Saturday 1 October 2011

Vocabulary: A Helpless Man Sponge Naitard (Updated 2013-10-23)

A great day with my beloved students-cum-friends, and lots of questions and vocabulary inquiries, led me into a total brain-dead situation.

When my mind was finally cleared and my brain was functioning again, the answers start flooding back to my mind.

There were so many questions, one of them was how to describe "a romantic relationship between a student and a teacher", almost like an everyday news these days in Hong Kong. My answer was a "Student-teacher relationship", but they didn't believe me. Well, here's my proof if you are not convinced.

Student-teacher relationships: Don't stand so close to me @ The Independent

It is kind of like, Boy-Girl Relationship to mean that a boy and a girl are in relationship, no tricks really. Then again, "student-teacher relationship" can also refer to a normal one, so... can't really tell from the word itself.

Another one was how do we describe "a man who relies or survives on the money or any cash-equivalent materials of a woman", and the answer was discovered by the person who asked the question himself, Angus Cheng, as he found the verb phrase"sponge off". However, "sponge off" doesn't really talk about a person but talks about the action of sucking money or other forms of materials from another, and it definitely doesn't specifically describe "a man" as it can be "a woman" too! So the best answer should be a "male sponge" or a "man sponge", since this word has never been used on the internet, dictionaries, or the British National Corpus and the Corpus of Contemporary American English till now, I will share the credit with Angus for creating this word!!! So guys, use it more!!!!!
A sponge
Image from
Oh, and by the way, since there is "male sponge" and "man sponge", there should be "female sponge" and "woman sponge" as well, sounds logical to say so(?), but I think there is already a word for that, which is gold digger. So unless you really love the word "female / woman sponge", gold digger is still the word to use.

Image from blogspot

Then if "someone feels that he has no control of the situation", normally we just say "there's nothing you can do about it", but if we really want a word to describe this, it can be real tricky! First of all, for having no control of a situation we can say "uncontrollable", "his arms are tired (up)", "c'est la vie", "that's life", or you can be creative to say "a man tied on an iceberg", "you got owned!", the feeling should be somewhat discontented, dissatisfied, obliged, unwilling, and according to Wikipedia, helpless fits best to the meaning of "Wu Nai" in Mandarin Chinese as it is actually from the Chinese idiom "Wu ke nai he".

Lastly, my student Peggy Leung used her quick wit and created a new word from "naive" and "retard" to describe someone as a naive retard, and the word? You can guess, "naitard"! This has got to be the word that sounds better than my "typhooliday". And of course, Peggy takes all the credit for that word!

When you are have reached a good level of English, you can start playing with the words, and that is exactly why our blog is called an English Playground.

"Student-teacher relationship" -- a relationship between a student and a teacher
sponge sb off -- (vb) phrasal verb -- to rely on others for things one wants or needs, especially food, shelter, etc.
male sponge /  man sponge -- (n)[C] a word invented by Locky and Angus which describes "a man who relies or survives on the money or any cash-equivalent materials of a woman".
"female sponge" / "woman sponge" -- (n)[C] a word invented by Locky and Angus which describes "a woman who relies or lives on the money or any cash-equivalent materials of a man".
gold digger -- (n)[C] a woman / girl who goes out with a man for their money.
his arms are tired (up)
c'est la vie --  exclamation used to say that situations of that type happen in life, and you cannot do anything about them, literally means "Such is life" (This is life, That's life or life is like this)
a man tied on an iceberg 
own -- (vb)[T] -- To be made a fool of; To make a fool of; To confound or prove wrong; embarrasing someone: Being embarrased.
discontented -- (adj) a feeling of wanting better treatment or an improved situation
dissatisfied -- (adj) not pleased with something; feeling that something is not as good as it should be
obliged -- (adj) be/feel etc. obliged

[to infinitive] to be or feel, etc. forced to do something or that you must do something
unwilling -- (adj) not willing
helpless -- (adj) unable to do anything to help yourself or anyone else
wit -- (n) [S or U] the ability to use words in a clever and humorous way
naive -- (adj) too willing to believe that someone is telling the truth, that people's intentions in general are good, or that life is simple and fair. People are often naive because they are young and/or have not had much experience of life
retard -- (n)  [C] offensive a stupid or mentally slow person
naitard -- (n) [C] OFFENSIVE a word invented by Peggy Leung to describe someone who is a naive retard.
typhooliday / typhoo-liday -- (n)[C] A word created by Locky, meaning a holiday brought about by the issue of high intensity Typhoon signals


Student-teacher relationships: Don't stand so close to me @ The Independent'est_la_vie

British National Corpus

Corpus of Contemporary American English

Culture: "Typhoo-lidays", Britons and Weather @ Locky's English Playground

Gold Digger Prank! @ YouTube