This is the past participle of the word bereave and means lacking or deprived of something.  It may seem a bit of an odd word but it does crop up quite frequently in speech and writing as it does sum up a situation rather well.


Her husband’s early death left Letty bereft of not only a partner but a future as she had dedicated everything to Marcus and his career.


The room was bereft of all comforts, all she could see was a single bed with a thin mattress and a cold metal chair. This was to be her home for the foreseeable future.




Bob is such a sponger. Sleeping at his brother’s, eating at his Mum’s and always borrowing from friends. Doesn’t he ever pay for anything?

To sponge off others is to get things free from people when you would be expected to pay for yourself or at least share costs.

It is a really graphic metaphor as the sponge absorbs water in that complete way mopping up all the moisture around it.


One of the drawbacks of being rich and famous is that there are always people trying to sponge off you.  They think you are a gold mine.


This term from the theatre world describes someone speaking with an expressionless face. It is often used to describe a type of humour, in which the joke is delivered in a flat impassive way, which contrasts with the words or humour.


Photo source: Thomas Ruff who has produced many artistic photos imitating the passport photo

Shelley was brilliant, the way she led you to believe she was the wife of a sheikh, all with that deadpan expression of hers.

He proposed to her in such a deadpan voice that she thought he was talking about an upcoming business meeting, not their dream life together.


Pan is a slang word for face, hence the combination with dead to describe this look which gives nothing away.  It is one of the forms of humour that people find most difficult to pick, understandably.



Another four letter word!

This week has been a long slog workwise!


As you can see it means something hard and difficult to get through.  Usually referred to work but can also describe walking in difficult conditions.


It was quite a slog getting to the point in driving rain and a headwind.

A third meaning relates to hitting and I have seen it used a lot with sports. It implies a bit heavy powerful strike of the ball.

The batsman slogged the ball out of the ground.

Hence slogger.


Jones is better known as a slogger getting a high score in quick time than as a patient batsman with finesse.

Some of you might ask about slug. Yes. It can mean hit as well along with multiple other meanings best left for another day.



There’s no beating a good four-letter word. And rife is just one of those. Not one of the naughty ones, but definitely strong and assertive in a good Saxon one syllable style. Rife, rife, rife!  It just reeks power, doesn’t it?

The meaning is full of, abundant, widespread or any synonym of these words. But, it is usually used negatively as in the following examples:


Corruption is rife in most third world governments making good governance a real challenge.


The bay was rife with mosquitoes which took the fun out of the picnic.

Gossip ran rife that the King was going to abdicate following the scandal with the TV presenter.

 Did you like that new beach resort? Well, not really.  It’s rife with the nouveau riche dripping designer labels and hanging on the arms of their mafia boyfriends.