English Words in Action, Group O

(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.

oaf (OHF) (s) (noun), oafs (pl)
1. Someone whom others perceive as uncouth, demonstrates inappropriate behavior, and is considered to be a nincompoop: Other people in the library told the oaf to quit making so much noise!
2. A person who is perceived to be a simpleton, uneducated, or unlearned: Claudia was sure that the oaf in her class wouldn't know the meanings of any words even if he looked them up in several dictionaries.
A dunce or a clumsy or stupid person.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

oasis (oh AY sis) (s) (noun), oases (pl)
1. A location in a desert that has a water source and is therefore green and fertile: The road went through the oasis in the desert.
2. A sanctuary, a refuge, or a place of safety: The library was an oasis of quietness; as well as, information.
oath (OHTH) (s) (noun), oaths (pl)
1. A promise, commitment, pledge typically undertaken during a ceremony: Every U.S. President must take an oath to uphold the Constitution.
2. Vulgarity, curses, profanities often expressed due to surprise or in reaction to the unexpected: The carpenter let out a stream of oaths when he hit his thumb with his hammer.
odors and memory responses
Scientists studying how sleep affects memory have found that the whiff of a familiar scent can help a slumbering brain better remember things that it learned the evening before: Research has shown that regions of the cortex, the thinking and planning part of the brain, communicate during deep sleep with a sliver of tissue deeper in the brain called the hippocampus, which records each day's memories of odors and memory responses.

The hippocampus encodes odors and memory responses by firing sequences back in the cortex, consolidating the memory.

Olfactory sensing pathways of odors and memory responses in the brain which lead more directly to the hippocampus than visual and auditory ones. That may be why smell can be linked so closely to memory.

—Compiled with excerpts from
"To sleep and to smell, and perchance to remember", by Benedict Carey;
in The International Herald Tribune; March 9, 2007; page 8.
Off his (or her) rocker. Off your rocker. Off my rocker (idioms)
Someone who is crazy: Being off your rocker often means "to be crazy", but it probably originally referred to a "normal person" who periodically, and unexpectedly, did insane things.

At the very least, when someone is said to be off his or her rocker, it usually means that the person is behaving in a very strange or silly way.

Sally said, "I must have been off my rocker when I agreed to change jobs."

Several applicable words for off the rocker include the following:

  • nutty as a fruitcake
  • have bats in the belfry
  • a basket case
  • losing it
  • lose one's marbles
  • taking leave of one's senses
  • mentally unhinged
  • have a screw loose

Although the cartoons below are referring to other entry words, they are also providing examples of being off one's rocker.

To hint that someone is silly or unfit.
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Not normal or proper behavior.
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A simpleton or blockhead who does stupid things.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

off-key (adjective), more off-key, most off-key
1. Not in tune because the tones are above or below the proper pitch: Some of the musical notes during the concert were slightly off-key, which produced unharmonious results.
2. Behavior that deviates from what is considered to be normal or proper: Jan's neighbor had off-key activities which disturbed others who lived near him because he played his recorded music very loudly or had the volume on his TV blasting so much that people could not enjoy listening to their own TVs or were unable to go to sleep while he was continuing his off-key activities.
Not behaving in accord with what is considered normal.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.


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.