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- The Romans named January after Janus, the God of beginnings and transitions. Janus had two faces, one looking at the past and what’s coming to an end, and one looking forward, towards new beginnings and what’s coming.
- January’s birthstone is Garnet, which represents balance!
- The flower connected with this month, is the carnation, which symbolizes love, fascination and distinction.
- January is also the National Donate Blood month, so if you are a donor, now is the month to give the gift of life to someone! Such an amazing start of the year, don’t you think?
- It is considered the coldest month in the Northern hemisphere, but not the Southern.
- January days are the coldest in the UK, whereas the coldest nights are during February.
- The only Shakespeare plays that mention January are “Much Ado about nothing” and “Winter’s Tale”.
- It’s the National Soup month in the USA
litter (noun, verb)
Litter is a mass noun that describes paper, cans, or general garbage that people throw in the street or any other public space. If we say “a litter of something,” we mean that a space is covered with untidy objects. As a verb, litter means ‘to throw garbage in the street’ and also ‘to leave objects lying around in a disorganized way.’
- After the concert, the whole park was full of litter.
- The kitchen table was a litter of dirty plates and mugs.
- You can get a fine for littering in Hong Kong.
- Jules never puts anything away; she litters her room with clothes and shoes and leaves books lying around the living room.
Words often used with litter
cat litter: absorbent material that cats use to urinate and defecate at home
litter box (US), litter tray (UK): the container where you put cat litter
litter bin (UK): a small trash can in public spaces
Commonly confused with
Litter refers to objects that have not been disposed of properly. Items that have been put in the appropriate place for collection would be called “rubbish” in the UK or “trash” or “garbage” in the US.
Litter dates back to the second half of the 13th century, as the Middle English word litere (bed). That word comes from the Medieval Latin word lectāria and the Anglo-French and Old French word litiere.
A litter is also a group of animals born at the same time.
Nevertheless means “however” or “even so.”
- It may rain on Saturday. Nevertheless, we’ll go hiking.
- Danny’s salary is low, but nevertheless, he loves his job and has no intention of quitting.
- One of the main actors in the play is sick; nevertheless, the performance will begin at 7pm as usual.
Did you know?
Nevertheless is a formal word that is mainly used in writing. It is made up of three words, and used to be written with spaces between them (“never the less”). A similar word that means the same thing (and is also made up of three words) is “nonetheless.” Even though they have the same meaning, some people feel that “nonetheless” is a bit more formal than nevertheless. They also tend to use “nonetheless” at the end of sentences. Nevertheless is used almost twice as often as “nonetheless,” but there’s an even more formal synonym, “notwithstanding.” Almost nobody uses that one! Nevertheless, English speakers are familiar with it.
Nevertheless is a very old word that dates from the 1200s.
waste (noun, verb)
The word waste has several meanings. It can mean “to spend or use something without taking advantage of its full potential,” or “to spend or use something recklessly.” It may also refer to unwanted material or leftovers of certain processes, or even to garbage.
- Trying to teach my cat to use the toilet turned out to be a waste of time.
- This job is beneath you. You’re wasting your talent!
- Industrial waste is sometimes harmful to the environment and needs to be disposed of appropriately.
- Recycling is an efficient way to reduce household waste.
Words often used with waste
“A waste of money” is an expression that means that something is not worth what you spent.
- Example: “Lots of people join the gym in January and pay for a year’s membership, but they only go a few times, so it’s a waste of money.”
“Go to waste” means that something is being wasted.
- Example: “French grocery stores have to give leftover food to charities so that it doesn’t go to waste.”
“Lay waste to something” is an expression meaning “destroy completely.”
- Example: “The invading army laid waste to the city; it was in ruins when they left.”
“Waste away” means to become weaker and thinner, often because someone is sick.
- Example: “It is difficult to work in a hospital and watch patients waste away despite our best efforts to cure them.”
Did you know?
While most countries are looking for ways to get rid of it, Norway is actually paying to import waste. And if you think this is a waste of money, you may want to reconsider. They are actually making even more money by burning it to produce energy.
wasteful (adjective), wasteable (adjective), wasteless (adjective)
Originally from Old North French, waste first appeared in Middle English between 1150 and 1200.
seldom (adverb, adjective)
When used as an adverb, seldom means that something happens rarely, or not often. Less commonly, it can also be used as an adjective, and in this case it refers to something that occurs only on very rare occasions. The adjective use is mainly in the US.
