Impress Your Listeners With Vivid Vocabulary Ep 584

A hungry lady taking food from a fridge. Whether you're reading an article or telling a story, we'll help you make your words more interesting.

📝 Author: Hilary

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💬 2504 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 13 min

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Fascinate your listeners! Make the way you speak more interesting today!

Let’s work on making the English language you use more interesting today! It is fine to use simple words and phrases when learning a new language. But as you progress in your language use, it’s more interesting, for you and any listener, to use more expressive words when speaking. The lesson today has lots of examples of how you can level up your language, and a quiz to help you test your understanding.

Variety in your vocabulary is useful in two ways. First, when speaking with native speakers, they will appreciate your creativity! Secondly, being able to use a variety of vocabulary helps you better understand native speakers as well.

What do I mean by using interesting vocabulary? Well, for example, if you’re talking about a fast car, you might say that it drives quickly, or that it goes fast.

Not only is your story worth telling, but it can be told in words so painstakingly eloquent that it becomes a song.
⭐ Gloria Naylor

Of course, there are many other ways to describe speed. For example, one could say that the car moves "at a rapid pace" or "flies down the highway".

Most Unusual Words:

  • Hungry: Feeling that you want to eat.
  • Stomach: The part of your body where food goes after you swallow it.
  • Starve: To suffer or die because you do not have enough to eat.
  • Famished: Very hungry.
  • Famine: A situation where there's not enough food for a large number of people, causing illness and death.
  • Horse: A large animal that people ride on or use to carry things or pull vehicles.
  • Peckish: A little hungry.
  • Ravenous: Very, very hungry.
  • Thirsty: Feeling that you want to drink something.
  • Parched: Very thirsty, often because of being in hot weather or after doing exercise.
  • Dehydrated: When your body loses more water than you take in, often making you feel very thirsty.
  • Skull: The bone structure that forms the head and surrounds and protects the brain.
  • Guzzler: A person or thing that drinks or uses large amounts of something.
  • Expansive: Large in amount or size, or covering a large area.

Most common 2 word phrases:

English Language3
To Exaggerate3
Other Expressions3
Give Us2
Might Say2
To Use2
More Interesting2
That Means2

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Transcript: Impress Your Listeners With Vivid Vocabulary

Hi there. Today let's talk about 'not using boring words in English'! When you first start learning English, it's absolutely fine to use the simplest words for things. It's hot, it's cold, it's fast, it's slow. These words are OK, but as you develop and you move on in your English language learning, it's much more interesting to use a variety of words when you speak.

And it's useful when you want to understand native English speakers too. So there are certain common adjectives that we use when we're describing how we feel. Let's work today on two of those. What about when you say, 'I'm hungry' and 'I'm thirsty'? Those words are great words, but what are the other expressions that we use for this in English? Let's work on expanding your vocabulary today.

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

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Two simple expressions

So two simple expressions in English about how you feel. 'I'm hungry' and 'I'm thirsty'.

So 'I'm hungry' in simple English, H U N G R Y. That means 'I need something to eat. It's perhaps a while since I've eaten and I'm hungry. My stomach is empty'. Your stomach? S T O M A C H. That's where your food goes. So 'I'm hungry' and 'I'm thirsty'. T H I R S T Y. 'Thirsty' is when you need a drink.

How can you say 'I'm hungry' in a more interesting way?

So what other expressions can we use instead of these to make it more interesting? And what other expressions do we need to recognize that other people might say?

Well, like many other English expressions, certainly about how we feel, we like to exaggerate. To exaggerate', E X A G G E R A T E. That means 'to say it in a way that's more extreme than it really is'. That's ' to exaggerate'. And the noun to go with that is 'exaggeration', E X A G G E R A T I O N. So we do a lot of that in English.

I'm starving

So when we're hungry, we might say, I'm starving, or I'm starved. The verb 'to starve', S T A R V E literally means 'to die of hunger'. 'I'm dying of hunger', we're saying, but that's not true most of the time when we're using it. Actually we say, 'Oh, I'm starving' when perhaps our lunch is a little late. So 'starvation' is what happens to people when they don't have enough food. That's extreme, but we use it for much less extreme situations because we're exaggerating.

I'm famished

Another expression that's similar that we might use for 'I'm hungry' - 'I'm famished'. F A M I S H E D. There isn't a verb to go with that, as far as I'm aware, it's just an adjective. But there is a related word, the noun 'famine', F A M I N E. 'Famine' is extreme and we do tend to reserve that word for the more extreme situation. Sometimes there's a famine in a particular part of the world and charities mobilize to try and feed people and help them, if there's a famine.

But again, if it's getting towards lunchtime and your lunch might be a little late and you are hungry, you might say, 'I'm famished'.

Listening Lessons

I could eat a horse

If someone's really hungry and they're conscious that their appetite is large, they feel as though they want to eat a lot, they might say, 'I could eat a horse'. A 'horse', H O R S E is an animal, a large animal, and it's the animal that you might sit on and ride. Our late Queen Elizabeth was very fond of horses and there are lots of sports like show jumping or polo that use horses.

