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  1. What are the main semantic principles of word classification?

  2. What are the main types of semantic relations?

  3. What do the semantic relations of proximity imply?

  4. What degrees of semantic proximity are singled out?

  5. What do the semantic relations of equivalence imply?

  6. What is the tendency within the words showing the semantic relations of equivalence?

  7. What is hyponymy?

  8. In what way does hyponymy organize the vocabulary?

  9. What are the relations of semantic opposition based on?

  10. What types of opposition are distinguished?

Practical assignments

Exercise 1 Read and translate the following sentences. Comment on the underlined vocabulary units.

  1. She was the life and soul of the party.

  2. By the way, Staffy, who’s going to be your best man?”

  3. When I heard Crawford talking about “trouble-makers”, that was the last straw.

  4. Martin’s a dark horse. I should like to know what he wants for the college.

  5. It had all started out of nothing – and then they were hammer and tongs with Emily saying all sorts of things she couldn’t possibly have meant.

  6. He’d be a fish out of water in England.

  7. I’ve never been much addicted to businessmen, but really it’s ridiculous to put on airs because they become genteel.

  8. Larry had a chance of getting in on the ground floor, and if he kept his nose to the grindstone he might well be many times a millionaire by the time he was forty.

  9. A fine solicitor he is, not the man to let the grass grow under his feet/

  10. And she’s bound to kick the bucket any day now.

Exercise 2 Translate the following sentences paying attention to the comparative phraseological units.

  1. He’s as pleased as Punch.

  2. Everything went as merrily as a marriage bell.

  3. She was as clever as a monkey.

  4. They were both as mad as hatters in those days.

  5. Just for a moment you were as white as a sheet.

  6. Doctor is convinced ha has visual hallucinations, but will he admit it? He’s as obstinate as a mule.

  7. You soon cotton on to it, and you say you are as fit as fiddle.

  8. He looked as shabby as a beachcomber.

  9. You ought to shut up, Larry. You’re as crazy as a loon.

  10. You’ll like it if you don’t mind its being as dull as ditchwater.

Exercise 3 Fill up the blanks with the words from the list below.

  1. He is as drunk as __________.

  2. He is as sober as a __________.

  3. He can run like a __________.

  4. He is as slippery as an _________.

  5. He drinks like a __________.

(fish, hare, eel, lord, judge)

Exercise 4 Fill up the blanks with the name of an animal or a bird.

  1. To sing like a _________.

  2. To watch somebody like a __________.

  3. To work like a __________.

  4. To follow like a __________.

  5. To breed like a __________.

  6. Fleet as a __________.

  7. Tricky as a __________.

  8. Gruff as a __________.

  9. Harmless as a __________.

  10. Cheerful as a __________.

Exercise 5 Translate the following idioms; see whether there are corresponding ones in your native tongue.

  1. Top dog; clever dog; dead dog; dirty dog; big dog; red dog; dump dog; gay dog; lazy dog; lucky dog; sea dog; the black dog; hot dog; spotted dog.

  2. Milk cow; the fatted cow; old bird; the golden calf; lost sheep; cooked goose; fighting cock; old cat; great lion; dark horse; dead horse.

Exercise 6 Translate the following sentences. Consider the motivation of the underlined words.

  1. Phyl noticed that his shoes squeaked.

  2. He left the room again, closing the door behind him with a bang.

  3. The footpath was crumbling and dusty.

  4. On the mantelpiece stood a photograph of the parents, with the glass cracked.

  5. She now splashed the water over the dirty dishes.

  6. Then the door clicked open.

  7. The close was never silent since, day and night there could be heard the hum of the traffic along the arterial road and the distant thunder of trains.

  8. Suddenly he stopped in the path, opened his death-like jaws and uttered a loud ha-ha.

  9. Laurence heard a clink and a pause, a tinkle and a pause, breakfast being laid.

  10. And I had a picture in my brain of me running and beating everybody in the world, leaving them all behind until only I was trot-trotting across a big wide moor alone, doing a marvellous speed as I ripped between boulders and reed-clumps, when suddenly: crack! crack! – bullets that can go faster than any man running, coming from a copper’s rifle planted in a tree, winged me and split my gizzard in spite of my perfect running, and down I fell.

Exercise 7 Translate the following sentences. Pick out words that betray their foreign origin.

