A warm welcome back to engVid. Today I’m presenting a series of vocab and phrases to help you understand what is happening in the news. It’s important to know what’s going on in the world, and if you can read a newspaper in English then you will develop an enormous sense of satisfaction because that will show that your level of English is right up there. Okay, let’s start with “unethical”. So, we can see a shorter word within the longer word: “ethic”. Now, a person’s ethics are the ideas that they live by. So we say: “A code of ethics”. For example, to say please and thank you. If you want to know more about this, then perhaps watch my lesson on social etiquette. Okay? It’s to do with the kind of ideas and beliefs a person has. If something is unethical, then basically it means it’s wrong, it’s bad.
Evil’s quite a strong word, but it’s along those lines. “Illicit” is something banned, something not allowed. So if a politician took some illicit substances, then that would show that they had been taking some drugs that are not legal in the country they are in. Okay? “Illegal”, “illicit”, a synonym would be: “illegal”, “banned”. “Allegation”, so we have a noun here. An allegation-I’ll just write in that that’s the noun-is something that someone said about something else. For example, an allegation that Boris Johnson has had an affair. Someone is saying that Boris Johnson has had an affair. It doesn’t mean that they have had an affair, it just means that someone is saying they have had an affair. “An affair” is when you cheat on someone. Okay? “Alleged”, okay? To allege, you are saying the rumour, you are saying what you think happened. “Alleged”, so that is the past tense version of the verb. “To allege” is the present tense. But it’s most often seen in the past tense. “Journalists alleged that”… “Allegedly”, okay? So here’s the adverb.
“Allegedly Boris Johnson has done this.” It’s not saying definitely. It’s saying it might have happened. Okay, “a disclosure”. This is making a secret public. Okay? So, Boris Johnson tells a friend that he has been putting lots of money in a bank account in Switzerland or in an offshore bank account. The friend then is quite nasty to Boris, because he makes the secret public. He discloses some information. Okay? “Disclosure”, the noun; the verb, “to disclose”. And if we look a little bit more carefully there, your prefix “dis” and the main part of the word “close”, so something is close and now it is open.
So we had a secret and now we don’t have a secret. “Libel”. “Libel” is a published fake statement that damages someone’s reputation. Okay? So, who says “fake” a lot? Donald Trump. “Fake news! That’s fake news. Don’t listen to him, that’s fake news.” Okay? So, “fake” means made up. So, libel, you can accuse someone of libel if they write something about you that is not true. “To be embroiled in a scandal”. So, “a scandal” is something regarded, something thought of as wrong which causes a public outrage. “Outrage” is when we are angry. So the politician… Let’s just explain this word, sorry. “Embroiled” means caught up in. I’ll write that there. “To be embroiled in a scandal”, you’re surrounded by something that is making the public very angry. And I’ve got quite a few examples of those just to come in a moment. A “P.R. disaster”. So, the P stands for “public”, the R stands for “relations”. If you work in P… If you work in PR, then you are promoting people all the time and you are saying: “This person is fantastic dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah”. But a P.R. disaster is when it goes into the newspapers some bad press.
“Bad press” is something written that makes that politician look bad. Not necessarily politician, can apply to someone else. Okay, “an abuse of power”, “abuses of power”. So, our politicians have… We have voted for them to make decisions to help run the country. If they abuse, that means if they do something bad with that power, then they are using power for the wrong reason. Let’s think of an example. They… It would have been an abuse of power if they were using their position to make money on the side. So, if they were taking deals from businesses against the public good, that would be an abuse of power. This is about relationships: “to two-time”.
Okay? So, generally in our society it’s a monogamous one, that means you’re meant to kind of be with one person. “Mono” meaning one. But if you’re two-timing, then the politician or whoever it is, is seeing two at the same time and maybe one is very upset about that. So if a politician two-timed, that would be a P.R. disaster. Not in France where the press seem to sort of celebrate that kind of naughtiness. In Britain it wouldn’t go down very well. “Clandestine affair”. So, a “clandestine affair”, “clandestine” means secret. “An affair” is cheating.