So again, we're exaggerating. To eat a horse would be impossible. A horse is much bigger than we are, so it would be many meals if we ate a horse. But actually we also don't eat horses in the UK. It would be frowned upon. It would be seen to be a little bit like if you ate your dog or your cat. We just wouldn't do that. But we use that expression, 'I could eat a horse' just to show how very hungry we are. More exaggeration.

I'm peckish

Some more ways of saying 'I'm hungry'? Another one would be 'I'm peckish', P E C K I S H. Now, 'peckish' is more moderate. You're not exaggerating here. 'Peckish' is what you might be in the evening when you're watching a film. You've had a perfectly good dinner, but you feel as if you could 'just manage a nibble or two'. 'Oh, yes. I'm a bit peckish'. So 'peckish' is often when you don't really need to eat or you're not really that hungry, but you could just eat a little something.

I'm ravenous

Another way to express hunger as an an extreme? 'I'm ravenous', R A V E N O U S. When my son, who's 14, comes home from school, he will be 'ravenous' because it's probably an hour and a half or two hours since he ate his lunch and he's in dire need of some toast or some cereal or a biscuit. So again, he wouldn't state that in moderate ways. He would say, 'I'm ravenous, I'm starving'. We English speakers love an exaggeration.

How can you say 'I'm thirsty' in a more interesting way?

So what about if you're thirsty? T H I R S T Y. So that means you need a drink. What are the other ways of saying this? ' Thirsty' might happen if you've exercised or if the weather's hot.

I'm parched

We might say 'I'm parched'. P A R C H E D. This adjective, 'parched' is one that you might use also of land, which hasn't had much rainfall. Back in the summer this year, there were many parts of the UK, which you could say were 'parched', because we didn't have rain for three months. But 'I'm parched' means 'I'm thirsty. I need a drink'.

I'm dehydrated

And just the same as we might say, 'I'm dying of hunger', we might also say 'I'm dying of thirst'. Again, more exaggeration. Another word that we might use when we're thirsty?. A bit more technical, this one. We might say 'I'm dehydrated', D E H Y D R A T E D, 'dehydrated'. So anything with this word, 'hydra' or 'hydro' in front of it means 'water', something to do with water. From the Greek originally. So if you 'hydrate', there's a verb 'to hydrate', it means you have a drink of water. And if you lose that water, so you sweat it out, or you use it up, you become 'dehydrated' and you need to take on board water again. So you might hear people say, 'I need to hydrate'. So ' I'm dehydrated' is another way to say 'I'm thirsty'.

My mouth is bone dry

Another expression that we sometimes use - 'as dry as a bone'. A 'bone', B O N E. Well, your body is full of 'bones'. You have 'bones' in your legs and your arms. In fact, your skull is one big bone. Your head contains one big bone, which is called your skull, S K U L L.

So that's a bone. And when we say 'as dry as a bone', I think there we're referring to bones of animals or even people perhaps that have died. So a bone that's left out in the open, that's dried out, that's old. 'Dry as a bone'. So if we're thirsty, we might say, 'My mouth is as dry as a bone', or 'My mouth is bone dry' is another one. Bone dry.


A photograph of a car being filled with petrol. The more interesting your vocabulary the more interested your listeners will be.

©️ Adept English 2022

Other uses of 'thirsty'

We do use the word 'thirsty' of plants as well. If a plant needs a drink of water, say it's flopping down like this, we might say, 'Oh, it's thirsty'.

And in these days of worrying about how much petrol we use in our cars, then we might say that a car with a big engine is 'thirsty'. We might call it 'a gas guzzler', but a 'thirsty' engine means it uses a lot of fuel.

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We talk about 'thirst for knowledge' too. If you have a real 'thirst for knowledge', it means you've a lot of curiosity. You want to learn, you want to find out about the world. So we can use 'thirst' in a number of different ways.

A little quiz to help you remember?

So that's 'hungry' and 'thirsty'. What about a little quiz to help you remember all these different expressions?

I'll give you an expression and you just need to say whether you think it's 'hungry' or 'thirsty' for each one of these.

  1. Do you know I felt absolutely famished yesterday. Is that hungry or thirsty?
  2. I need to go to the café - my mouth is as dry as a bone.
  3. After all that exercise, I'm dehydrated.
  4. How long am I going to have to wait? I'm starving.
  5. The kids are always ravenous when you take them on a day trip.

Are we talking hungry or thirsty there?

  1. I'm feeling a little peckish. How about you?
  2. Have you got anything in your rucksack? I'm parched.
  3. I could eat a horse after that walk.

That's an easy one, isn't it?

Okay, so practise these words and expressions until you can remember them, until you would be able to recognize them in an English conversation. And even better use them yourself so you can get away from the simple expressions 'I'm hungry' and 'I'm thirsty' and you can be more inventive in your use of English, more expansive in your use of English vocabulary.


Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at



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