  1. I liked the way the light shone on the roofs and the rivers and the rococo buildings of the university.

  2. Well, one thing I had thought she’d like was a little escritoire thing that came from Thomas’s mother.

  3. Won’t you keep it as a memento of our friendship?

  4. They took a cab to the Pont St Michel and sauntered up the crowded boulevard till they came to a café they liked the look of.

  5. I’m an ignoramus, of course, but I believe this particular print was regarded – before it was exposed as a fraud – as the most interesting feature of the thesis.

  6. Regrettably, there has been a piece of scientific chicanery.

  7. He played Chopin. He played two waltzes that were familiar to me, a polonaise and an etude. He played with a great deal of brio.

  8. It was she who gave the address to the chauffeur.

  9. Demoyte was a connoisseur of books.

  10. Daphne popped he last piece of macaroon into her mouth, wiped her fingers correctly on a crepe de Chine handkerchief, and shook hands.

Exercise 8 Comment on the degree of the assimilation of the words in bold.

  1. He sent a note to his sister via his man Joseph and her maid Antoinette.

  2. I lit my lantern and dressed, bundied my things into my rucksack and slipped my arms through the straps.

  3. Jago had supported me and ever since had borne me the special grateful affection that one feels toward protégé.

  4. They ate in alternate mouthfuls, block chocolate and brioches.

  5. That’s fine for one chef d’oeuvre, but it gets to be a bore.

  6. They are always yanking about the malaises of our society. They go to talk French to keep up their reputation.

  7. That’s one good thing about Mike the philosopher: he’s consistent and he does not develop his theories so quickly that you lose track of them.

  8. They were nearly an hour over luncheon. Course followed course in disconcerting abundance while Colonel ate and ate, turning the leaves of his book and chuckling frequently. They ate hare soup and boiled turbot and stewed sweetbreads and black ham with Madeira sauce and roast pheasant and a rum omelette and toasted cheese and fruit. First they drank sherry, then claret, then port.

  9. The whereabouts of the tomb have long been a historical mystery. Tradition spoke of Melpham or Bedbury. The excavation, of course, reveals this long-hidden secret. The stone coffin has inscriptions and ornaments of great interest to historians of the seventh century. The most remarkable discovery, however, is undoubtedly that of a wooden fertility figure. Similar Saxon figures have been found twice before, preserved in the marshy bogs of Jutland and Friesland. But this discovery is unique in English archeology.

  10. While Bob and I held our wine, trying to gather up enough courage to drink it, Mrs. Wetherby got a stool out of the corner, knocked the carton full of magazines from it to the floor, climbed up on it and began rummaging around in a high cupboard.

Exercise 9 Translate the following extracts; discuss the words in bold print; point out what traces of their foreign origin they still preserve.

  1. I mihgtn’t have been a cosily curled-up embryo writer in those days, but I read a lot.

  2. They made me pretty cynical.

  3. I doubt if any historian or archeologist could turn technique into art in this way.

  4. The Leader of his Majesty’s Opposition lay sink in a rather glorious coma made splendid by dreams of Oriental imagery.

  5. He had a nasty attack of bronchitis this winter.

  6. A prosperous New Year they announced, this time in real chrysanthemums.

  7. Now there’s no point being chronological.

  8. There are photographs of yachts in full sail.

  9. The report that he gave to the Congress laid emphasis on the dependence of the conclusions upon the earlier discoveries.

  10. The gramophone behind the insufficient insulation of glass began to betray its miraculous collection of sentimental brass sound and the girls of the ballet shrieked with laughter about something.

Exercise 10 Read the following text; copy out the international words; state to what sphere of human activity they belong.

British Dramatists

In the past 20 years there has been a considerable increase in the number of new playwrights in Britain and this has been encouraged by the growth of new theatre companies. In 1956 the English Stage Company began productions with the object of bringing new writers into the theatre and providing training facilities for young actors, directors and designers; a large number of new dramatists emerged as a result of the company productions. Regional repertory theatres, too, have helped contemporary dramatists by including new plays in their programmes. Television has been an important factor in the emergence of dramatists who write primarily for it; both BBC and IBA transmit a large number of single plays each year as well as drama series and serials.

(From The Promotion of the Arts in Britain)

Exercise 11 Look up the meaning of the following words in the dictionary. Name the component parts of the lexical meaning in each case.

