The Verger

the vergerIn this story by W Somerset Maugham, a man who has worked hard in a church for 16 years is told that he must leave the job because he cannot read or write. He soon proves that you don’t need a good education to become rich. All you need is the ability to think creatively, and the to back your ideas.

Pre-Intermediate Vocabulary Help / Exercises

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

Intermediate Vocabulary Help / Exercises

The words and expressions in our Intermediate level Simplified English story which are not in our 1800 word list are: , butler, christen, churchwarden, dignity, funeral, , nod, organ, , , robe, , sigh, , , , tobacco, verger, vestry, vicar, and .

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

  • Albert tells the three men that the old vicar “always said there was a great deal too much education in the world for his taste“. The word here means a liking or preference.
  • The expression I’m afraid… appears several times in the story. When used in this way the word has the same meaning as “I’m sorry to have to tell you…”
  • When Albert was walking and came up with the idea of opening a tobacco shop, he “gave a sudden start“. Here the word start means the brief, sudden movement you might make when you are d.
  • When Albert asks the bank manager how he would know what he is signing, the bank managers answers “I suppose you can read.” We are told that he says this sharply. To speak or ask about something ly means to do it in an angry or unpleasant way.

Finally, there are three s and a in the story: , , , and

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courage(n: courage, noncount) The ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous; bravery. The soldier showed great courage in battle.
(adj: courageous) Having or showing courage. A courageous soldier. 3000

amaze(v: amaze, amazes, amazed, amazing) To surprise someone very much. It amazes me that no one noticed the mistake. 2. To fill someone with wonder. He amazed the audience with his magic tricks.
(n: amazement, noncount) A feeling of being amazed. To the amazement of her family, she left school to become a musician. 2000

butler(n: butler pl butlers) A male servant who has charge of wines and service at the table, and is usually the head servant in a wealthy person's household. (ทนายหน้าหอ) 6000

christen(v: christen, christens, christened, christening) 1. To officially make someone a member of a Christian church through the ceremony of baptism. The priest christened three babies today. 2. To give a name to. She was christened Joanna. 5000

(n: churchwarden pl churchwardens) One of two officers in the Church of England who administer the legal and other non-religious affairs of a church.

dignity(n: dignity, noncount) 1. A calm and serious manner that deserves respect. She showed dignity in defeat. 2. The quality of being given honor and respect by people. The dignity of the occasion. 3. A sense of your own importance and value. It's difficult to preserve your dignity when you have no job. 6000

exact(adj: exact) 1. Very careful and accurate. Please make sure it is the exact size we need. 2. Fully and completely correct or accurate. Those were his exact words.
(adv: exactly) In an exact way or manner. 1000

funeral(n: funeral pl funerals) The ceremony held for a dead person before their body is put in the ground [buried] or burned [cremated]. (งานศพ) 3000

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

nod(v: nod, nods, nodded, nodding) 1. To move your head up and down as a way of answering 'yes' or of showing agreement, understanding, or approval. 2. To move your head up and down as a signal to someone or as a way of saying hello or goodbye to someone. (พยักหน้า) 3000

organ(n: organ pl organs) 1. A musical instrument that has a keyboard and pipes; an electronic instrument that makes a similar sound. (หีบเพลงปาก) 2. A part of the body (such as the heart or liver) that has a particular function. (อวัยวะ) 3000
(n: organist pl organists) A person who plays the organ. (คนเล่นออร์แกน)

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. (ภูมิใจในตนเอง) 2. Having a (too) high opinion of oneself; arrogant. She was too proud to talk to us. (หยิ่ง) 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. (ความภาคภูมิใจ) 3000

rent(v: rent, rents, rented, renting) 1. To pay money in return for being able to use something that belongs to someone else. 2. To allow someone to use something that you own in return for payment. We rent this flat from Mr Smith. Mr Smith rents this flat to us. (เช่า) 2000

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

risk(n: risk pl risks) 1. The possibility that something bad or unpleasant will happen. All investments have an element of risk. 2. Someone or something that may cause something bad or unpleasant to happen. Kids think smoking is fun, but they don't realize the risks involved. (การเสี่ยงภัย) 2000

robe(n: robe pl robes) 1. A long, loose piece of clothing. Many Arabs still wear robes. (เสื้อคลุมยาว) 2. A long, loose piece of clothing that is worn on top of other clothes to show that someone has a high rank or an important job. (เสื้อคลุมงานพิธี; เสื้อครุย) 2. A loose piece of clothing that wraps around your body to wear at home; a dressing gown. (เสื้อคลุม) 3. 6000

