off the cuff, Episode 16> a slap in the face

off the cuff: An English Learning Podcast, Episode 16: A slap in the face

This month on off the cuff: An English learning podcast, Episode 16: A slap in the face, Clare and Annie talk about the what happened between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars this year. The story is hot off the press and we still do not know what the repercussions will be for both actor and comedian, but stay tuned to learn some vocabulary and expressions.

Vocabulary, expressions and phrasal verbs Minute 0 – 2:12

To go through the roof

There are two meanings for go through the roof. In the podcast, Annie is using this expression to talk about the first one.

  • to rise to a high level
    • The electricity prices are going through the roof.
  • to get very angry.
    • If he doesn’t give me a good explanation for why he didn’t show up I’m going to go through the roof.


  • this is when workers refuse to work because of an argument about working conditions
    • When they decided to make 20 employees redundant, the workforce went on strike.


  • a rest, usually from a difficult decision.
    • After everything that has happened the last 2 years, we can all use a bit of respite.

It hit me like a punch in the face

  • To be shocked by something.
  • To have something greatly affect you.
    • The news of his death hit me like a punch in the face.

To have punch

  • to be interesting
    • That performance was lacking/didn’t have punch


  • to hit someone with your fist
    • In my gym class we often punch the air to work out shoulders muscles.

Spur of the moment

  • a spontaneous decision
    • I decided to pick up and go on a spur of the moment decision.


Vocabulary, expressions and phrasal verbs Minute 2:13 – 3:56

In the spotlight

  • to receive public attention
    • I would enjoy being actor, but I don’t think I could handle being in the spotlight.


  • a covering of artificial hair.
    • When your hair is long enough, you can have it cut and donated to make wigs for people who have Cancer.

A bad taste in one’s mouth

  • an unpleasant memory of an experience.
    • We had a terrible argument and it really left a bad taste in my mouth

To hear something on/through the grapevine

  • to hear something from someone who hear it from someone else
    • I heard it through the grapevine that they are getting divorced. Is it true?

Have form

  • to have a history together
    • How do you know Kelly? I didn’t know you had form.


  • a large expression of emotions, usually anger.
    • My daughter had a huge outburst when I told her that we were going home. 


  • the feeling of calm
    • My aunt really lost her composure at the funeral.

Vocabulary, expressions and phrasal verbs, Minute 3:56 – 5:17

Animal instinct

  • we use this expression when someone acts as an animal
    • Some people say that in a war situation, everyone relies on their animal instincts

Something keeps me awake at night

  • when something worries me so much that I can’t sleep.
    • Sometimes I worry so much about my kids that it keeps me up at night.  

Hold something inside

  • to not say what you are feeling.
    • If you hold things inside for a long time, you are more likely to have an outburst.

Good/bad optics

  • the public’s opinion, good or bad, of a situation after seeing it through the media
    • There were only good optics about the wedding in the newspapers and magazines.


  • speaking with disrespect
    • Many rappers use very derogatory language towards women in their lyrics.

Swear words

  • rude and offensive words
    • I was never allowed to use swear words when I was younger.

Vocabulary, expressions and phrasal verbs Minute 5:17


  • to do something after spending a lot of time planning and thinking about it.
    • He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for premeditated murder.

To be the butt of a joke

  • to be the person who is laughed at
    • I don’t think it’s right to use people as the butt of a joke.

A kneejerk reaction

  • a quick response that you didn’t have time to consider something
    • When the car came at us, my kneejerk reaction was to jump.

Everyone is like a boiling pot of water

  • meaning that everyone is like a pressure cooker about to explode.
  • when people are all dealing with so much that any little thing will lead to an outburst.
    • All my students are so stressed that they are like a pot of boiling water.

Talk things out

  • to talk about problems
    • I would love to talk things out with my dad but he is not capable of doing so.

Figure out

  • to solve or understand something.
    • I can’t seem to figure out why she decided to come when she wasn’t invited.

To get past something

  • to heal from something painful
  • I know he is struggling now, but with time he will get past this.

Michael Portillo

Now that you have listened to off the cuff: An English Learning Podcast, Episode 16: A slap in the face, listen to some of our previous episodes:
off the cuff, episode 15: Big changes for 2022
off the cuff, episode 14: Squid Game

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