  1. To rise – to mount – to ascend

  2. To ask – to question – to interrogate

  3. Fire – flame – conflagration

  4. Fear – terror – trepidation

  5. Holy – sacred – consecrated

  6. Time – age – era

  7. goodness – virtue – probity

  8. Smell – odour – scent – fragrance – perfume

  9. Strange – odd – queer – quaint

  10. Thin – lean – slender – slim

Exercise 12 Read the following sentences; look up the meanings of the underlined words in the dictionary. Comment on the connection between the meanings of one and the same word.

  1. I walked into Hyde Park, fell flat upon the grass and almost immediately fell asleep.

  2. “Hello”, I said, and thrust my hand through the bars, whereon the dog became silent and licked me prodigiously.

At the end of the long bar, leaning against the counter was a slim pale individual wearing a red bow-tie.

  1. I began to search the flat, looking in drawers and boxes to see if I could find a key.

I tumbled with a sort of splash upon the keys of a ghostly piano.

Now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music and the opera of voices pitches a key higher.

Someone with a positive manner, perhaps a detective, used the expression ‘madam’ as he bent over the body that afternoon, and the authority of his voice set the key for the newspaper report next morning.

  1. Her mouth opened crookedly half an inch, and she shot a few words at one like pebbles.

Would you like me to come to the mouth of the river with you?

  1. I sat down for a few minutes with my head in my hands, until I heard the phone taken up inside and the butler’s voice calling a taxi.

The minute hand of the electric clock jumped on to the figure twelve and the clock began its feeble imitation of Big Ben.

  1. Let us study Cabinet and Government by seeing what important offices of State the Prime Minister has to fill when he first comes into office after a successful election.

This means that he must be in the Home Office or Foreign Office for example, for a considerable length of time on most days of the week.

But thank you for reminding me of my office.

  1. Tell me, am I or am I not entitled to sit on the Court of Seniors, unless I withdraw of my own free will?

Running through my pocket-book I said that I hadn’t three consecutive days free until the end of June.

One extra good one said that any restaurant meal that included meat must also include free wine.

After the noisy children’s day, we breathed comfortably at being out in the free air.

“Of course,” he said, following his process of free association, “snobbery is the national vice.”

Luke, for one moment free from scribing notes for minutes had been whispering to Roy.

  1. He felt the shoulder and arm of my jacket.

If he’d come to see me about his difficulty, I might feel differently about it.

But I oughtn’t to conceal from you that I don’t feel inclined to accept the invitation.

Deprived so suddenly he felt for a cigarette, but there was half an hour yet for the playtime break.

  1. It could turn to pneumonia the doctors say.

Brown turned his head towards Nightingale.

In the train to London I pulled the latest medical journal from my overcoat pocket and sadly turned again to the advertisements.

Following the direction of his short pointing arm, I went down a corridor, turned a corner and was immediately lost.

  1. I did not know him well, but I felt that at heart he was decent, sound and healthy.

He was actually a doctor’s son, born in the heart of the middle classes.

After tearing the living hell out of his family in his first novel, his old lady had a heart attack and departed for good and all.

Exercise 13 Look up the definitions of the word court; translate the following sentences; compare the meanings of the English and corresponding Russian word; explain the differences between the words.

  1. As we picked up our gowns and went downstairs into the court, Francis was saying: “But there is no mystery why Howard did it.”

  2. It would be a terribly difficult case for an ordinary court.

  3. I attended many cases, as though it were better to be in court as a spectator than not at all.

  4. Given that photograph, I should have thought there was enough evidence to satisfy a court of law.

  5. The girl was to be presented at Court then next month and the mention of royalty stimulated Albert Hart.

  6. A great bay of windows gave on to the terrace; below lay the tennis court.

Exercise 14 Read and translate the following extracts; explain the semantic processes by which the underlined words acquired their meanings.

  1. ‘Bureau’, a desk, was borrowed from French in the 17th century. In Modern French (and English) it means not only the desk but also the office itself and the authority exercised by the office. Hence the bureaucracy is likely to become increasingly familiar. The desk was called so because covered with bureau, a thick coarse cloth of a brown russet.

(From The Romance of Words by E. Weekley)

  1. An Earl of Spencer made a short overcoat fashionable for some time. An Earl of Sandwich invented a form of light refreshment which enabled him to take a meal without leaving the card-table. Hence we have such words as spencer and sandwich in English.

(From The Romance of words by E. Weekley)

  1. A common name for overalls or trousers is jeans. In the singular jean is also a term for durable twilled cotton and is short for the phrase jean fustian which first appeared in texts from the 16th century. Fustian (a Latin borrowing) is a cotton and linen fabric, and jean is the modern spelling of Middle English Jene or Gene, from Genes, the Middle French name of the Italian city Genoa, where it was made and shipped abroad.

