I’ve booked a flight to visit my grandmother but she’s gone and died. (2) Don’t go and bake her a cake when she is so afraid of becoming fat.
In plaster = encased in a solid cast, which prevents broken bones from moving so that they can heal in the correct position.
To give [someone] a call back = to return someone’s phone-call
If you don’t mind is an expression (in this context) of annoyance. Suki’s clothes-size is 14, which is quite large, but she sees that Conservative Jeremy has drawn her looking even larger. But she only thinks this, she does not say anything to him.
important staring into space: looking at nothing while modelling is very useful thinking time for Suki, who is a writer.
to be into (v, coll) = to enjoy, to be a fan of
kicking through this lovely decay refers to Suki’s pleasure in walking among the piles of fallen and rotting autumn leaves.
womb (n) = a woman’s uterus
to tip itself out (v) = to empty itself (in this case, of blood)
deluge (n) = flood
to scurry (v) = to hurry, moving like a little animal (eg mouse)
manuscript (n) = the unpublished text of Suki’s novel
to be at a loose end = to have nothing to do
Kit off (coll) = without clothes; naked; nude
To keep to (v) = to follow
I change… = I take off my clothes and put on other clothes
Drapery (n) = pieces of cloth that are hung or laid in position (perhaps sheets or curtains)
To poke about with (v, coll) = to casually re-arrange or disturb
Vivaldi = an Italian composer of classical music
To pull off (v) = to remove
Frock (n) = dress
For once = Unusually; for perhaps the first time
To pass [something] off as (v) = to describe [something] as (but the description may be untrue)
Turps (n, abbrev) = turpentine, a chemical used by artists to make oil-paint thinner
Half time (n) = break time (usually in a sports game such as football)
How come…? = how can it be [that he’s so slim and fit]…?
Agent (n) = [in this context] literary agent; a ‘middle-man’ who finds publishers for writers then negotiates a contract and takes a percentage commission.
My novel’s with an agent = my novel has been accepted by an agent (congratulations, Suki!)
To get out of shape (v, coll) = to become physically unfit / fat
To be really up there (v) = to be at the top of one’s profession
Orange Prize = a prestigious annual prize for literature in the UK
Blah blah blah (coll) = the sound of someone speaking uninteresting nonsense
Palette = the small handheld board on which an artist mixes colour
To feel a fool (v) = to perceive oneself to be an idiot (Suki often feels this)
Latte (n) = Italian-style coffee with steamed milk (drunk by fashionable people – such as Suki)
Manor (n) = an old mansion-style house, traditionally the house of a wealthy landowner
On the village green = positioned to overlook an area of grass which is traditionally in the centre of an English village, used by the public like park-land.
To drop by (v) = to visit (spontaneously, with no arrangement to do so)
Striking (adj) = unusual or especially interesting; impactful
Tumbledown (adj) = in need of repair
To sit for (v) = to pose in a still, unmoving position in order to be drawn or painted by [an artist]
Life-model (n) = a person who poses nude, i.e. unclothed, for artists who want to draw the human form
Penniless (adj) = poor; having no money. Like Suki.