Coffee Break: 10 Expressions About… Independence Day


Whether you’re on your coffee break at the office, talking with friends or reading the newspaper, we encounter situations every day where topic-specific vocabulary is used. And when you don’t know the language, it can be really difficult to participate in the conversation! When the topic switches to recent news events, it gets even more complicated…

From politics and sporting events to fashion and technology, this blog series will help you understand and convey ideas about a wide range of recent events using the right vocabulary.

We’re kicking off this series with a very American word list! Today America celebrates the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day. Here are 10 words and expressions to add to your English repertoire:

  1. fireworks (plural noun): devices containing chemicals that explode decoratively in the sky
    Ex: “The city always has a huge fireworks display at the end of the day” explained Mark to the exchange student.
  2. star-spangled banner (noun): the national flag of the United States, and the title of the American national anthem
    Ex: The star-spangled banner was peacefully waving on the flagpole.
  3. patriotism (noun): national loyalty, pride
    Ex: Americans show their patriotism on Independence Day by wearing red, white and blue clothes.
  4. cookout (noun): a festive gathering where a meal is cooked and enjoyed outdoors
    Ex: Mary arrived in the kitchen and exclaimed: “The neighbors invited us to a cookout in their backyard tomorrow night!”
  5. barbecue (noun): a meal or gathering at which meat, fish or other food is cooked outdoors on a rack over an open fire or on a portable grill
    Ex: Jane is having a barbecue for all of her friends this weekend.
  6. picnic (noun): an outing or occasion that involves taking a packed meal to be eaten outdoors
    Ex: My family is meeting in Central Park for a big picnic.
  7. to kick off (verb): to start
    Ex: Playing upbeat music is a great way to kick off the celebrations.
  8. a blast (noun): (inf.) an enjoyable experience
    Ex: “Alex’s party is going to be a blast!” said Clare excitedly.
  9. to make the most of (phrase): use to the best advantage
    Ex: “I’m going to make the most of this three-day weekend by going to the beach!” announced Matthew to his friends.
  10. parade (noun): a public procession to celebrate an event
    Ex: The Fourth of July parade in my town is one of the biggest events of the year.

Can you think of any other words you might hear on the 4th of July? Leave a comment below to add to our Independence Day word list!