Mr Know-All

mr know-allThis story by W Somerset Maugham is about culture, manners, outward appearances, values and – most importantly of all – . Prejudice exists because it is human nature to people we meet based on race or how they look before getting to know them. The of the story can be summed up by the English : “You should not judge a book by its cover”.

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 .

There are also two words that are in our Pre-Intermediate word list but have a meaning in the story which is different to the one most commonly used:

  • We are told that Mr Ramsay worked for the American government in Japan and was on his way back to continue in his post. Here the word means a job or position in a large organization.
  • Later, Mr Kelada talks about being in the pearl trade. The word in this case means a business or occupation.



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(n: prejudice pl prejudices) An unfair opinion about or feeling of dislike for a person or group when it is not reasonable or logical, especially when formed because of race, sex, religion, etc. (อคติ) 4000

(n: stereotype pl stereotypes) An often unfair and untrue belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic. (ทำให้เป็นกฎตายตัว) 5000

moral(n: moral pl morals) The lesson to be learned from something that happens or from a story. (เรื่องสอนใจ)
(adj: moral) Concerning what is right and wrong in human behavior. A moral person is always does what they believe to be the right thing to do. (ทางศีลธรรม) 2000

(n: proverb pl proverbs) An old but well-known saying that either gives advice about how people should live, or expresses an idea that is generally thought to be true. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A rolling stone gathers no moss. (สุภาษิต) 6000

alcohol(n: alcohol, noncount) 1. A clear liquid with a strong smell that is used in some medicines and other products. 2. The substance in liquor (such as beer, wine, or whiskey) that can make a person drunk. There was a high level of alcohol in his blood at the time of the car accident. 3. Drinks containing alcohol. She doesn't drink alcohol. 3000

bet(n: bet pl bets) An agreement in which people try to guess what will happen and the person who guesses wrong has to give something [such as money] to the person who guesses right.
(v: bet, bets, bet, betting) To make a bet; to risk losing something [such as money] if your guess about what will happen is wrong. 1000

cabin(n: cabin pl cabins) 1. A small simple house, usually made of wood. 2. A small room in a ship or boat for sleeping in. 3. The part of an airplane in which passengers sit. 5000

(n: chance pl chances) An opportunity to do something; an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done. I go to the beach every chance I get. 1000

collect(v: collect, collects, collected, collecting) To get (things) from different places and bring them together; to gather. We collected $5,000 for the red cross. 1000

dine(v: dine, dines, dined, dining) To eat dinner; to have the main meal of the day. 3000
(n: dining room) A room in a house used mainly for eating in.
(n: dining table) A table around which people sit to eat.

envelope(n: envelope pl envelopes) A thin, flat wrapper or cover, especially for a letter, card, etc. The letter arrived in a long envelope. 3000

(n: expert pl experts) A person who has special skill or knowledge relating to a particular subject. (ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ) 2000

faint(v: faint, faints, fainted, fainting) To feel weak or tired and suddenly fall down and become unconscious.
(adj: faint, fainter, faintest) 1. Feeling weak or tired, as if you are going to fall down. 2. Not clearly seen, heard, tasted, felt, etc. 3000

insult(n: insult pl insults) An action or comment that is rude or disrespectful. (การดูถูก) 3000
(v: insult, insults, insulted, insulting) To do or say something to or about someone in a way that is rude or not respectful. (สบประมาท) 3000

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. (เรื่องตลก) 2000

(adj: Levantine) Of or relating to the 'Levant', a former name for the area on the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea now occupied by Lebanon, Syria, and Israel.
(n: Levenatine pl Lavantines) A native or inhabitant of the Levant.