(From The Merriam Webster Book of Word Histories)

  1. Formally barn meant “a storehouse for barley”; today it has widened to mean “any kind of storehouse” for animals or equipment as well as any kind of grain. The word picture used to refer only to a representation made with paint; today it can be a photograph or a representation made with charcoal, pencil or any other means. A pen used to mean “feather” but now has become generalized to include several kinds of writing implements – fountain, ballpoint, etc. The meaning of sail as limited to moving on water in a ship with sails has now generalized to mean “moving on water in any ship”.

(From Teaching English Linguistically by J. Malmstrom, J. Lee)

  1. Words degenerate in meaning also. In the past villain meant “farm labourer”; counterfeiter meant “imitator” without criminal connotations, and sly meant “skilful”. A knave meant a “boy” and immoral meant “not customary”, and hussy was a “housewife”.

Other words improve in meanings. Governor meant “pilot” and constable meant “stable attendant”. Other elevations are enthusiasm which formally meant “fanaticism”, knight which used to mean “youth”, angel which simply meant “messenger” and pretty which meant “sly”. No one can predict the direction of change of meaning, but changes occur constantly.

(From Teaching English Linguistically by J. Malmstrom, J. Lee)

Exercise 15 In the examples below identify the cases of widening, narrowing and elevation of meaning. Motivate your answer.

  1. While the others waited the elderly executive filled his pipe and lit it.

  2. Finn was watching the birds.

  3. The two girls took hold of one another, one acting gentleman, the other lady; three or four more pairs of girls immediately joined them and began a waltz.

  4. He was informed that the president had not arrived at the bank, but was on his way.

  5. Smokey had followed a dictum all his life: if you want a woman to stick beside you, pick an ugly one. Ugly ones stay to slice the meat and stir the gravy.

  6. The directors now assembling were admirals and marshals of commerce.

  7. For a businessman to be invited to serve on a top-flight bank board is roughly equivalent to being knighted by the British Queen.

  8. I had a nice newsy gossip with Mrs. Needham before you turned up last night.

  9. The little half-starved guy looked more a victim than a villain.

  10. I shook hands with Tom; it seemed silly not to, for I felt suddenly as though I were talking to a child.

Exercise 16 Translate the following sentences; point out homonyms.

  1. They were camping on a sand bank.

He had met his wife in India, where he had held a senior post in a foreign bank.

The Austen was left by the side of the road and Edward and Dorothy sat affectionately upon the river bank and munched cherries.

  1. Her eyes had the wild stare seen only in animals which turn at bay, and nervously exhausted women.

She was a dark bay, with long tail and mane.

Vasco da Gama, on one of his voyages, put in at the island between the North Arm and the Leg, at a point which was now called Vasco da Gama’s Bay.

  1. Beside the criss-cross diagonal iron bridge, three poplars stood up like frozen brooms.

He played golf, tennis, bridge, ran the Boy Scouts and sat on several committees.

  1. Someone there made him feel bound to give some account of himself, to put on some expression or other.

Bronze cold of January bound the sky and the landscape.

  1. Go right ahead. But leave me my fair share or else all is over between us.

The tips of Anna’s fair hair brushed on the page.

They had some brandy and after a time a page came to their table to say: “A message from Lady Brenda, sir.”

  1. He and Irene and Portia trailed up and down the cold parts of the Riviera, till the caught a chill and died in a nursing home.

As we picked up our gowns and went downstairs into the court, Francis was saying: “But there is no mystery why Howard did it.”

  1. Sitting by him, I found it impossible to feel any true sense of the past at all.

With a look past Portia that said no thing should alter his habits he now rose, withdrew from the breakfast table and locked himself somewhere behind the chenille curtain.

Just then a couple of undergraduates passed by us on the path.

She could not aspire to do the altar flowers, as she could not afford beautiful flowers, so this was her labour of love for the church.

  1. The breath of raw air that had come in with Portia perished on the steady warmth of the hall.

But the house’s exposed position in bad weather, the roar of the sea on the shingle and the ruthless manners of the children almost always drove the guests away after a short time.

Charles March is the heir to one of these families and is beginning to make a name for himself at the Bar.

You’re pretty confident up to a point; whether you’ve done well enough – I don’t see that anyone can say.

