BACK – (noun) 1. Back means the opposite of front. “The front of the house looked much nicer than its back. “ 2. The front of the body is the side where the face is. The back of the body is the other side. A person’s back is that part of the back of the body which goes from the neck to the waist. “When I looked at him in the eyes he turned his back to me.

BACKWARD – (adjective) A backward child is one who has not progressed as far in learning as other children of the same age.

BACKWARDS – (adverb) means toward the back. “He walked backwards away from me and fell over the brick because he did not see it. He fell over backwards.

BALANCE – (noun) 1. Something which is used to weigh things. See diagram 37. When the correct weights are added on one side so that neither side goes up or down you would say the two things are in balance. You then add up the weights to get the weight of the thing you are weighing. 2. If someone pushes you from one side and at the same time someone else pushes you from the other side with the same force you will not be moved. Here too you would say the two forces pushing you are in balance. 3. Balance is also used to describe something that is managing to rest on something else without falling off. For example “the boy climbed on to the narrow fence and kept his balance by moving his arms around. It is difficult to balance “- (verb) “on top of a high ladder.” 4. Balance also means that which is left over or that part which is still to come. It is often used about money. “The dress cost R50, but she only had R30. The shopkeeper agreed to her paying the” “balance – (of R20) the following week. “ See TERM, 4th definition.

BALANCE THE BOOKS In BOOKKEEPING a system is used called DOUBLE ENTRY. This means that every amount is entered twice, once on the left hand side and once on the right hand side. When you add up all the figures, the left hand side and right hand side totals must be the same – (If not then there is an error). Finding and correcting any errors – (see ERROR) and so getting these two totals to be the same amount is called BALANCING THE BOOKS. See BALANCE.

BANK – (noun) means a place where money is kept. A person keeps his money in a bank in a savings account or cheque account. You should look at an ordinary dictionary for other meanings of bank like the banks of a river, a bank of earth, a bank of clouds and other meanings.

BANK BALANCE – (noun) means the amount that is left over in a bank account after adding all the deposits and taking off the withdrawals. If more has been taken out than has been put in you will have a negative balance. When this happens you say the bank account is overdrawn. This is called being in the ‘red’ because negative balances are sometimes written in red ink and all the other figures in black ink. See DEPOSITS & WITHDRAWALS.

BANK EXPENSES – (noun) The bank charges various amounts for the service it gives. So much for each entry on the bank statement and so much for a cheque book. The bank does not ask you to come in and pay this money it just makes a debit entry on your statement for these expenses. Usually once a month. See DEBIT.

BANK RATE – (noun) This is the rate of interest on bank loans. When someone negotiates a loan from a bank, the rate of interest that he must pay the bank is agreed. The prime rate is the rate for the bank’s oldest and most reliable customers. Most people who borrow money from the bank are asked to pay at least 1 per cent more than the prime rate. He was disappointed because his bank manager told him he would have to pay prime plus 2 per cent on the bank loan. The prime rate is called ‘prime’ for short. See NEGOTIATE & RELIABLE.

BANKRUPT – (noun) A person who cannot pay all the money that he owes is called bankrupt. See INSOLVENT. “Although he sold all the things he owned he could not pay all his bills and he was declared bankrupt.” See DECLARE.

BANK STATEMENT – (noun) The bank keeps a record of each bank account, usually on a computer. Once a month they make a print out of each account and post it to the account holder. This will show all the deposits and all the withdrawals for the month and the balance at the end of the month.

BAR – (noun) 1. A bar is a piece of solid material that is longer than it is thick. It is usually of even thickness. A long bar is called a pole. See POLE. Gold is made into bars. Windows are protected with steel bars. 2. A bar is also the name of a place where people go to drink beer, wine and brandy. 3. To bar – (verb) something means to stop it from happening by putting a barrier in the way. “The way was barred by a pile of rubbish. Because he would not obey the rules he was barred from taking part in the game by the club manager.

BARRIER – (noun) means something that stands in the way and stops things or people. “The wide river was a barrier to the explorers. Being in a strange land and not knowing the language was a barrier to him being able to understand what was happening.

BASE – (noun) has two main meanings in maths. Firstly it means the bottom of something on which it stands. For example in the diagram the side AB is the base of the triangle AB See diagram 12. Secondly it means the base of a logarithm. See LOGARITHM. In ordinary English it also has several meanings. 1. A base – (noun) is a place from which to start, or a place to go to when you have finished something. “When the soldiers had finished fighting they went back to base. The soldier’s base would be a place where they lived and kept all their guns when they were not fighting. “2. Base can be used as an adjective.” When they reached the bottom of the mountain they made their base camp there. “3. A base – (noun) is also the bottom of something on which it stands. “ The heavy statue has a very strong base on which to stand.” 4. It also means the main component – (See COMPONENT) of a mixture. “This is an oil base” – (noun) “paint and that is a water base paint.


