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Explosive Vocabulary!

The vocabulary used for talking about fire, explosions, natural disasters etc. is often used to talk about other kinds of problems as well. Look at the examples below and work out what two things are being compared.


What is the comparison?

  • Violence erupted again on Tuesday as protestors attacked government buildings.

Tension between protestors & government = a volcano

Violence = magma/lava

  • After the meeting, youths began throwing stones at the police. Soon the violence spilled over into neighbouring districts.

Violence =

  • The president has survived the latest crisis, but he cannot relax yet. This is just the eye of the storm and there is worse to come.

The crisis (big problem) =

  • Some businesses in the region are still feeling the after-shocks of the 1998 economic crisis.

The economic crisis =

Later problems for businesses =

  • Tension has been simmering between the two countries for many years. Now it has reached boiling point.

Tension =

  • After studying hard, I need to let off steam. So, on the last night of term, I usually go dancing with a few friends.

Working hard = getting very hot, boiling like a pressure cooker (like an old steam engine? like a geyser?)

  • They made him so angry that he finally blew his top.

An angry person =

  • The prime minister has been badly shaken by the scandal.

The scandal =

  • The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1985 was a seismic event that sent waves throughout Eastern Europe and even beyond.

The fall of the wall (the end of Communism in East Germany) =


 Frankie Meehan