  1. Well, it’s not the first time a man has loved the human race so much he’s left his own family to starve.

He found he was breathing as if he had just run a race.

  1. If that was the only untruth, the accused would not now be in the dock.

We had only talked to one another a few times, when we happened to be eating dinners at the Inn on the same night.

Exercise 17 Translate the following sentences; set off homonyms and polysemantic words.


  1. Mr. March, getting into his studio, charged into a kind of anecdote that I was not ready for.

  2. We should not only blame you but you would be charged with blackmail.

  3. People who did not like him said he was a dealer, but this was a charge that he resented with indignation.

  4. I’ll give him in charge for attempted blackmail if necessary.

  5. But Portia almost ran, with her joy in her own charge, like a child bowling a hoop.

  6. She arrived as black as a little crow, in heavy Swiss mourning chosen by her aunt – back from the East in time to take charge of things.

  7. Up to now, he had been a pleasure at Windson Terrace not in any way a charge on the nerves.

  8. But her hand with its charge of nervous emotion, still crept on the firm broad neck, the strong spine.

  9. I did not make an attempt to listen, but suddenly the music took me in charge.

  10. Indeed, Frank sat there like a kindly but determined mental nurse ready to receive her charge after a routine examination of the doctors.


  1. I thought the chaplain was not fair game though Tom would have been.

  2. He would have made a very fair small shopkeeper of mildly bookish tastes.

  3. Crawford was arrogant, not overactive, not interested in men’s motives, but quite a fair judge of what they could do.

  4. There was a fair amount of ability in the room, two Nobel Prize winners, five fellows of the Royal Society.

  5. She was fair to me, the fifteen years I was with her.

  6. But for a novice he did not acquit himself so badly and presently he came out on to one of those fair wide roads that are the joy of the motorists.

  7. He and his college friends had spent a very happy afternoon and evening at the annual fair.

  8. Even by the church at the far end of the fair, behind the market cross, traditional resting place, the young were tacitly allowed their privilege of Fair Day.

  9. Fair broke my heart it did apart from giving me the runs for two days.

  10. It was raining, a fair drizzle.


  1. I had known him well once, and had been fond of him.

  2. Once again Martin and I glanced at each other and saw that we agreed.

  3. Just for once, Arthur hasn’t played his hand right.

  4. And once her plan had become clear she started at once to put it into execution.

  5. I’ve never won once in all the races I’ve been in for.


  1. He may be Home Secretary: but that means, since that post carries Cabinet rank, that he must be ready to support the Government’s attitude on education, or on overseas Trade, or on international security.

  2. All had held office before and all have held it since.

  3. But, since the young used nothing else, since Martin and Walter had never been known by anything but their Christian names to their own contemporaries, the old men began to call them so.

  4. Naturally, we’ve assumed it was our duty to keep our eyes open for any development since.

  5. Margaret, who had not long since graduated from Oxford, was working as secretary to a Labour member.


  1. While I have respect for your judgement, Lewis, but I know you can’t master the technicalities any more than I can.

  2. He was a strong character, but he gave me the impression that he had not often crossed wills with other strong characters: while for Martin this was nothing new.

  3. I sat in my arm chair, not smoking, steam rising from my trouser-legs, while Gay finished his supper.

  4. They welcomed me with open arms, and there I was again counting other people’s fivers. But thinking all the while.

  5. After you leave a bank it’s fine to go with your trousers rolled, and part your hair behind, but while you’re there, you’ve got to be methodical, and that affects your private life.

Exercise 18 Translate the following sentences. Define the meaning of the underlined words. Analyze the contextual influence on the realization of the meaning.

  1. He accepted the order with the benevolent air.

A few minutes later Howard asked to go up on deck where he said there might be some more air.

Buckmaster looked hard at Bowen for a moment, this time with the unmistakable air of one visualizing another’s response to some plan or hint.

He laid it aside with the air of a man recalling himself from far away.

I thought you a delightful picture at lunch, so secluded within your proud personality as you always seem to be with such a watchful air.

She arrived by air on Monday afternoon.

Though the noise persisted, an air of obedience reigned.

  1. Then he was filled with hatred for everything, then intense pity for all the movement that was going on around him, and finally even more intense pity for himself.

The trade union movement would never dream of giving in to this proposed legislation.

The carriage was hot and stuffy with cigarette smoke, though every window had been opened in the hope of catching some movement of air from the train’s slow speed.

He got up, tiptoed across the room, and with a sharp quick movement flung the door wide open.