BASIC PRINCIPLE. See PRINCIPLE. Basic principles – (noun) are the first things one needs to know about a subject. This is because a subject is built up and developed from basic principles. One of the basic principles of Geography is that the earth is round. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are the basic principles of arithmetic. If you cannot do these four things with ease you will have trouble in learning the rest of arithmetic

BASIS – (noun) means the thing on which an idea depends. “The basis of his suspicion that the man was a thief was that he thought he saw him putting something in his pocket when he was in the shop. The basis of arithmetic is numbers. The basis of his fear is that he does not like the dark.

BE – (verb) See AM.

BEAR – (verb) 1. Bear means to carry or support the weight of. “The rotten floor cannot bear your weight.” 2. It also means to put up with. “I cannot bear him because he is so rude.” 3. It is also what fruit trees do. “The very old tree is no longer bearing any fruit”. 4. To bear in mind means to keep something in your thoughts, perhaps to make a decision later. “The teacher said he would bear it in mind that the class wanted tomorrow off to play a soccer match.” 5. Bear also means to give birth to a child. “After the accident she was unable to bear children.” See BORNE. 6. Bear – (noun) is also a big dangerous animal found in N America.

BEARING – (noun) That part of a machine in which an axle turns. See AXLE. See diagram 40. It also has a special meaning when one is talking about directions. See COMPASS.

BECAUSE – (conjunction) means for the reason that. “I do not like him because he is rude and has no manners.

BEFORE – (preposition) means in front of – (position). It also means earlier – (time). “He knelt before the King. He left before me.

BEGAN Participle of BEGIN.

BEGIN – (verb) means to start. “We begin the football match at 3 pm.” If you are asked how much did you have to begin with it means how much did you have at the start.

BEGUN Past participle of BEGIN.

BEING – (verb) 1. Being means existing. See EXIST. “He is being naughty “means that he is existing as a naughty person at the moment. 2. A being – (noun) also means a person that exists. “He is a clever being” means that he, who is a person that exists, is a clever person.

BELONG – (verb) 1. Belong means to have a proper place. “That plate belongs in this cupboard.” 2. Belong also means to be owned by. “This book belongs to me and that book belongs to you.” 3. It also means to be a part of. “This spanner belongs to my set of tools.

BENEATH – (adverb) 1. Beneath means at a lower level. “He climbed the ladder and looked at the ground beneath him.” 2. Beneath also means under. “He sat in the shade beneath the tree.

BESIDE – (preposition) means next to. “She liked to sit beside the teacher.

BESIDES – (adverb) means in addition to or as well as. “Besides coke I also brought hamburgers so we will have enough to eat and drink. Many people went to the meeting besides ourselves.

BEST – (adjective) means the most good. “Because he is the best student he came top of the class.

BETA – (noun) is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. It is written like this: <:f240,QLetter Gothic – (Math8),0,0,0>b<:f> .

BETTER – (adjective) means more good than another. “I am a better student than” “he is because I do my homework. Because I run well “- (adverb)” than he does I will beat him in the race.

 BETWEEN – (preposition) When two things are separated – (see SEPARATE) you use BETWEEN to describe the amount that they are separated by. “There were 10 metres between the two trees. There were 5 minutes between the first and the last runner. The difference between the two boys is that one does his homework and the other does not. He sat in between his father and his mother means that he s at in the space between them.

BI-ANNUAL – (adjective) means twice a year. “He is lucky because he gets a bi-annual holiday. One in summer and one in winter.

BIGGER – (adjective) means more big than another. “He is older and bigger than his brother.

BIGGEST – (adjective) means the most big. “He is the biggest man I have ever seen. He measures 2 meters.

BILL – (noun) means a piece of paper on which is written an amount of money owed. “Please send me your bill for fixing my car and I will pay you the money. He has so many bills he does not know which ones to pay first.

BILLION A billion is 1000 x 1 000 000. See Appendix IV.

BINARY SYSTEM – (noun) A system of numbers with 2 as base. – (See LOGARITHM) This is the system used by computers. The system of numbers we use everyday has 10 as base.

BIND – (verb) means to tie or fix together. “I will bind the sticks together in a bundle. When he binds the sheets of paper together you will have a book. ” See BOUND. See BOOK.

BINOMIAL – (noun) means an algebraic expression containing two terms – (See TERMS) connected by a plus or a minus. – (2a + b) or – (3x – 4y) are binomials. – (2a + b – 5y) is a trinomial expression.

BINOMIAL THEOREM – (noun) This is a theorem which gives a formula for the expansion of – (a + b)&>n &> .

