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.

bully (verb), bullies; bullied; bullying
To harrasses, hurt, or threaten smaller and weaker people: A bigger boy would often bully or pick on Jimmy when he and his classmates were playing outside at school.

Mark is known to bully his younger brother whenever they are doing something together.

A person who is cruel to others; especially, those who are weaker or have less physical strength.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

bumptious (adjective), more bumptious, most bumptious
Referring to someone who is extremely conceited.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Relating to an annoying way to show that she thinks she is superios to others of her kind.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

bunk (s) (noun), bunks (pl)
1. A built-in platform for a bed, as on a ship: Brittany chose the top bunk in the cabin because it was close to the porthole.
2. Informal: any bed: Lisbeth's roommate shouted that she should grab a bunk before the other people came into the room.
3. A cabin used for sleeping quarters; such as, in a summer camp: At the summer campground, Hank slept in one of the bunks reserved for visitors.
4. A trough for feeding cattle: The farmer pitched some hay into the bunk for the cattle.
5. Etymology: bunk is probably a shortened form of bunker, which is Scotish for "a seat" or "a bench" and is of uncertain origin; possibly from a Scandinavian source; possibly from, Old Swedish, bunke, "boards used to protect the cargo of a ship" or from Scottish English, meaning "chest, box".
bunker (s) (noun), bunkers (pl)
1. An underground shelter; especially, one that is built for troops, with a fortified gun position above ground: Naturally, after the war, many bunkers were abandoned by the troops.
2. A sand-filled hollow on a golf course, built as a hazard: The golf champ hit his ball into the bunker and had difficulty getting it out.
3. A fuel-storage container on a ship: The bunker was filled with 25,000 liters of gelled fuel for the sea voyage.
4. A large outdoor bin or chest: Farmer Joe kept his summer picnic equipment in a bunker out by the barn.
5. Etymology: from Scottish, "seat, bench", possibly a variant of banker, "bench" (1677).
bunkum (s) (noun), bunkums (pl)
1. Talk or writing dismissed as nonsensical or inaccurate: The social columnist for the local newspaper wrote a lot of bunkum about the celebrities in the community.
2. Etymology: Bunk is here a shortened form of bunkum, a phonetic spelling of Buncombe, a county in North Carolina.

During the extended Missouri statehood debates, on February 25, 1820, N.C. Representative Felix Walker started what promised to be a "long, dull, irrelevant speech", and he resisted calls to cut it short by saying he was bound to say something that could appear in the newspapers in his home district and prove that he was on the job.

"I shall not be speaking to the House," he confessed, "but to the people of Buncombe"; however, it soon became a term for "political wind-bagging" and took on the more general meaning of "nonsense" or "claptrap" (insincere and foolish talk).

Bunkum has been used in American English as a slang term for "nonsense" since at least 1847 and was popularized by Henry Ford's remark in 1916: "History is more or less bunk."

—Compiled from information located in
Webster's Word Histories; Merriam-Webster Inc., Publishers;
Springfield, Massachusetts; 1989; page 73.
Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto; Arcade Publishing;
New York; 1990; page 86.
Meaningless or empty and insignificant talk.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

buoy (BOO ee, BOi) (s) (noun), buoys (pl)
1. Floats that are moored in water to mark a location, to warn of danger, or to indicate a navigational channel: The coastal city replaced the buoys that were lost during the severe storm.
2. Etymology: From Old High German bouhhan, "buoy", and is elated to "beacon".

The term also exists in French bouee, Italian boia, and Spanish boya.

buoy (verb), buoys; buoyed, buoying
1. To keep afloat or aloft: Jim saw a glider buoyed up in the sky by air currents.
2. To inspire or to encourage: The football team was buoyed up for the game because they were all in good physical condition and they were convinced by their coach that they had a very good chance of winning the championship.
buoyancy (BOI uhn see, BOO yuhn see) (s) (noun), buoyancies (pl)
1. The capability or tendency to stay afloat; as in a liquid, in the air, or in gas: The fisherman was testing his boat to see if its buoyancy was still sufficient.
2. A upward force that a fluid exerts on something that is less dense than itself: Rubber rafts have a buoyancy that allows people to float even when they can't swim.
3. An ability to recover quickly from undesirable situations; such as, a failure or a disappointment: Matt was a man of remarkable buoyancy even though he was losing money in the stock market.
4. Lightness of spirit; cheerfulness: Carl had a great deal of buoyancy when he found out that his brother was able to get a good job after graduating from the university.

The buoyancy of the elderly couple, who were celebrating their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary, was an indication that they were very happy.

The capability of floating as on water or in the air.
© ALL rights are reserved.

The ability to float in the air or being happy.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

buoyant (BOI uhnt, BOO yuhnt) (adjective), more buoyant, most buoyant
1. A reference to being able to float: Cork is a very buoyant material, which cannot sink to the bottom of a container of water.
2. Pertaining to something that can cause things to drift in the air: Warm air is more a buoyant factor than cool or cold air.
3. Descriptive of being happy and confident: The two basketball teams were in a buoyant mood as they were about to play their game.
4. Relating to remaining at a regular or high level: The investors are convinced that there will be a buoyant economy in the near future.
Conveying cheerfulness or being able to float.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

burgeon (verb), burgeons; burgeoned; burgeoning
To quickly grow, to expand, or to develop: Hot weather has burgeoned around the country faster than usual this year.

The market for cell phones is burgeoning on a global scale.

One of the dangers of so much rain and heat is that mosquito population is burgeoning and causing more health problems.

burgeoning (adjective), more burgeoning, most burgeoning
A description of something that is developing, growing, and flourishing quickly: With all of the rain that has been falling and the heat, the weeds and grass have become a burgeoning problem in yards and along the sides of roads.

The nation's burgeoning number of people without jobs has been increasing and causing serious financial problems.

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.