Okay? What are other things that would result in a P.R. disaster, that would be bad press for the politician? Expenses fraud. So, “expenses”, your expense… Prefix “ex” meaning out. You can… “Pence” is kind of money, so what you’re spending out. Now, politicians are allowed to claim on expenses. What that means is if they spend money doing their job they can get some of that money back. But if they… What fraud is, deception for financial gain. Deception for financial gain, so what they’re doing is they are being… They are cheating. They’re saying: “I spent this to do my job”, but actually they didn’t need to spend that and they are fiddling the books. We talk about “the books” is like a record of money, if they are fiddling, they are making a mess of, they are…
They’re playing a game to get more money. “An offshore hedge fund”. So, “offshore” means, you know, we’ve got the edge of Britain. Any one of you who watched my video on food of Britain knows that I’m not great at drawing maps of the UK. So, “offshore”, here’s the shore, it means the coast. If it’s off the shore then it’s somewhere else. A hedge fund, now, I’m no economist, but “a hedge fund” is like some people working for you to make more money. An offshore hedge fund is not strictly legal because it avoids tax being paid in this country. So, that’s not going to go down very well with our people, so that’s P.R. disaster. “Cash for honours”, now, at the end of David Cameron’s reign as Prime Minster of the United Kingdom there was quite a lot of controversy… Running out of space on my board. “Controversy”, when someone thinks it’s bad. So David Cameron’s at the end of his… His time as Prime Minister and he starts giving knighthoods: “Hello, you are now Sir So-and-so, you are now Lord So-and-so, you are now…” Okay? And he gives these titles because those people have given his party money.
So that was called the “cash for honours scandal”. Okay? It’s not very fair that he’s just giving these titles because they have gave the Conservative Party money. Now, from across the pond, over in America we had the “Watergate scandal” which was to do with President Nixon and there was an attempted theft of his party headquarters that then unwrapped this whole saga, which you can read about in your own time. But it was called the “Watergate”. Now, if anything goes slightly badly wrong, if anything’s controversial… Controversial, then we can add this suffix to the end, we call it “something-gate”.
Something else that happened to David Cameron was “pig-gate”. Now, someone wrote a biography about David Cameron, alleging that he had performed something strange with a pig, therefore we call that pig-gate, because it was bad press for David Cameron. Okay. “Corruption”, this is quite similar to the idea of an abuse of power. If you are corrupt then maybe you’re taking money to do something for someone else. So, “corruption” is your noun, “corrupt” is your adjective. “Tyranny”. Now, a “tyrant” is someone who has lots and lots of power, and they don’t really listen to anyone else, so we’re thinking sort of Robert Mugabe, Idi Amin, they’re people who rule and kill and do anything they want to maintain power. Okay? So that’s your… A reign of tyranny, and a tyrant is the person.
So, tyranny is kind of like the action, that’s the person. “Nepotism”. Now, this is where you keep it in the family. So there’s plenty of examples of this all across the world, from the film business, to politics, to business. This is just where you have a family here, like: “Right, now I pass it on to my son, now my son can do this, now the daughter can do this, now the grandson can do this.” Up to you where you see those examples. Now, if something goes really badly wrong in politics then that politician will have to stop working and go out of the limelight. I’ll write that down. Why is it called “limelight”? I’ve no idea, but lots of attention is on them, and then suddenly they have to go and live out in the countryside and put slippers on and smoke a pipe.
Now, in America, the President could be “impeached”, there could be an “impeachment” where the president stops being the president, but hopefully it’s… The politician works out that they should stop and they decide before the people decide. So, if they decide then they can “resign”, there can be a “resignation”. So let’s just break up this word. Okay? So you can see the word, so “signature”, they’re taking back their signature. They did say: “Yes, hello, I was President”, and now that has been taken away. Do hope you have learnt some new words from today’s lesson. I think this would be an excellent lesson for you to have a go on the quiz to try and ground these words into your everyday usage. And why not start picking up an English newspaper, reading them? And some fantastic ones out there, not just UK newspapers; America, The Times of India, plenty of them around. And you can read them online as well. Thank you for watching today’s video, and there are other videos like this on this YouTube channel, so do check them out.
Thank you. See you next time..
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