Colin’s movements were clumsy and he envied the attendant’s dexterity and admired aplomb.

During the comparative leisure of their return journey, Collins and Armstrong have given more details of the side-to-side movement of the spacecraft.

Suddenly it was as though the whole air had come alive and were pulsing with the indefatigable movement of blood.

Both of them looked at the pendant for a full minute without movement or speech.

His movements and the expression on his face were so menacing that the nurse fell back in terror.

If they want the movement to do things they believe are right and appropriate to this day and age they will not get them done by shouting slogans and demonstrations outside the movement but being in it and playing a part in it.

Feeling a movement at his elbow he leaned to one side so that his servant could take away the coffee cup.

  1. She drank it propped tubbily on the tiny bridge of the boat.

Mr. Simmons slipped his spectacles back on the bridge of his nose.

Shall we meet under the canal bridge?

  1. Sometimes one of his Indian friends was there, sitting beside the narrow iron bed in the lodgings in one of the meaner streets.

It must be that I had a small mean mind, a conventional, petty hatred of gossip.

How can I tell him he is mean, how can I tell him he has deceived me, how can I disgrace him in the eyes of the world after that.

  1. She had nice brown eyes.

I’ll have a cup of tea, and one of those nice cucumber sandwiches you promised me.

Our nice boy didn’t forget us after he went abroad.

No, I’m afraid it’s not very nice weather.

But he looks a nice reliable man.

“I liked her very much,” I said, “she was very nice to me.”

My dear nieces are such nice domestic creatures – plain, dreadfully plain, but so good.

Exercise 19 Carry out definitional analysis on the underlined synonyms using the explanations of meanings given. Define the types of connotations found in them.

  1. Old means having lived a long time, far advanced in years; elderly means approaching old age, between middle and old age, past middle age, but hardly old; aged is somewhat old, implies greater age than elderly; ancient is so old as to seem to belong to a past age.

  2. To create means to make an object which was not previously in existence, to bring into existence by inspiration or the like; to manufacture is to make by labour, often by machinery, especially on a large scale by some industrial process; to produce is to work up from raw material and turn it into economically useful and marketable goods.

  3. To break is to separate into parts or fragments; to crack is to break anything hard with a sudden sharp blow without separating, so that the pieces remain together; to shatter is to break into fragments, particles and in numerous directions; to smash is to destroy, to break thoroughly to pieces with a crashing sound by some sudden act of violence.

  4. To cry is to express grief or pain by audible lamentations, to shed tears with or without sound; to sob is to cry desperately with convulsive catching of the breath and noisily as from heart-rending grief; to weep means to shed tears more or less silently which is sometimes expression of pleasurable emotion.

  5. Battle denotes the act of struggling, a hostile encounter or engagement between opposite forces on sea or land; combat denotes a struggle between armed forces, or individuals, it is usually of smaller scale than battle, less frequently used in a figurative sense; fight denotes a struggle for victory, either between individuals or between armies, ships or navies, it is a word less dignity than battle, it usually implies a hand-to-hand conflict.

Exercise 20 Write out the definitions of the underlined synonyms from the dictionary. Analyze the differences in meanings.

  1. The boy suddenly awoke to the truth and realized that she was all the world to him – or, as he put it to himself from force of habit, precious, beloved, darling, much-loved, highly esteemed and valued.

  2. You wish to woo, court, and become betrothed, engaged, affianced to this girl, but you find yourself unable, incapable, incompetent, impotent and powerless.

  3. Every time you attempt it, your vocal cords, fail, fall short, are insufficient, wanting, deficient, and go blooey.

  4. Your clothes are torn, rent, ragged, tattered, and your hair is all dishevelled, untrimmed, hanging loose or negligently, at loose ends!

  5. I am suffering from extreme fatigue, weariness, lassitude, exhaustion, prostration, and languor.

  6. The girl gazed at him, a divine pity in her soft eyes. “I’m sorry,” she murmured. “So very sorry, grieved, distressed, afflicted, pained, mortified, dejected, and upset.

  7. Susan, I love you. Will you be my wife, married woman, matron, spouse, consort, partner, or better half?

  8. “Oh, George!” said Susan. “Yes, yea, ay. aye! Decidedly, unquestionably, incontrovertibly, and past all dispute!”

  9. Coming on top of the violent emotions through which he had been passing all day, it seemed to work on him like some healing spell, charm, or incantation.

