вторник, 18 октября 2011 г.

Word-studies: Time to take the plunge, not the plunger!

The word "plunge" is used in different ways in English. What you see in the picture to the right is called "the fencing plunge." This illustrates the idea behind the word "plunge" - to cast or thrust something suddenly and forcibly into something. One can plunge a dagger (or a knife) into one's heart. 

In an indirect way, "plunge" can be a descriptive verb that indicates a sudden move into a different state or condition, for instance: This country was plunged into war. They pulled the switch off, and the house was plunged into darkness.

A person can plunge on the stock market, which is usually associated with a reckless bet or speculation. One can plunge into debt, which generally means borrowing more than one can afford. 

As a noun, the word "plunge" is used to describe an abrupt dive into the water or a sudden leap. Knowing this word comes very handy when you have no idea what a "plunger" is (see the illustration to the left), and in a number situations this tool can become quite useful!


When the idea of "plunging" as "diving" is fixed in our minds we can perhaps understand what a dress with a "plunging neckline" looks like. See the illustration to the right (both of them can be described as wedding dresses with "plunging necklines"). 

One of the most common expressions with the word "plunge" is "to take the plunge." If you "take the plunge and do something" you decide and perhaps even commit to something even though there is some risk involved in it. 

Sometimes people use two meanings of the same word "plunge" to create a very unique play on words. Daily mail newspaper produced a headline with such an ambiguous pun. It read, "Jennifer Aniston takes the plunge in a daring, low-cut silver mini..." This means, that Jennifer Aniston is most likely wearing a very revealing dress, with a plunging neckline. The reason why she "took the plunge" and wore it is perhaps to show that this was not very common for her to do that. Read more here.

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