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

sigh(v: sigh, sighs, sighed, sighing) To take in and let out a long, loud breath in a way that shows you are bored, disappointed, unhappy, relieved, etc. (ถอนหายใจ) 4000

tobacco(n: tobacco, noncount) [a plant that produces] Leaves which are dried and chewed or smoked in cigarettes, pipes, etc. (ยาสูบ)
(n: tobacconist pl tobacconists) A person who sells tobacco, cigarettes etc. (พ่อค้าขายผลิตภัณฑ์ประเภทยาสูบ) 4000

verger(n: verger pl vergers) A church officer who takes care of the interior of the building and performs simple duties during church services. (ผู้ดูแลโบสถ์ เจ้าหน้าที่ถือคทานำหน้าพระ)

vestry(n: vestry pl vestries) A small room in a church where a priest dresses for the services and where the items used during services are kept. (ห้องซึ่งพระใช้เตรียมตัวเพื่อทำพิธีทางศาสนาในโบสถ์) 10000

vicar(n: vicar pl vicars) A priest in the Church of England who is in charge of a particular church. (พระในคริสต์ศาสนานิกายแองกลิแคน) 5000
(n: vicarage pl vicarages) The house of a vicar. (ที่อยู่ของพระในศาสนาคริสต์นิกายแองกลิแคน) 7000

wedding(n: wedding pl weddings) The act of getting married; marrying. (การแต่งงาน) 2000

bonds(n: bond pl bonds) An official document in which a government or company promises to pay back an amount of money that it has borrowed and to pay interest for the borrowed money. She has invested most of her money in stocks and bonds. 3000

glance(v: glance, glances, glanced, glancing) 1. To look at someone or something very quickly. I glanced at my watch. He sat quietly, glancing through a magazine. (ชำเลือง) 2. [usually + off] To hit something and bounce off at an angle. The arrow glanced off the shield. (กระทบแล้วกระเด้งออกไป) 3000

pale(adj: pale, paler, palest) Having a skin color that is closer to white than is usual or normal, either because it is your natural color or you are sick or scared at the time. (ซีด) 3000

resign(v: resign, resigns, resigned, resigning) To give up a job or position in a formal or official way. (ลาออก)
(n: resignation pl resignations) 1. The act of resigning. (การลาออก; การยอมจำนน) 2. A letter etc stating that one is resigning. (จดหมายลาออก) 3000

scandal(n: scandal pl scandals) 1. Behavior which makes people shocked or upset because it is morally or legally wrong. Her love affair caused a great scandal. (เรื่องอับอายขายหน้า) 2. Talk about the shocking or immoral things that people have done or are believed to have done; gossip. (การนินทา) 3. Something that is shocking, upsetting, or unacceptable. The high price of gas these days is a scandal (เรื่องเสียหาย) 4000

stare(v: stare, stares, stared, staring) To look at someone or something directly for a long time without moving your eyes, often with eyes wide open. She was staring out the window. (จ้องมอง) 3000
To 'stare' can suggest looking at someone or something in a rude way because you think they are strange or shocking. Don't stare at people, it's not polite. A word with a similar meaning, 'gaze' suggests looking steadily at someone or something while being deep in thought. She gazed lovingly into his eyes.

stock(n: stock pl stocks) 1. 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) 2. A store of goods in a shop, warehouse etc. Buy while stocks last! (คลังสินค้า) 2000

talent(n: talent pl talents) A special ability that allows someone to do something well; a skill. He is a singer with an enormous amount of talent. I have no musical talent. (ซึ่งมีความสามารถพิเศษ) 3000

worship(v: worship, worships, worshiped, worshiping) 1. To honor or respect someone or something as a god. (สักการะ). 2. To love or honor someone or something very much or too much. As a kid I worshiped my brother. Our society worships money. (เคารพ) 4000

taste(n: taste pl tastes) 1. The sweet, sour, bitter, or salty quality [= flavor] of a thing that you can sense when it is in your mouth. (รสชาติ) 2. A small amount of food or drink that you have in order to see how it tastes. (การชิม) 3. A liking or preference. (ความชอบ) 2000

afraid(adj: afraid) 1. Feeling fear or being frightened [of a person, thing etc]. The child is afraid of the dark. 2. Sorry to have to say that. I'm afraid I don't agree with you. 2000

startle(v: startle, startles, startled, startling) 1. To suddenly surprise or frighten [someone]. The noise startled me. 2. To move or jump suddenly because something surprises or frightens you. (สะดุ้ง) 6000
(n: start, singular) A brief, sudden action or movement. She gave a start when he touched her on the shoulder. (อาการสะดุ้ง) 1000

sharp(adj: sharp, sharper, sharpest) 1. Having a thin edge that is able to cut things or a fine point that is able to make a hole in things. (แหลมคม) 2. [of changes in direction] Sudden and quick. A sharp turn. (ทันทีทันใด) 3. [of speaking] In an angry or unpleasant way. A sharp voice. (รุนแรง) 4. [of a sound] Loud, short, and sudden. (เสียดแทง) 2000

(n: idiom pl idioms) An expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but has a meaning of its own which is generally understood by the native speakers of a language. It's a piece of cake. [= It's very easy.] It costs an arm and a leg. [= It's very expensive.] He has kicked the bucket. [= He is dead.] (สำนวน) 8000

(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

old school(n: old school; adj: old-school) [idiom] The people who think or do things in a traditional or old-fashioned way. He is a politician/teacher of the old school.

mark my words(v: mark my words) [idiom] Used to tell someone to listen carefully to and remember what you are saying about something that you believe will ​happen in the ​future. Mark my words: nothing good will come of this!

teach an old dog new tricks(proverb: You cannot teach an old dog new tricks) Used to say that a person who is old or is used to doing things in a certain way cannot learn or does not want to learn a new way. I tried to get my mother to start using a computer, but she says you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

a heavy heart(idiom: a heavy heart) A feeling of sadness or unhappiness. It is with a heavy heart that I bring you this bad news.

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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