  10. For purely personal and private reasons into which I need not enter, I must leave you.

Exercise 21 Write out the definitions of the following synonyms from the dictionary. Define the common and the differentiating features in their meanings.

  1. to shake – to tremble – to shiver – to shudder

  2. smell – scent – odour – aroma

  3. to walk – to stroll – to saunter – to wander

  4. to want – to wish – to desire

  5. weak – feeble – frail – fragile

  6. large – big – great

  7. to jump – to leap – to spring – to skip – to hop

  8. pain – ache – pang – twinge

  9. to discuss – to argue – to debate – to dispute

  10. dim – dusky – obscure

  11. alone – solitary – lonely

  12. to stare – to gaze – to glare

  13. angry – furious – enraged

  14. to shout – to yell – to roar

  15. to like – to admire – to worship

Exercise 22 Single out the denotative and connotative components of meanings in the underlined synonyms in the following sentences.

  1. At the little lady’s command they all three smiled.

George, on hearing the story grinned.

  1. Forsyte – the best palate in London. The palate that in a sense had made his fortune – the fortunes of the celebrated tea men, Forsyte and Treffry.

June, of course, had not seen this, but, though not yet nineteen, she was notorious.

  1. Noticing that they were no longer alone, he turned and again began examining the lustre.

June had gone. Games said he would be lonely.

  1. The child was shivering with cold.

The man shuddered with disgust.

  1. I am surprised at you.

He was astonished at the woman’s determination.

  1. It’s impossible to stare at people like that.

The little boys stood glaring at each other ready to start a fight.

The lovers stood gazing into each other’s eyes.

  1. They produce great amounts of wine.

The story was fabricated from beginning to end.

  1. He had grown white with anger.

“It’s a damned shame!” Andrew burst out, forgetting himself in a sudden rush of indignation.

  1. He was an aged man, but not yet old.

He was an elderly man at the time of his marriage.

  1. The distance between the Earth and the Sun may be said to be immense; the distance between the poles is vast.

Exercise 23 Study the meanings of the underlined synonyms in the following sentences. Say why they are not interchangeable.

  1. The little boys stood glaring at each other ready to start a fight.

The Greek myth runs that Narcissus gazed at his own reflection in the water until he fell in love with it and died.

  1. She is a very pretty American girl of twenty-two, with fair hair and blue eyes.

She was a tall, blonde woman, slender, and stately, and beautiful.

  1. You don’t know what a shock it was, Constance. I was knocked endways. I’d been brooding over it ever since till I was afraid I should go mad.

She’d evidently had time to reflect because when I came again she asked me quite calmly what it was exactly that I proposed.

  1. She began to sob hysterically.

Mortimer looks from Marie Louse who is quietly weeping to Constance with the utmost bewilderment.

  1. You only want a car so that you can be independent of me.

She longed with all her heart for him to take her in his arms so that she could lay her head on his breast.

  1. People turned in the street and stared at her with open mouths.

Roger got up and strolled slowly about the room and when he passed the windows as though in idle curiosity, peeped through the heavy crep curtains that covered them.

  1. He was puzzled at the letter.

I was astonished at seeing him so changed.

  1. Many of them had their sleeves rolled up, revealing bare arms.

He saw naked children playing on the heaps of rubbish.

  1. There was a scent of honey from the lime-trees in flowers.

The room was permeated with the familiar smells of dust and yesterday’s cooking.

  1. Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are.

He sought for a crushing phrase, some final and intimidating repartee.

Exercise 24 Read and translate the following sentences. Pick out antonyms. Look up their meanings in the dictionary. Single out the opposite semantic features.

  1. Quick to feel, slow to learn. That’s me.

  2. I’m telling you the truth. Why should I tell you a lie?

  3. Whether he was innocent or guilty is no matter.

  4. They sent an emissary to the Duke’s court that arrived one evening and left next day.

  5. He was a tall stooping man of about fifty, with a thin lined face and a thick gray moustache.

  6. Young men who objects to hard work and who would like an easy life would be glad to undertake a job that would suit him.

  7. It was drawing so near – the agony of being plunged into a new world, of being stared at and criticized, of only learning the right things to do by doing the wrong one first.

  8. Well, let us suppose that this is the anniversary of my wedding day and my thoughts have been much occupied with the ups and downs, the fortunes and misfortunes of married life.

  9. With our territories adjoining each of us can make things easy for the other; each of us can make things difficult.

  10. “Is he fair or dark?” – “Neither.” “Is he tall or short?” – “Average, I should say.” “Are you trying to irritate me?” – “No, he’s just ordinary. There’s nothing in him to attract your attention. He’s neither plain, nor good-looking.”