magnify(v: magnify, magnifies, magnified, magnifying) To cause something to appear or be bigger or greater. (ทำให้เพิ่มมากขึ้น) 4000
(n: magnifying glass pl magnifying glasses) A specially shaped piece of glass that is attached to a handle and used to make an object look larger than it is. (แว่นขยาย)

martini(n: martini pl martinis) An alcoholic mixed drink made of vermouth and gin or vodka. (เห ล้า ประเภท ค็อกเทล) 9000

modest(adj: modest) 1. Not showing too high an opinion of one's position or abilities. She's very modest about her achievements. (ถ่อมตัว) 2. Decent and showing good taste in one's actions and dress; not shocking or showing too much of one's body. She preferred wearing a modest swimsuit. (เรียบร้อย)
(n: modesty, noncount) The quality of being modest. She accepted the award with modesty. The young woman dressed with modesty. (ความพอประมาณ) 4000

patience(n: patience, noncount) 1. The quality of being patient. Able to: (i) wait for a long time without becoming annoyed or upset; (ii) stay calm when dealing with problems or difficult people; (iii) give attention to something for a long time. (ความอดทน) 2. The British name for a card game played by one person, also called Solitaire. (เล่นไพ่คนเดียว) 2000

pearl(n: pearl pl pearls) A hard, shiny, white ball that is formed inside the shell of an oyster. Valuable and often used as jewelry. (ไข่มุก) 5000

(n: cultured pearl pl cultured pearls) A pearl created by placing small objects inside the shells of farmed oysters or mussels.

perfect(adj: perfect) 1. Excellent; having no mistakes. He spoke perfect English. (สมบูรณ์แบบ) 2. Exact; accurate. The painting was a perfect copy of the original. (ถูกต้อง) 3. Very great; complete. A perfect stranger. (สมบูรณ์แบบ)
(adv: perfectly) 1. Done without mistakes. She performed the dance perfectly. (อย่างยอดเยี่ยม) 2. Very; completely. He was perfectly happy. (อย่างที่สุด) 1000

(n: sense of humor, noncount) The ability to be funny or to be amused by things that are funny. (อารมณ์ขัน)

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

shave(v: shave, shaves, shaves, shaving) To cut off [hair, wool, a beard, etc.] very close to the skin. He shaved off his beard. (โกน) 3000

talkative(adj: talkative) Describes someone who talks a lot or enjoys having conversations with people. (ช่างพูด) 9000

(n: trunk pl trunks) 1. The thick main stem of a tree from which the branches grow. (ลำต้น) 2. A large strong box that can be locked and used for holding clothes or other things, especially when traveling. (หีบใส่ของ) 3. The long nose of an elephant. (งวงช้าง) 4000

tree trunk wardrobe trunk elephant trunk

whiskey(n: whiskey pl whiskeys; British wiskey) A strong alcoholic drink made from a grain such as corn, rye, or barley; usually contains 40-50% alcohol by volume. (วิสกี้) 3000

worth(prep: worth) Used to indicate the value of something. (มูลค่า) 1000

(n: post pl posts) 1. A piece of wood or metal that is set in an upright position into or on the ground so that it stands straight up to hold or support something. Fence posts. (เสา) 2. A usually important job or position in a large organization. He applied for a government post. (ตำแหน่ง)
(v: post, posts, posted, posting) 1. To send (a letter etc) by post; to mail. He posted the parcel yesterday. (ส่งจดหมาย) 2. To put up (a sign, notice, etc.) so that it can be seen by many people. The professor posted (up) the exam grades outside her office. 3. To add (a message, etc.) to an online message board. He posted their pictures on Facebook. 1000

fence post posting a letter

(v: trades, traded, trading) 1. The activity or process of buying, selling, or exchanging goods or services. Japan trades a lot with the U.S.A.. (ค้าขาย) 2. To give something to someone and receive something in return; to exchange. I traded my watch for a bicycle. (แลกเปลี่ยน) 1000
(n: pl trades) 1. A job that requires special training and skills and that is done by using your hands. I am a carpenter/electrician/beautician by trade. 2. A business, occupation, or job. He's in the jewellery trade. (อาชีพ)1000

bartering tradesmen
An 18 minute film segment from the 1950 movie ‘Trio’, which featured three of Maugham’s short stories. The introduction to the story is by Maugham himself. It is interesting to note that Maugham also wrote the screenplay for the film. To watch online, click here. To download the mp4, click here.

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