The Bet

the betThis story by Anton Chekhov is about a strange bet between a wealthy banker and young lawyer. It all started with a discussion about . The banker claimed that the death penalty was kinder than life in prison; the lawyer disagreed. To prove his point, the banker bet the lawyer two million s that he could not survive being locked up for fifteen years with no contact with the outside world other than through books. At the end of the fifteen years the banker was much wiser but also much poorer… but not because he lost the bet.

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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capital punishment(n: capital punishment, noncount) Punishment by death; the practice of killing people as punishment for serious crimes.

(n: ruble pl rubles; British rouble) The basic unit of money of Russia. One ruble is made up of 100 kopecks.

beggar(n: beggar pl beggars) A person (often homeless or disabled) who lives by asking others to give them money, food, etc. 2000

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

bone(n: bone pl bones) The hard substance forming the skeleton of man, animals etc. 2000

candle(n: candle pl candles) Wax that has been formed into a stick or another shape and has a string in the middle that can be burned to give light. 3000

(adj: classic) Used to describe something that has been popular for a long time and has come to be thought of as one of the best of its kind. 3000

devil(n: devil pl devils) The most powerful spirit of evil; The ruler of Hell; Satan. 3000
(adj: devilish) Looking or acting like a devil; wicked, evil.

freeze(v: freeze, freezes, froze, frozen, freezing) 1. To make or be very cold. If you get lost in the snow you will freeze to death. 2. To make or become hard because of cold. Every winter the river freezes over. 3. To make or become stiff, still or unable to move. She froze with fear when she heard the strange noise. 4. To fix at a certain level. a price/wage freeze 2000

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.

invest(v: invest, invests, invested, investing) To use money to buy shares, stocks, property, etc., in order to make more money.
(n: investment pl investments) 1. The act of investing. 2. A sum of money invested.
(n: investor pl investors) A person who invests. 1000

jealous(adj: jealous) 1. Feeling or showing that you want to be like another person or have something that another person has; envy. 2. Feeling or showing unhappiness or anger because you think that someone you love [such as your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc.] likes or is liked by someone else. 4000

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

novel(n: novel pl novels) A long written story, usually about imaginary characters and events.
(n: novelist pl novelists) The writer of a novel. 4000

(v: owe, owes, owed, owing) To need to pay or repay money to a person, bank, business, etc., such as when you have borrowed money but not yet paid it all back. 2000

penalty(n: penalty pl penalties) 1. Punishment for breaking a rule or law. The ship owner had to pay a big penalty for spilling oil.. 2. In sport, a punishment or disadvantage given to a team or player for breaking a rule of the game. 3000

philosophy(n: philosophy, noncount) The study of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.
(n: philosopher pl philosophers) A person who studies philosophy, especially one who develops a particular set of theories. Rousseau was a famous philosopher. 4000

pit(n: pit pl pits) 1. A hole in the ground usually made by digging. The campers dug a pit to bury their rubbish. 2. A large, deep hole in the ground from which stones or minerals are dug out. He works in a gravel pit. 2000

poet(n: poet pl poets) A person who writes poems (poetry). 4000
(n: poem pl poems) A piece of writing arranged in lines which usually have a regular rhythm and often end in words that rhyme. 2000

proud(adj: proud, prouder, proudest) 1. Feeling very pleased because of something you have done or own, someone you know, etc. She felt proud as she watched her daughter graduate. 2. Having a too high opinion of oneself; arrogant. She was too proud to talk to us. 2000
(n: pride, noncount) A feeling of pleasure and satisfaction at one's achievements, possessions, family etc. She watched with pride as her daughter graduated. 3000

punish(v: punish, punishes, punished, punishing) To make someone suffer for a crime or for something done that is wrong.
(n: punishment pl punishments) The act or way of making someone suffer for a crime or for something done that is wrong. 3000

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

respect(n: respect, noncount) Admiration or high opinion of someone or something that is good, valuable, important, etc.
(adj: respectful) Treating someone or something that is important, serious, etc., in an appropriate way.
(v: respect, respects, respected, respecting) To show or feel respect. 1000

seal(n: seal pl seals) 1. A large animal that lives partly on land and partly in the sea, has flippers, and eats fish. 2. A small piece of stamped wax or a small sticker that is put on something [such as a letter or envelope] to keep it closed or to show that it has not been opened. 3000

servant(n: servant pl servants) Someone who is hired to do household or personal duties [such as cleaning and cooking]. 1000

skeleton(n: skeleton pl skeletons) The structure of bones that supports the body of a person or animal. (โครงกระดูก) 3000

stock market(n: stock market pl stock markets) A place where stocks and shares in companies are bought and sold. (ตลาดหุ้น) 8000
Here the words 'stock' and 'share' mean certificates that make the people who buy them part owners of a company and which can be bought, sold, or traded as an investment. (หุ้น) 2000

tight(adj: tight, tighter, tightest) 1. Fitting very or too closely; [of clothes] fitting very close to your body. These shoes are too tight. (คับแน่น) 2. Flat or firm from being pulled or stretched; not loose. Pull the ribbon tight and make a bow. (ผูกแน่น) 3. Fastened, attached, or held in a position that is not easy to move. The lid is too tight. I can't open it. (แน่นหนา) 2000
(adv: tightly) In a tight way. The shirt fits too tightly around the arms. Hold on tightly to the railing. (แน่น)

wisdom(n: wisdom, noncount) 1. The knowledge gained from books or experience. 2. The quality or state of being wise. (ปัญญา; สติปัญญา)
(adj: wise, wiser, wisest) Having gained a lot of knowledge from books or experience or both and able to use it well. (ฉลาด) 2000

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