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.

scaremonger (s) (noun), scaremongers (pl)
1. Someone who spreads alarming or frightening rumors, reports, or news: President Trump is an example of a political scaremonger who attacks other countries with his sanctions and policies.
2. Etymology: from Middle English sker, "fear, dread" + Latin mango, "dealer."
Anyone who spreads alarming news.
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scavenge (verb), scavenges; scavenged; scavenging
1. To search for and to collect something that is usable from things that have been discarded or thrown away: Some people try to sell junk that they have scavenged from trash piles.

Sometimes city dumps are places where poor people scavenge for pieces of old furniture, etc. in order to survive.

2. Some animals search for carrion as food or for discarded food: Jim saw some cats in town that aren't fed by anyone; so, they live in the streets and parks where they scavenge for food.

During his trip to Africa, Mike often saw vultures, hyenas, jackals, and other animals which were scavenging for food from the bodies of animals that the lions had left after they had finished eating what they had killed.

scavenger (s) (noun), scavengers (pl)
1. An animal or bird that feeds on dead animals (that it has not killed itself), or on dead plant material, or refuse: Vultures are just one example of the kind of scavengers that exist.
2. A person who searches for and collects discarded items of clothes, furniture, etc.: It isn't unusual to see a scavenger, or scavengers, going through dumpsters in cities looking for something that can be used.

There were several terms for scavengers in London during the 1800s including bone-pickers, rag-gatherers, pure-finders, dredger men, mud-larks, sewer-hunters, dustmen, night-soil men, bunters, toshers, and shoremen; all of which were recycling the junk or trash that they collected.

—Compiled from excerpts located in
The Ghost Map. The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic and
How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

by Steven Johnson; Published by the Penguin Group; New York; 2006; page 1.
schlock (s) (noun), schlocks (pl)
1. Something; such as, merchandise or literature that is inferior or of low quality or value: The novel that Bert started to read contained contents which were nothing but schlock and so he threw the book into the trash.
2. Etymology: from Yiddish shlak, "cheap, shoddy, or inferior; related to German Schlacke, Schlag, "dregs, scum, dross."
Something that is junk.
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schlockmeister (s) (noun), schlockmeisters (pl)
1. A purveyor or producer of cheap or trashy goods: There should be a television that is protected against barbarian schlockmeisters who produce tasteless and inferior works.
2. Etymology: from Yiddish or Jewish shlak, “a hit, a strike, a blow” + German -meister, "a person in charge of a specified thing."
Someone who produces pretentious material such as motion pictures.
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schmooze (verb), schmoozes; schmoozed; schmoozing
1. To talk casually in a friendly way; especially, in order to gain an advantage or to make social connections: Mike hoped his colleague would continue to do her job well despite the fact that she was schmoozing with the supervisor in order to obtain his favoritism.

Teresa was schmoozing with her friends Mark and Mildred the entire evening.

2. Etymology: from Yiddish shmues, from Hebrew shmuot, "to report, to gossip".
To gossip or to have conversations.
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schmuck (s) (noun), schmucks (pl)
1. A foolish or contemptible person: People really are schmucks to fall for what that politician is saying.
2. A pejorative term meaning that someone is a stupid, an idiotic, or a detestable person: During the soccer game, James felt like a schmuck when he kicked the ball into the wrong goal!
3.Etymology: from Yiddish, Jewish, Hebrew shmok, "fool."
An idiotic person.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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scoff (verb), scoffs; scoffed; scoffing
1. To jeer or laugh at someone with contempt and derision: When people scoff at something, they usually talk about it in a way that shows that they think it is ridiculous or completely inadequate.
2. To talk about a person or something in a way that shows disapproval and a lack of any respect: Jane's brother scoffed at her when she told him that she planned to become an actress because he felt that she had no more talent than he did.
3. Etymology: from Scandinavian skof, "mockery, jest."
To treat with mocking or derision.
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To speak with jeering remarks.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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scorch (s) (noun), scorches (pl)
1. An area that has been damaged or marked by burning: When the candle fell over during dinner, it left a scorch on the tablecloth before the candle fire went out.
2. Etymology: the term scorch came from Old Norse skorpna, "to dry up, to shrivel".
scorch (verb), scorches; scorched; scorching
1. To burn the surface of something: The very hot pan scorched the wooden top of the serving table.

Try to roast the meat and don't scorch it.

While Ronda was ironing Ralph's shirt, she was scorching it because the iron was too hot.

2. To damage something as a result of making it very dry: The hot sun and the very dry weather scorched the crops in several areas of the country.
scorched (adjective), more scorched, most scorched
Referring to something that has been burned: When Melba was cooking, she noticed that the scorched meat could not be served because it could not be eaten.
scorching (adjective), more scorching, most scorching
Descriptive of something that is very hot: There have been some unusually scorching weather conditions already this summer, and it is only June.
scramble (s) (SKRAM buhl) (noun), scrambles (pl)
1. An unceremonious scuffle or disorganized struggle: There was a scramble by the children under the broken piñata to find all the candy and treats.
2. Rushing around quickly in an undignified way: The scramble by the holiday shoppers to get on the bus made it difficult for Rosetta to keep her balance.
3. The rapid departure of military aircraft when responding to an alert or an imminent crisis: The scramble by the fighter pilots was done in perfect synchronization with the other planes.
scramble (verb), scrambles; scrambled; scrambling
1. To hurry or to try very hard to get something, often competing with other people: As soon as the doors were opened, people were scrambling to get the best seats.

Companies are currently scrambling to recruit skilled workers.

Tensions were increasing as diplomats scrambled to prevent another war.

2. To jumble or to combine in a haphazard manner: Try not to scramble the box of socks too badly because they still need to be sorted.
3. To assemble in a disorderly fashion or to be in a state of disarray: At the start of the seasonal sale, the shoppers were scrambling at the front entrance of the store.
4. To cook eggs that have been mixed together: Eleanor was scrambling the eggs for her family's breakfast.
5. To change, to modify or to add a distortion or confusing sounds to an electronic signal in order to confuse the recipient unless he or she has a special receiver: The environmental technician was doing her best to scramble the tweet message to the twitter base of supporters.
6. To bring about the flight of aircraft quickly in response to an alert or crisis situation: The pilots quickly scrambled their aircraft into the air from their inland base.
screed (s) (noun), screeds (pl)
1. A long, angry speech or writing which usually accuses someone of dong something wrong: Michael felt he had too many bad results with the breakdown of his car; so, he expressed a screed to the auto repairman who was supposed to keep his vehicle in good working order.

In Margaret's screed against the recording industry, she blamed the producer for ruining her singing career.

2. Etymology: from Old English screade, "lengthy speech or writing."
A long monotonous and negative writing or talking.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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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.