Guests of the Nation

guests of the nationThis story by Frank O’Connor takes place during the Irish War of Independence of 1919-1921. Two young Irishmen become friends with two English prisoners they are guarding. They suffer lasting effects when they are ordered to take part in the execution of the two men. The story illustrates the brutality of war, and how soldiers must sometimes choose between duty and morality.

English Learner Vocabulary Help

The words and expressions in our Pre-Intermediate level Simplified English story which are not in our 1200 word list are: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .


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bog(n: bog pl bogs) An area of soft, wet land. 3000

capitalist(n: capitalist pl capitalists) 1. A rich person who uses his money, property, etc., to produce more money. 2. A person who believes that the best economic system is one where the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individuals and companies rather than the government. 4000

chum(n: chum pl chums) An old-fashioned word for a close friend; a pal. They were talking together like a couple of old chums. 6000

complain(v: complain, complains, complained, complaining) To say or write that you that you are unhappy or not satisfied with something or are sick, uncomfortable, etc. 2000
(n: complaint pl complaints) A statement that you are unhappy or not satisfied with something. 2000

duty(n: duty pl duties) 1. An action or task requiring to be done, especially as part of a job. His main duty at the event is to take attendance. 2. Something that you must do because it is morally right or because the law requires it. He has a duty to support his children. 2000

forgive(v: forgive, forgives, forgave, forgiven, forgiving) To stop being angry with someone who has done something wrong or caused something bad to happen. He forgave her for stealing his watch.
(n: forgiveness, noncount) The act of forgiving. He asked for forgiveness. 2000

(n: grave pl graves) A piece of ground, or the hole dug in it, in which a dead person is buried.
(adj: grave, graver, gravest) To look serious and formal in what you are doing. 4000

grave grave look.jpg

handkerchief(n: handkerchief pl handkerchiefs or handkerchieves) A small usually square piece of cloth used for wiping your face, nose, or eyes. 4000

headquarters(n: headquarters, plural) A place from which something [such as a business or a military action] is planned and directed. 4000
Usage Note: Although headquarters is plural, it can be used with both plural and singular verbs. The company's headquarters is/are in Atlanta.

heaven(n: heaven, singular) In some religions, the place where God or the gods live, and where good people go when they die. Also known as 'Paradise'. 2000
(n: heavens) Used informally to make a statement or question more forceful or to express surprise, etc. Good heavens! Have you won the lottery again?; Heaven's above, I haven't seen you in years.

heel(n: heel pl heels) 1. The back part of your foot that is below the ankle. 2. The part of a shoe or sock that covers the heel of your foot. 3. The part of the bottom of a shoe or boot that is under the heel of your foot. 3000

hostage(n: hostage pl hostages) A person who is captured by someone who demands that certain things be done before the captured person is freed. The terrorists demanded a plane and a pilot in exchange for the hostages. 5000

joke(n: joke pl jokes) Something said or done to cause laughter. She meant it as a joke, but some people took her seriously. I heard a funny joke yesterday. 2000

lantern(n: lantern pl lanterns) A light for outdoors that has a glass covering to protect it from the wind, rain, etc. and can be carried by a handle. 8000

lonely(adj: lonely, lonelier, loneliest) 1. Sad from being apart from others. He felt lonely without his wife and children. 2. Not visited by or traveled on by many people. A lonely country road.
(n: loneliness, noncount) The quality or state of feeling lonely. 3000

match(n: match pl matches) 1. A short thin piece of wood with a special tip that produces fire when it is rubbed against something else. He lit a match. 2. Someone or something that is equal to or as good as another person or thing. She has finally met her match at arguing. 3. A contest between two or more players or teams. A soccer match. 1000

paperwork(n: paperwork, noncount) 1. Routine work that involves writing letters, reports, etc. He spent most of the morning doing paperwork. 2. The official documents that are needed for something to happen or be done. She did not file the paperwork on time. 3000

pray(v: pray, prays, prayed, praying) 1. To speak to God or someone or something that has special powers in order to express thanks or ask for something. 2. To hope or wish very much for something to happen.
(n: prayer; pl prayers) The words spoken to God when you give thanks or ask for something. 2000

priest(n: priest pl priests) A man who leads people in the worship of a god or group of gods; a man who leads or performs religious ceremonies. 4000

religion(n: religion pl religions) 1. A belief in, or the worship of, a god or group of gods. 2. A particular system of belief or worship.
(adj: religious) 1. Of or relating to religion. 2. Deeply concerned with the beliefs and practice of a religion. 2000

revolver(n: revolver pl revolvers) A hand gun with a container for bullets that turns after the gun is fired and puts another bullet into position to be fired next. 7000

shake(v: shake, shakes, shook, shaken, shaking) To move back and forth or up and down with short, quick movements. (สั่น) 2000

shake your head(v: shake, shakes, shook, shaken, shaking your head) To turn your head from side to side as a way of answering “no” or of showing disagreement or that you will not do something. (ส่ายหัว)

shed(n: shed pl sheds) A usually small building for working in, or for storage. a wooden shed; a garden shed (โรงเก็บของ) 2000

shock(n: shock pl shocks) A sudden usually unpleasant or upsetting feeling caused by something unexpected. (อาการตกใจสุดขีด) 2000

silence(n: silence, noncount) 1. [A period of time] when there is no sound. The teacher asked for silence in the room. I find it hard to sleep unless there is complete silence. (ความเงียบ)
(adj: silent) Used to describe someone or something that is not making noise. (เงียบ)
(adv: silently) In a silent way. (อย่างเงียบ ๆ) 3000

temper(n: temper, singular) The way that a person is feeling at a particular time; mood. He is in a pleasant/bad temper. (อารมณ์) 3000
(adj: bad-tempered) Someone who easily gets angry when things don't happen as they want.
(v: lose one's temper) [idiom] To suddenly get angry about something. (โกรธ)

(n: unit pl units) 1. A single thing, individual etc within a group. The building is divided into twelve units. (หนึ่งหน่วย) 2. A group of people organized for a particular purpose. An army unit (กลุ่มคน) 3. An amount or quantity that is used as a standard in a system of measuring or currency. The dollar is the standard unit of currency in America. (หน่วยวัด) 4. The smallest whole number, 1, or any number between 1 and 9. In the number 23, 2 is a ten, and 3 is a unit. (เลขหลักหน่วย) 1000

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