BISECT – (verb) means to divide into two equal parts. In the diagram the line CD is bisecting the line AB; the line GH is bisecting the line EF at right angles; also AD is bisecting the angle BA See diagram 1.

BIT 1. A bit – (noun) means a piece or a part of something.” He ate all the cake himself and did not give one little bit to me. “2. Bit is also the name of a tool called a drill which is used for making holes in things. “ He drilled a hole in the wood with a bit. ” 3. Bit also has special meaning in computers. 4. Bit – (verb) is also the past of ‘to bite’. “The dog bit him yesterday.

BLACK – (noun) In book keeping the phrase IN THE BLACK means that one has more money than one owes. IN THE RED means that one owes more money than one has got. The reason for this is that in book keeping – (See BOOK KEEPING) the figures where one owes more than one has are written in red ink. The other figures are written in black ink. If you talk about someone being IN THE RED you mean that he does not have enough money to pay all his bills.

BLANK – (adjective) means empty or with nothing in it.” Please fill in the blank spaces on the form. “See FORM. “ When the teacher asked me for the answer my memory went blank.

BLOCK 1. A block – (noun) means a piece of something solid usually with one or more flat sides. “He put a block of stone behind the wheel to stop the car running backwards”. 2. It also means a barrier. See BARRIER. 3. It means to put a barrier in someone or something’s way. “The leaves blocked – (verb) the gutter.” 4. It also means a piece of ground surrounded by roads. “It took him two minutes to run around the block” – (noun).

BLOCK GRAPH – (noun) . See diagram 31.

BLOW – (verb) has two main meanings. Firstly it means to make a current of air. “The wind blows from the north in winter. He will blow out the candle before he goes to sleep. The referee blows his whistle. ” Secondly as a noun it means a hit or a knock. “ He hit his finger a blow with the hammer and it was very painful. A hard blow on the chin may knock you out.

BOARD 1. A board – (noun) means a flat piece of wood. “He closed the hole in the wall with a board. “ 2. It also means to get onto a bus or a train or a ship. “He boarded (verb) the bus when it came to the bus stop. “ 3. On board (noun) means that you have climbed on to the bus (or train or ship). “Whenever he is on board he feels sick.” 4. In business one talks about the board (noun) of directors. Here board means a committee of directors. See COMMITTEE & DIRECTOR.

BOLD 1. Bold – (adjective) means brave. “The bold soldiers won the battle.” 2. It also means sharp and clear to the eye. 3. Bold letters are thick and dark so you can see them easily. Bold letters are called ‘bold face’. They are used to emphasize something. See! EMPHASIZE. EMPHASIZE!> has been written in bold.

BOND – (noun) 1. Bond means something that binds or connects together. “The bonds around his hands were so tight that he could not get loose. The danger they experienced together in the fighting formed a bond which made them friends for life”. 2. Bond also means a written agreement to repay a loan of money with interest over a definite period of time. For example a person, who wants to buy a house and does not have sufficient money, goes to a Bank or Building Society. The bank checks that he has a good record of paying his bills and that he has a regular job and is earning sufficient money. If the Bank is satisfied then they draw up a paper which is called a bond. On this paper it states the amount of money to be lent and a description of the property. It also states the terms of repayment of the money lent and the interest rate which the bank will charge him on the outstanding amount of money. The arithmetic is usually worked out so that if he pays a fixed amount of money every month for a number of years (usually 20 or 25) at the end of that period he will have fully pa id off the loan and the interest. The bond would then be cancelled and he would then own the house without owing any money for it.

BONUS – (noun) A bonus is something extra that is given to someone who has done better than expected and is usually money. “She gave the woman, who helped her so well, a bonus. His firm is offering a bonus of R1000 to anyone who can bring in 100 new customers.

BOOK – (noun) means a number of pages of paper bound together with soft or hard covers on either side. A book can be blank like an exercise book. Or it can have information printed on the pages to make it a story book or a textbook. See TEXTBOOK.

BOOK KEEPING – (noun) When a person runs a business he needs to keep a record of what happens to his money. This is normally done in what is called a set of books. The action of making all the entries in the books is called BOOK KEEPING. The following are the usual books that are kept (First look up the words CHEQUE, BANK & CASH.)

BALANCE SHEET gives a statement of ASSETS & LIABILITIES at a particular date.

BORNE is the past participle of BEAR.

BORROW – (verb) means to get money or goods from someone which you agree to give back at a later date. When you borrow money the money you borrow is called a loan.

BOTH – (adjective) means two together. “Both the twins will come to my party. He is greedy because he ate both of the last two cakes.

