More advanced vocabulary and expressions

Advanced expressions and vocabulary 
Intermediate to advanced level (B2-C2)

Here are 20 advanced expressions and items of vocabulary that have come up in my higher-level 1-1 and Skype lessons over the last couple of months. Do you know them?

[Don’t forget that English words can be quite flexible and often have a range of meanings, so take your time when checking definitions of vocabulary in a dictionary.]

Phrasal verbs

turn out
I was expecting a bit of rain but it turned out quite sunny.

churn out
These mobile phones aren’t great quality. I imagine they’re churned out in their millions.

Verbal and noun expressions

grapple with something
The police are trying to grapple with cyber crime but they don’t have enough qualified staff to cope.

the one before last
The week before last (two weeks ago) I was away on business.

wriggle out of something
The company used some expenses lawyers to try to wriggle out of their responsibilities.

cut one’s losses
University didn’t suit me so I decided to cut my losses and leave after the first year.

seek solace
After his wife died, he sought solace in his religion.

be out of character
It was totally out of character for him to be 10 minutes early.

fat chance
You think they’ll win? Fat chance (very little likelihood)!

time will tell
Time will tell if she is the right person for the job.

Single verbs

Plan B doesn’t seem to be working so let’s revert to our original idea.

She always liked to sprinkle some brown sugar on her porridge.

The politician’s comments backfired on her.

The soldiers withstood the attack for at least 10 hours.


salient point
They only had time to digest the most salient points in the document.

musty smell
The old Victorian house had a very musty smell.

He was usually pretty reticent so everyone was surprised when he stood up and made a speech.

His novel idea transformed how people communicated.


The only niggle I had in this excellent book was with her analysis of the civil war.

If you have any grievances, you should bring them to the attention of your manager.

All mini-lessons and content © Copyright 2012 – 2017