English Words in Action, Group S

(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.

stuff (verb), stuffs; stuffed; stuffing
1. To pile up, to fill, to cram, to load, or to heap: Irene stuffed the trunk with her winter clothes.

Kelsey stuffed the cushions with down or small soft feathers.

Maude stuffed herself with chocolate candy.

2. To fill the skin of a dead animal so it looks the way it did when it was living: For some people, it seems barbaric to stuff animals for decorative reasons.
3. To load or to jam in: Grace said, "Kermit, just stuff the laundry into the washing machine, put in the soap, and then turn the machine on."
stuffing (s) (noun), stuffings (pl)
1. The filling, wadding, or other soft material that is used to fill a pillow, cushion, etc.: Dana used a special cotton as stuffing for the dolls she was making.

Cassie made several cushions with stuffings of small feathers or down.

2. A seasoned mixture of food that is placed inside another food and cooked: Frankie added walnuts to her turkey stuffing for better flavoring.
stun (verb), stuns; stunned; stunning
1. To cause someone to become senseless or dazed, by or as if by a blow: When Sally hit her head against the door frame in the dark last night, she was stunned for a few minutes.
2. To surprise or to upset someone excessively: The extremely negative criticism stunned the politician.

When Melba gets into one of her temper tantrums, she stuns or shocks her husband very much.

stunning (adjective), more stunning, most stunning
1. Related to causing someone to be very surprised or shocked: Jacob made a stunning discovery regarding the profits he made with his investment at the bank.
2. Quite beautiful or pleasing: Tabitha wore a stunning gown to her friend's wedding.
stunningly (adverb), more stunningly, most stunningly
Very surprising and attractive: Monroe took stunningly sharp pictures of the events at the international sporting championships.
stymie (s) (noun), stymies (pl)
An obstruction, a hindrance, confusion, or a blockage of something: There was a stymie as to why the car's motor suddenly stopped functioning when the driver tried to pass some bicycle riders on the road.
stymie, stymy (verb), stymies; stymied; stymieing, stymying
1. Hindering or preventing the progress or accomplishment of something: Corruption still stymies the two countries from accomplishing their goals.

The changes in medical insurance must not be allowed to stymie the new medical treatments.

2. To thwart or to stop someone from achieving his or her objective: An explosion in the fitness studio's sauna has been stymieing many people from being able to do their physical exercises and sports.

Progress on the project has been stymied by a lack of qualified personnel.

3. Etymology: originally, a golfing term, indicating a situation on the green where a ball obstructs the shot of another player.

The actual origin is unknown.

sulky (adjective); sulkier; sulkiest
1. Relating to being silent and withdrawn after being upset: Since Timmy's mother would not let him go outside to play, he became a very sulky child.
2. Etymology: unknown.
A reference to being very gloomy and sullen.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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surge (s) (noun), surges (pl)
1. A powerful rising and falling, or forward rushing movement, like that of the sea: There was a surge of seawater against the seawall during the storm.
2. A sudden, intense experience of an emotion; especially, one that seems to rush through a person like a wave: Lenora had a surge of anger when her colleague criticized her work.
3. A sudden increase in something, often one that is relatively short-lived: There was a surge in demand for the computers.

The people in the community experienced a sudden surge of prices for food products.

4. An unexpected and temporary increase in an electrical current or voltage: Addie's electric clock on the stove went out after the electric surge during the thunder storm.
5. Etymology: "fountain, stream"; apparently from Middle French sourge-, a stem of sourdre, "to rise, to swell"; from Latin surgere, "to rise", a contraction of surrigere, "to rise"; from sub-, "up from below" + regere, "to keep straight, to guide".

The same Latin verb gives us insurgent, "one who rises up against authority" and resurrection, "a rising again".

surge (SURJ) (verb), surges; surged; surging
1. To rush or to move quickly in a specific direction: The shoppers surged into the store the minute the doors were opened.
2. To rise or to increase in a rapid manner: The crowd of enthusiasts were surging towards the auditorium to get seats to hear the lecture on astronomy.

As the Philippines' population surges, the space for learning vanishes

With a country whose population of 92 million is exploding or surging so fast, and whose education budget is so small, that it cannot find space to teach its children, many classes have 100 pupils in them.

The surge is a result of more children coming into the public schools as the economy tightens and families cannot afford the advantages of private schools, with their smaller classes.

The shortage of toilets has also become a problem; particularly when some lavatories have been converted into "claustrophobic faculty lounges, while the teacher's lounges have been put to use as classrooms".

—A compilation based on information in an article
by Seth Mydans, as seen in the International Herald Tribune,
August 25, 2009; page 4.
susurrant (adjective), more susurrant, most susurrant
A reference to whispering or talking in a very soft voice: While Clement and Marina were traveling on the bus, they carried on susurrant conversations so they wouldn't disturb other passengers and also so other people couldn't hear what they were saying.
The moderator of the quiz was whispering answers to a female contestant.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

susurrate (verb), susurrates; susurrated; susurrating
1. To whisper or to say something in a very quiet voice: Ingrid was susurrating with her young son on the train about some of the scenic things that were visible through the window as they were moving along.
2. Etymology: from Latin susurrus, "whisper" and susurrare, "to whisper"; as well as, its present participle, susurrans; and past participle, susurratus.
susurration, susurrus (s) (noun); susurrations, susuruses (pl)
An instance or act that involves a soft rustling sound; murmuring or whispering: James and Jenny could hear the susurrus of the stream by their tent when they went camping during their vacation.
susurrous (soo SUHR uhs) (adjective), more susurrous, most susurrous
A description of something that involves rustling or whispering sounds: During the autumn when the leaves fall from the trees, it is very common to hear the susurrous noise made by a person's feet as he or she walks near the perennial woody plants.
sway (verb), sways; swayed; swaying
1. To move or to swing back and forward, when something is fixed at one end or resting on a support: On sunny days, Jenny always went to her hammock where she could sway under the big shady tree in her backyard.
2. To move or to incline to one side or in a particular direction: The wind caused the trees to sway back and forth.
3. To fluctuate or to vacillate, as with an opinion: The applause from the audience seemed to sway public opinion about the candidate.
4. To wield power; to exercise or to rule: The leader was swaying over his people in a benevolent manner.
5. Etymology: "to go, to glide, to move," probably from Old Norse sveigja, "to bend, to swing, to give way".

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.