- I seldom visit my hometown; I think it has been 5 years since I was last there.
- I met the love of my life during one of my seldom visits to the city.
Words often used with seldom
“Seldom, if ever” is a phrase used to mean “even less frequently than seldom.” If you use this expression, you mean that something happens very infrequently, or not at all.
For many English speakers, seldom can be too formal to use in everyday speech. It is more common to say “I don’t visit my hometown very often” than “I seldom visit my hometown.” To sound more like a native speaker, try to use this word only in more formal or literary contexts. In more informal contexts, you can say “not very often” or “not a lot” (eg, “I don’t visit my hometown a lot”).
Did you know?
You may have heard the phrase “once in a blue moon“. Technically this means about every 2.5 years, since a blue moon (meaning the second full moon in one calendar month) occurs at such intervals. But the phrase is most often used figuratively, as a synonym of seldom.
Seldom derives from the old English word “seldum,” a variant of “seldan.” It is a cognate with the German word “selten,” and the Gothic “silda-.”
meanwhile (adverb, noun)
Meanwhile as an adverb has two meanings: “during the time something else happens” and “at the same time.” As a noun, meanwhile means “the time something else happens.”
- Susan went shopping on Saturday; meanwhile, her husband got a tattoo!
- We’re moving to California next month, so meanwhile we’ll be busy packing.
- The teacher will be gone for twenty minutes. In the meanwhile, please work on your essays.
“Meanwhile, back at the ranch” is a well-known phrase in US English. In the past it was used by narrators of American cowboy movies as a transition between scenes. Now it is mostly used ironically.Example: “My wife is on a business trip in Hawaii. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the kids are driving me crazy!”
“In the meantime” is a synonym for meanwhile or “in the meanwhile.”
Meanwhile first appeared in Middle English 1300–1350.
Neat is an adjective that has several meanings. These include tidy and organized, and elegant in appearance. In the US it can also mean wonderful, great, or cool. In reference to alcoholic drinks, it means without ice or water. Additionally, in US English, it is used as an interjection to express when you like something.
- The Jacksons’ house is always very neat even though they don’t hire a cleaning service.
- The model had a neat, elegant figure.
- Carter ordered a whiskey neat at the bar.
- Samantha started her own business? Neat!
- This website is neat! Thanks for showing it to me.
Did you know?
Neat and “clean” are similar but not the same. If a place is “neat,” it means that it is organized and not messy. So to have a neat bedroom, you should make your bed. But if you have not washed your sheets in a year, or if there is a week-old hamburger sitting on your desk, the room may be neat but it certainly isn’t clean.
Neat is originally from the Latin “nitidus,” meaning polished or handsome, and came into English from Middle French in 1300–1350.
A lot of things happened on this day in history. Here are just some! Enjoy!
The battle of Hastings took place on Senlac Hill, seven miles from Hastings, England. The battle lasted all day and King Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon king, was killed and his troops were defeated by the Norman Forces of William the Conqueror.
Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” film made its debut!
(Sources: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-battle-of-hastings, https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hastings, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history, http://www.britannica.com/biography/Victor-Hugo, http://www.boweryboyshistory.com/tag/theodore-roosevelt, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/skydiver-breaks-sound-barrier-with-24-mile-jump, http://7-themes.com/6914573-felix-baumgartner-space.html
The first day of spring 2012 is upon us! Yes, spring begins in 2012 on Tuesday, March 20th. The spring equinox will occur at approximately 1:14 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, March 20th.
Get out your gardening gloves, the first day of spring is here! (And followed closely afterward by Easter). Although it may seem like we were just shoveling the snow off the sidewalk or sliding down the hills on our sleds, spring has officially “sprung”. The spring equinox is the official start of spring. This date is used to calculate the halfway-point in the yearly solar chart. Notably, it is also when the length of the day and the night is equal everywhere on the planet – with twelve hours of darkness and twelve hours of light. This is when the sun crosses the celestial equator.
Curiously, many people claim that you can actually balance an egg on its end or a broom on its bristles during both the spring and fall equinoxes. Watch this video and find out…