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Milking & watering
September 16, 2013
If you already know that some everyday common nouns,
such as milk, water, house, & eye, are also used as
verbs, then you're
good to go (all set #slang). However, I've
found that even advanced students are sometimes surprised
when they first
come across (encounter) some of these common
words used in a way that's unfamiliar to them. Somehow,
they've never seen this usage and are often amused when they
first find out.

Because of this, I've put together a list of ordinary common nouns that tend to
surprise and amuse English learners when they learn they're also used as verbs.
The list is actually long. In addition to the short one above, the list also includes
nail, school, elbow, and man, just to name a few more. Some are more commonly
known than others. I thought I would cover them here in pairs. First up, let's look
at "milk" and "water."
MILK as a verb means to get milk from an animal.
To do this, farmers sit next to a cow or a goat and
squeeze the animal's
teat when the udder is full.
However, these days, they use machines to do the
job. Milk as a verb can also mean to extract or
squeeze something out of a person or a thing.

  1. He had to get up at 5 a.m. to MILK the cows
    every morning when he lived on the farm.
  2. He couldn't lie; his parents were good at
    MILKING the truth out of him.
  3. He MILKED the last drop of honey from the
    container so as not to waste any of it.

TEAT - nipple
UDDER - part of the animal where milk is stored

WATER as a verb means to add water to a plant to
keep it alive. In addition, when food looks or smells
appetizing, it can make your mouth WATER (
Moreover, you can WATER DOWN something in order
to dilute or weaken it.

  1. She offered to feed her neighbor's dog and
    WATER their houseplants while they're away on
  2. The desserts at that restaurant always makes
    her mouth WATER.
  3. The ice had melted and WATERED DOWN his
    drink, so he asked for another one.
  4. The movie critic WATERED DOWN his negative
    review when he found out a friend's mother
    had directed the film.
photo: bottle of milk for vocabulary lesson
photo: water as noun and verb
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