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.

sissy (s) (noun), sissies (pl)
1. An insulting word for a boy or a man who appears to do things like girls or women: People laughed at Monroe and called him a sissy because he wouldn't play football.
2. Anyone who is regarded as being overly timid, weak, fearful, or cowardly: Pete was called a sissy because he was afraid to touch a little frog.
3. Etymology: from about 1846, "sister", an extended form of sis that refers to a male as being an "effeminate person".
sissy (adjective), sissier, sissiest
A reference to someone or something that is considered unmasculine or not manly: Dennis wouldn't play golf because he thought it was a sissy sport.
sketch (SKECH) (s) (noun), sketches (SKECH uhs) (pl )
1. A constructed drawing or painting that is often made as a preliminary presentation of something in greater detail: The artists made several sketches before starting their final paintings.
2. A rough design that indicates what can be done: The construction contractor of the commercial building considered the basic suggestions in the architect's sketch.
3. A summary or preliminary draft: The budget committee gave the governor a sketch of the longer tax-deficit report.
sketch (SKECH) (verb), sketches; sketched; sketching
1. To draw or to illustrate outlines of designs, scenes, etc.: In the park, artists were sketching or making quick drawings of trees and other aspects of nature.
2. To describe or to summarize something: The article in the magazine sketched the recent international events and how they were influencing the economies of several nations.
sketchily (adverb), more sketchily, most sketchily
Slight; superficial: The only thing that Charles could see in the notebook was a sketchily drawn face.
sketchiness (s) (noun) (no plural)
Imperfect, incompleteness of details, slight, or superficial: The sketchiness of the report resulted in more confusion.
sketchy (SKECH ee) (adjective), more sketchy, most sketchy
1. Giving only major written points or parts that are incomplete or vague: The investment advertisement gives a sketchy description of what monetary results might be received for the money.
2. Inadequate, superficial, or lacking in details: The details about the bus accident are still too sketchy to know what really happened.

Jack has only a sketchy idea of how his computer program works.

3. Something which is done quickly without many details: Jillian made a sketchy drawing of the earthquake destruction of the city.
skim (verb), skims; skimmed; skimming
1. To take away a layer of something from the surface of some kind of liquid: Trudy, the cook, was skimming the fat from the chicken broth.
2. To take a quick look at or to read something quickly in order to get the main ideas: Glen skimmed his assigned reading so he could at least have some idea of what the story was about.
3. To throw a stone in such a manner that is skips over the surface of water before sinking: James was skimming stones across the quiet lake very skillfully.

The use of "skimming stones" is mostly British; while in the U.S. the term "skipping stones" is used for such actions.

4. That which moves lightly, or quickly, near or above the surface of something: The farmer could see the ducks skimming just above the water before they actually settled on the surface of the lake.
skimp (verb), skimps; skimped; skimping
1. To spend insufficient time, money, etc., on something when more is needed: For the sake of being healthy, people should not skimp on exercise or sleep.
2. To work carelessly, rapidly, or to use poor material in the construction of something: Marina's roof is leaking because the contractor skimped on the quality of the materials he was using.

Too many dictionaries; especially, medical and scientific lexicons, are skimping on their definitions to such a degree that they are often too difficult for users to understand what the word entries actually mean.

skimpily (adjective), more skimpily, most skimpily
Relating to that which is insufficient or inadequate: Because she didn't allow enough time to do her class assignment, Trisha did her homework skimpily for history class the next day.
skimpiness (s) (noun) (no plural)
Something that is meager, slight, inadequate, not big enough, or which is insufficient: Tom realized that the skimpiness of the sweater that he was trying to put on wouldn't fit over his bulky shirt.
skimpy (adjective), skimpier, skimpiest
Concerning that which is too small in size or an amount: Derek complained that the servings of the meal at the restaurant were the skimpiest that he had ever had.

The judge declared that the evidence presented by the prosecutor in the trial was much too skimpy to convict anyone.

Susana was sent home by the principal of the high school because he decided that she was wearing a skimpy dress that was not appropriate for school since it didn't adequately cover her body.

skinflint (s) (noun), skinflints (pl)
1. An individual who is excessively stingy; a tightwad; a miser: A skinflint is someone who only shops at bargain stores, never orders dessert, and in general hates to spend money.

Arnold's friend was a skinflint who wouldn't even donate 10 cents to charity.

2. Etymology: from skin, "tissue forming the external covering of humans and animals" + flint, "a piece of very hard stone".
A skimpy person who doesn't want to spend money if he or she can avoid it.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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skip (verb), skips; skipped; skipping
1. To avoid doing something which is normal or usually expected: Jack and Jill decided to skip breakfast and have an early lunch because they had to catch the next train before it was too late.

Jimmy skipped school because he wanted to go to a movie early in the day instead of in the evening.

2. To omit or leave something out in a discussion or while reading, and go to the next thing: Jack said the autobiography he was reading skipped the writer's childhood and just told about his early adult life.

Ron skipped the next word in his vocabulary quiz because he had never studied its meaning before.

3. To leave a place suddenly and without warning; especially, when trying to avoid punishment: The criminal tried to skip the country, but he was apprehended by the police before he could get away.
4. To move forward in a playful way by taking short, fast steps, and jumps: Ted's children were skipping happily ahead of him and his wife as they were going to the playground.

The ice skater made three quick skips and then she did a pirouette or a fast spin around in the air as she landed on her skates.

5. To throw a flat stone on the surface of water in a lake so it bounces for a distance: Sam was able to make the rock skip seven times before it sank into the water.
6. An expression that indicates that a person doesn't want to do something or to talk about it: While Jim was discussing what happened when he slipped and fell down, he said, "Oh, skip it. It isn't important anyway."
skirmish (s) (noun), skirmishes (pl)
1. A brief battle between small groups; usually, part of a longer or larger battle or war: Many skirmishes between countries have taken place throughout the centuries.
2. Any brisk encounter or conflict with another person, people, or even with oneself; usually, of a minor nature: During their political debates, the opposing parties had several skirmishes with each other.

The presidential candidates had a skirmish over their economic plans.

The two boys were lucky that they had a minor skirmish during recess at school before a teacher or the principal saw them.

3. Etymology: from French escarmouche and from Italian scaramuccia, "argument, altercation".
A conflict or dispute.
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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.