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Oxford Street Thursday, January 3rd, 2008 Vocabulary from the programme

mind-blowing
informal word for amazing or exciting

The ocean is so huge, it's really mind-blowing when you think about it.

to pedestrianise (a road)
to close a road to traffic, so that people can walk up the middle of the street safely

to be packed
informal expression meaning very crowded, e.g.

I went to the sales on Friday but it was absolutely packed!

mayhem
very disordered and confused

I went to Connie's house on Tuesday and she was getting ready to move abroad - there were removals men there, suitcases everywhere... it was just mayhem.

chaos
like mayhem, very disordered and confused

'You wouldn't wish this on your worst enemy'
it's so bad that you wouldn't ask even someone you really hate to do it

Whatever you do, don't date my brother. I wouldn't wish him on my worst enemy.

mashed
squashed like a cooked vegetable (e.g. mashed potato)

a manicurist
someone who paints and polishes fingernails as a job


Word Facts

Download the 'shopping' Word Facts mp3 (862 KB)

Download the 'shopping' Word Facts transcript (17 KB)

There are several words that describe places where you buy things. The most common word in the U.K. is shop, a shop. You are also likely to hear this word in the plural – for example, instead of saying I’m going shopping, you can say

I’m just off to the shops.

In the USA, the word store is more common than shop. But in the UK, a store is a large shop that sells many different types of thing, for example, a department store.

A chain store has many different shops with the same name. These different shops are outlets, where you can buy the same products.

I remember when we used to have lots of small independent shops here…now it’s just loads of chain stores…

When you’re listening to business news, you might hear the word retailer. A retailer is any person or business that sells things, whether that’s in a small shop or a great chain of outlets.

High Street retailers have reported a 20% drop on last year’s sales.

In the UK, shops are traditionally on the main road, which is often called the High Street. The High Street is therefore used to describe business done in shops, as opposed to online or by mail order:

The High Street has lost some trade to online retailers in recent years.

So, that’s shop, store, chain store, outlet, retailer and the High Street.

A sale is an occasion when a shop reduces its prices. We say that the shop holds a sale.

When lots of shops are holding sales at the same time, we call this the sales.

What are you doing tomorrow? I was thinking we could go to the sales…

Customers buy things at the sales or in the sales. Because prices are reduced, retailers sometimes call sale products reductions, reductions.

There are thousands of reductions inside!

Another way of saying that retailers reduce prices is to say that they cut them, they cut prices. You can also use this phrase as an adjective:

There are 100s of cut-price sofas inside!

If you see something in the sales that you think is very good value, you might call it a bargain, a bargain.

Look at all these bargains I picked up at the sales!

So that’s to hold a sale, the sales, at the sales, in the sales, reductions, to cut prices, cut-price as an adjective and a bargain.