BOTTOM – (noun) 1. Bottom means the lowest place or part. “There was sea at the bottom of the mountain…” “He fell onto the rocks at the bottom of the cliff and was killed. The bottom of the box was rotten so all the books fell out. “““2. The bottom line of a triangle is usually called the base of the triangle… 3. The part of the body that one sits on is called one’s bottom.

BOUGHT is the past tense of buy. See BUY.

BOUND is the past of bind. See BIND.

BOUNDARY – (noun) 1. Boundary means a line or thing which divides two areas or limits the extent of one area. “The boundary between S Africa and Namibia is along the Orange River. I built a wall on the boundary of my land. ” 2. A square has a boundary of 4 equal sides at right angles to each other. See diagram 7. 3. Another name for ‘boundary’ is ‘border’.

BOW Bow (verb) means to bend the head or body to someone to show respect. See RESPECT. “When he was taken to the King he bowed before him.” Bow has also some other meanings, but is spoken a different way. – (Ask your teacher to tell you the difference) 1. It means a curved piece of wood with a piece of string attached to the two ends that is used to shoot arrows. “The hunter shot a bird with his bow – (noun) and arrow.” 2. It also means a looped knot used to tie shoe laces. 3. It also means the rod with horse hairs used to play a violin.

BOX – (noun) A box is something with flat sides and square corners in which you can put things. “A match box is small. A cardboard box is bigger. ” A square drawn on a piece of paper is also called a box.

BRACES – (noun) are a special kind of bracket shaped like this: { }. See BRACKETS. Also see SET. See ordinary dictionary for other meanings of braces.

BRACKETS – (noun) are symbols which are used to group some figures or symbols together. They are shaped like this: – ( ) See PRECEDENCE and BRACES. For ‘Removing Brackets’ see Appendix II.15. See ordinary dictionary for other meanings of brackets.

BRAKE – (sounds the same as BREAK, but has a different meaning) means something that is used to slow down or stop something.” He hit the fence with his car because his brakes “- (noun) “were bad. This bicycle has very good brakes so it can stop easily. ” The verb is ‘to brake’. “ He braked hard to avoid hitting the little” “child.

BRANCH – (noun) Apart from its usual meaning to describe parts of trees, branch can mean a subdivision or separate office of a large organization. “Banks have branches in many places.

BREADTH – (noun) is another word for width. It means the distance of something from side to side. “The breadth of the bus was so large that it could not drive through the gate. As the breadth of the path increased we were able to walk next to each other.

BREAK – (sounds the same as BRAKE, but has a different meaning) 1. Break means to make to come into two or more pieces. “He will break – (verb) the stick into 3 pieces. When he fell he broke “- (broke is the past of break)” the bone in his arm.” 2. It also means the result of breaking something or the place where the thing was broken. “The break – (noun) in his arm was near his wrist. When the wind blew down the telephone wires there was a break in communication.

BRIEF – (adjective) means lasting a short time. “I am in a hurry so please be brief and tell me in as few words as possible. The teacher made a brief announcement at the end of class.

BRIEFLY is the adverb of BRIEF.

BRING – (verb) 1. Bring means to carry from another place.” When you come, bring your book with you. “2. It can also refer to coming with another. “ When you come bring your friend. “3. Bring together means to cause people or things to come together. “ Bring all the hens together in the hen house.

BROKEN is the past participle of BREAK.

BROUGHT is the past participle of BRING.

BUILD – (verb) Means to make by putting things together.” I will build a house of bricks and cement.

BUILDING SOCIETY – (noun) A building society is an organization that lends money to people who want to build or buy a house. A person must put down a deposit which is usually about 10% of the cost of the house and the balance with interest they pay over a long period such as 20, 25 or 30 years by making monthly repayments.

BUILT is the past of BUILD.

BUNCH – (noun) 1. Bunch means a number of things, usually of the same kind, tied together neatly. See NEAT. A bunch of flowers would be neatly tied together. A bundle of flowers would not be neat. 2. It means a group of fruit that grow together. “He bought a big bunch of grapes. “ “3.” It also means a number of people together”. His friends are a friendly bunch.

BUNDLE – (noun) means a number of things tied together.” He tied his possessions ““together and carried them away in a bundle.”

BUT – (conjunction) gives the idea that there are two sides to something. “I liked him, but sometimes when he was rude I disliked him. He wanted to come, but his father said no. He was clever, but he still could not get the answer to the difficult problem. 

BUY – (verb) means to pay money for something so you can own it.

BY – (preposition) has several meanings: 1. near.” The trees by the river. ” 2. through. “ Go by the bridge. Go in by the door. ” 3.To connect measurements. “ A room 5 metres by 4 metres. ” 4. Not later than. “ You must be home by 5 pm. “5. Through the action of.” He got free by breaking the lock. His tooth was pulled out by the dentist.