English Words in Action, Group B

(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)

English vocabulary quizzes in random order from easy to more difficult for greater word skills.

Simply click on this banner (or the following link) and you will be on your way to stimulate your brain for greater word comprehension with quizzes based on some of the words in this unit.

ban (verb), bans; banned; banning
To prohibit or to forbid people from using or doing something: The star football player was banned from the team because he was using illegal drugs.

The school has banned students from using cell phones in all classes.

The city council is banning smoking in restaurants.

banal (buh NAL, BAY nuhl, buh NAHL) (adjective), more banal, most banal
1. Descriptive of something boring, unoriginal, or stale: There were no new ideas in the politician's banal speech.
2. Dull, especially due to overuse or over familiarity: The editor rejected the author's work because it was too trite and banal.
3. Etymology: banal comes from an old meaning of ban, "force of vassals called to arms", hence, "common folk".

The ending -al was later added to form an adjective: banal. In medieval France and England, a banal mill was a mill where feudal tenants were legally obliged to have their wheat ground, and the banal oven was where bread was baked; at rates fixed by the landlord.

The word almost died out, but was revived in the 18th-century journalese as a synonym for "vulgar" or "commonplace" from its association with the common people. It has been generalized through "open to everyone" to "commonplace, ordinary", then to "trite, petty".

—Compiled from and based on information located in
Family Word Finder, The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.;
Pleasantville, New York; 1975; page 79.
Pertaining to a desire for something that is not trite or lacking freshness.
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A reference to the lack of anything new or original
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banality (buh NAL uh tee) (s) (noun), banalities (pl)
1. Something which is neither new nor interesting; commonplace; triviality: A trip to Hawaii offers an escape from the banalities of everyday life.
2. The quality of being ordinary or unimaginative: Mildred's writing style apparently never rose above banality.
Trivial or insignificant ideas or remarks.
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A new phrase that indicates that someone or something is not welcome in a particular location: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.

The citizens in the community sent a BANANA message to the electric company that they should not construct any new electrical wiring over their homes.

Banana tariffs in European Union (EU)
A reference to an extensive (16year) legal conflict between the European Union and US corporations to reduce import tariffs of specific fruit from Latin America: The heads of the corporations celebrated the end of the Banana Tariffs allowing them to increase their profits and lowering the prices of bananas in Europe.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has consistently ruled against how the EU set tariffs for bananas, forcing the 27-country bloc to over haul a system that grants preferential conditions for producers from African and Caribbean countries, mainly former British and French colonies.

banausic (buh NOH sik, buh NOH zik) (adjective), more banausic, most banausic
1. Descriptive of something which does not operate on a refined or elevated level; mundane or boring and monotonous: Michael complained that his banausic job as a bookkeeper for his company was too materialistic; especially, to the point of being dull and uninteresting.
2. Pertaining to something which serves practical purposes only; mechanical or functional: The banausic architecture of the new building was designed to be more serviceable and useful than innovative, creative, or imaginative.
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band (BAND) (s) (noun), bands (pl)
1. A group, a company, a party, a body, a troop, a crowd, or a bunch: A band of students brought their grievances before the dean of the university.
2. Orchestras, an ensemble, groups: Two different musical bands played until midnight last evening.
3. A binding, a ribbon, a sash, a belt, a collar, a girdle: Daria's hair was held in place by a velvet band.

Dark bands of clouds were forming on the horizon indicating the coming of a rainstorm.

band (verb), bands; banded; banding
1. To unite, to join, to consolidate; to gather as a group: If the students can band together, they are convinced that they can give their complaints greater strength.
2. To attach a tag or an identification marker to an animal so its movements can be tracked: The veterinarian was careful when she was banding Mary's dog.

Amazingly, when the dog was lost as a result of a storm, it was found by Alanna some miles away and because it was banded, she was able to return the dog to Mary.

bane (BAYN) (s) (noun), banes (pl)
1. A cause of trouble or unhappiness; a fatal injury or ruin; or anything that damages or destroys: Poverty is the bane of many people these days.

The extreme heat of the summer has been the bane of the populations in several countries this year.

2. Etymology: from Old English bana, "destruction".
A cause of injury or destruction.
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baneful (adjective), more baneful; most baneful
A reference to that which causes trouble, damage, or unhappiness: There are many baneful consequences for the people of Syria; including the deaths and wounding of women, children, and men who have nothing to do with the uprising that has been going on there.
Relating to creating destruction, ruin; harmful.
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bang for the buck (s) (noun), bangs for the bucks (pl)
1. The most impact or results for one's money: Joe's determination to work out as often as possible at the local fitness studio gave him more bangs for the bucks for his physical well-being than if he were sitting around and watching TV too often.
2. Value for the money spent or a favorable cost-to-benefit ratio: It does matter what gets built: the country spent too much on increasingly wasteful roads and bridges, and not enough in areas like education and social services, which studies show deliver more bangs for the bucks than infrastructure spending.
banish (verb), banishes; banished; banishing
1. To send someone away from a country or place as an official punishment: The illegal aliens were banished back to their country.
2. To abolish, to forbid, or to get rid of that which is not wanted: Mildred banished any further relations with her unfaithful husband.

For health reasons, Mike and his wife decided to banish the excessive use of sugar in their diets.

banishment (s) (noun), banishments (pl)
The forcible expulsion or exile of someone or something: Mary struggled for a long time to live with the banishment of smoking cigarettes and as a result, her health improved significantly.

Some political prisoners have been existing in banishment for far too many years.

banter (verb), banters; bantered; bantering
To speak in a playful or teasing and friendly way: James and Ted were bantering with each other at the restaurant.

Whenever Mary and Sam go out on dates together, they banter back and forth and those who hear them quite often laugh at them for being so silly!

To joke about.
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To tease playfully.
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barge (s) (noun), barges (pl)
A long narrow flat-bottomed boat used for transporting freight on rivers or canals: The slow-moving barge which was towed by a tugboat, was transporting coal up the waterway.

The barges were being used to move more fuel down the large natural stream.

Most barges on inland waterways are towed, but some of them are self-propelled.

In use since the dawn of history, barges were common on the Nile in ancient Egypt and some of them were highly decorated and used for carrying royalty.

Links to all of the groups of English words in action, Groups A to Z.

You may see the bibliographic list of sources of information for these words in action.