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21 Cards in this Set

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pin sb down
1 to make sb unable to move by holding them firmly: Two men pinned him down until the police arrived.
2 to find sb and make them answer a question or tell you sth you need to know: I need the up-to-date sales figures but I can never pin him down at the office.
1 to severely criticize sth such as a play or a film/movie: The television series was panned by critics and viewers alike.
2 if a television or video camera pans somewhere, or a person pans or pans a camera, the camera moves in a particular direction, to follow an object or to film a wide area: The camera panned back to the audience. He panned the camera along the row of faces.
3 ~ (for sth) to wash soil or small stones in a pan to find gold or other valuable minerals: panning for gold
coil (sth) round, around, etc. sth
~ (sth) up
to wind into a series of circles; to make sth do this: The snake coiled up, ready to strike. Mist coiled around the tops of the hills. to coil a rope into a loop Her hair was coiled on top of her head.
1 ~ sb (with sth) to kill sb by covering their face so that they cannot breathe: He smothered the baby with a pillow.
2 ~ sth/sb with / in sth to cover sth/sb thickly or with too much of sth: a rich dessert smothered in cream She smothered him with kisses.
3 to prevent sth from developing or being expressed
stifle: to smother a yawn / giggle / grin The voices of the opposition were effectively smothered.
4 to give sb too much love or protection so that they feel restricted: Her husband was very loving, but she felt smothered.
5 to make a fire stop burning by covering it with sth: He tried to smother the flames with a blanket
a damsel in distress
(humorous) a woman who needs help
1 to look at sth with your eyes partly shut in order to keep out bright light or to see better: to squint into / against the sun She was squinting through the keyhole. When he squinted his eyes, he could just make out a house in the distance.
2 (of an eye) to look in a different direction from the other eye: His left eye squints a little. A squinting eye can be corrected by surgery.
3 to have eyes that look in different directions: Does she squint?
1 (of a situation) not hopeful or encouraging: a bleak outlook / prospect The future looks bleak for the fishing industry. The medical prognosis was bleak.
2 (of the weather) cold and unpleasant: a bleak winter's day
3 (of a place) bare, empty or with no pleasant features: a bleak landscape / hillside
(of men) polite, kind and behaving with honour, especially towards women
if a plant withers or sth withers it, it dries up and dies: The grass had withered in the warm sun.
1 if you unravel threads that are twisted, woven or knitted, or if they unravel, they become separated into loose threads: I unravelled the string and wound it into a ball.
2 (of a system, plan, relationship, etc.) to start to fail or no longer stay together as a whole: When did communism begin to unravel in Eastern Europe?
3 to explain sth that is difficult to understand or is mysterious; to become clearer or easier to understand: The discovery will help scientists unravel the mystery of the Ice Age.
pin sb down (to sth / doing sth)
to make sb make a decision or say clearly what they think or what they intend to do: It's difficult to pin her down to fixing a date for a meeting.
coil (noun )
1 a series of circles formed by winding up a length of rope, wire, etc: a coil of wire
2 one circle of rope, wire, etc. in a series: Shake the rope and let the coils unwind. a snake's coils
3 a length of wire, wound into circles, that can carry electricity
tilt at windmills
to waste your energy attacking imaginary enemies
From Cervantes' Don Quixote, in which the hero thought that the windmills he saw were giants and tried to fight them.
pin sth down
to explain or understand sth exactly: The cause of the disease is difficult to pin down precisely.
1 to move, or make sth move, into a position with one side or end higher than the other: Suddenly the boat tilted to one side. The seat tilts forward, when you press this lever. His hat was tilted slightly at an angle. She tilted her head back and looked up at me with a smile.
2 to make sth/sb change slightly so that one particular opinion, person, etc. is preferred or more likely to succeed than another; to change in this way: The hot conditions may tilt the balance in favour of the Kenyan runners. Popular opinion has tilted in favour of the socialists.
pat (adj.)
(of an answer, a comment, etc.) too quick, easy or simple; not seeming natural or realistic
glib: The ending of the novel is a little too pat to be convincing. There are no pat answers to these questions.

pan out
(of events or a situation) to develop in a particular way: I'm happy with the way things have panned out.
1 extremely unpleasant or bad: a vile smell / taste The weather was really vile most of the time. He was in a vile mood.
2 wicked; completely unacceptable: the vile practice of taking hostages
to make sth, especially a feeling, less strong: to allay fears / concern / suspicion
to pull sth/sb hard, quickly and suddenly: He yanked her to her feet. I yanked the door open / yanked open the door. Liz yanked at my arm.
pin sth down
to explain or understand sth exactly: The cause of the disease is difficult to pin down precisely.