Exercise 25 Give antonyms to the underlined words. Take into account the meanings the words have in the context.

  1. He was as pleasant, attentive and soberly gay as usual.

  2. He had fleshy face with broad short nose and a big mouth.

  3. If we wait till it’s dark we shall be too late.

  4. It was so pleasant to discover that he was very glad to see me.

  5. He seemed in great spirits and extremely happy.

  6. She is old and dowdy and dull.

  7. Behind the beautiful tragedian she could see in the glass a thin, miserable old creature.

  8. I am the kind of man who can make any suit of clothes look shabby and undistinguished.

  9. The stream was very shallow.

  10. It was a hot afternoon, the first period after lunch, a time which she hated.

  11. Black thoughts about Soames mingled with the faintest hopes.

  12. My traveller’s cheques were in an inner pocket.

  13. He’s been very sweet to his father.

  14. Things are going badly in this country.

  15. I don’t think he is in a good position to be impartial.

Exercise 26 Read the following jokes. Explain what components of lexical meaning they are built on.

  1. “Where have you been for the last four years?”

“At college taking medicine.”

“And did you finally get well?”

  1. “Doctor, what should a woman take when she is run down?”

“The license number, madam, the license number.”

  1. Proctor (exceedingly angry): So you confess that this unfortunate Freshman was carried to this frog pond and drenched. Now what part did you take in this disgraceful affair?

Sophomore (meekly): The right leg, sir.

  1. “I wonder if I can see your mother, little boy. Is she engaged?

“Engaged! She is married.”

  1. Booking Clerk (at a small village station): You’ll have to change twice before you get to York.

Villager (unused to travelling): Goodness me! And I’ve only brought the clothes I’m wearing.

  1. Professor: You missed my classes yesterday, didn’t you?

Student: Not in the least, sir, not in the least.

  1. “Papa, what kind of a robber is a page?”

“A what?”

“It says here that two pages held up the bride’s train.”

  1. Peggy: I want to help you, Dad. I shall get the dress-maker to teach me to cut out gowns.

Dad: I don’t want you to go that far, Peg, but you might cut out cigarettes, and taxi bills.

  1. There are cynics who claim that movies would be better if they shot fewer films and more actors.

  1. “Is your wound sore, Mr. Pup?

“Wound? What wound?”

“Why, sister said she cut you at the dinner last night.”

Exercise 27 Read the following extracts and say what lexicological phenomena make them funny.

  1. Father was explaining to his little son the fundamentals of astronomy.

“That’s a comet.”

“A what?”

“A comet. You know what a comet is?”


“Don’t you know what they call a star with a tail?”

“Sure – Mickey Mouse.”

  1. “Pa, what branches did you take when you went to school?”

“I never went to high school, son, but when I attended the little log school-house they used mostly hickory and beech and willow.”

  1. What has eyes yet never sees? (Potato)

  1. A man (in a telephone booth): I want a box for two.

Voice (at the other end): Sorry, but we don’t have boxes for two.

A man: But aren’t you the box office of the theater?

Voice: No, we are the undertakers.

  1. Smokey has followed a dictum all his life: If you want a woman to stick beside you, pick an ugly one. Ugly ones stay to slice meat and stir the gravy.

  1. An observing man claims to have discovered the colour of the wind. He says he went out and found it blew.

  1. Child: Mummy, what makes the Tower of Pisa lean?

Fat mother: I have no idea, dear, or I’d take some myself.

  1. Advertisement: Lion tamer wants tamer lion.

  1. Father: Didn’t I tell you not to pick any flowers without leave?

Child: Yes, daddy, but all these roses had leaves.

  1. The difference between the cat and the comma is that a cat has its claws at the end of its paws, and a comma has its pause at the end of a clause.


  1. Антрушина, Г. Б. Лексикология английского языка / Г. Б. Антрушина, О. В. Афанасьева, Н. Н. Морозова. – Изд. 4-е, стер. – М : Дрофа, 2004. – 287 с.

  2. Беляевская, Е. Г. Текст лекций по семантике английского языка /

Е. Г. Беляевская. – М : Просвещение, 1985. – 126 с.

  1. Дубенец, Е. М. Современный английский язык. Лексикология /

Е. М. Дубенец. – М : Глосса-пресс, 2004. – 192 с.

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