In Vocabulary Builder 20 | The Lewis and Clark Expedition episode, you will learn the words: alliance, bewilder, buffoon, controversial, dishearten, fruitless, hostile, inflammable, inflict, malignant, mortify, orthodox, procure, scurry, sodden, spirited, virtual, void, wayward, and wince.


alliance(n.) a joining together for some common purpose
bewilder(v.) to puzzle completely, confuse
buffoon(n.) a clown; a coarse, stupid person
controversial(adj.) arousing argument, dispute, or disagreement
dishearten(v.) to discourage; cause to lose courage or hope
fruitless(adj.) not producing the desired results, unsuccessful
hostile(adj.) unfriendly; unfavorable; warlike, aggressive
inflammable(adj.) easily set on fire; easily angered or aroused
inflict(v.) to give or cause something unpleasant, impose
malignant(adj.) deadly, extremely harmful, evil; spiteful, malicious
mortify(v.) to hurt someone’s feelings deeply; to cause embarrassment or humiliation; to subdue or discipline by self-denial or suffering
orthodox(adj.) in agreement with established or generally accepted beliefs or ways of doing things
procure(v.) to obtain through special effort; to bring about
scurry(v.) to run quickly, scamper, hurry
sodden(adj.) soaked with liquid or moisture; expressionless, dull; spiritless, listless
spirited(adj.) full of life and vigor; courageous
virtual(adj.) having a certain force or effect in fact but not in name; so close as to be equivalent to the real thing
void(adj.) completely empty; having no legal force or effect; (n.) empty or unfilled space; (v.) to cancel or nullify
wayward(adj.) disobedient, willful; unpredictable, capricious
wince(v.) to draw back suddenly, as though in pain or fear; (n.) the act of drawing back in this way

Podcast Episode


Disclaimer: I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and this problem will be solved. However, the service is pretty good and the transcript will prove to be almost perfect.

Welcome to a new episode from English plus podcast. Today, we will talk about the Lewis and Clark expedition, and we will learn along the way, some words that you can enrich your vocabulary with and use them later in your own conversations and driving. So without further ado, let’s start with a story of Lewis and Clark.

[00:00:30] In 1803 president Thomas Jefferson sent his friend James Monroe to Paris to try to buy the port of new Orleans in the French owned Louisiana territory. Yet when the French response came, it would be wilderness. Both men shortly after negotiations had begun an impatient French official asked Monroe, how much will you give for the whole of Louisiana?

[00:00:57] France needed money for its war with great Britain. An agreement between France and the United States was soon reached for just $15 million. About 3 cents an acre. The United States would procure this huge piece of land. Once the Louisiana purchase had been made, Jefferson asked Mary whether Lewis to lead an expedition to explore the territory.

[00:01:24] The president also hoped that Louis would find a safe water route to the Pacific to ready himself for the journey Lewis engaged in a spirited study of scientific techniques. He also asked his friend William Clark to join him on the trip on may the 14th, 1804 Lewis and Clark, and a group of 42 men calling itself.

[00:01:48] The core of discovery left from st. Louis. As the men followed the Missouri river and struggled to cross the Rockies much happened to this heart in them. They suffered from all the hazards associated with crossing a rugged and often hostile wilderness. Fall or their troubles. However, they never found a fully navigable water route to the Pacific ocean.

[00:02:14] Yet the strenuous journey was far from fruitless. After 18 months, Lewis and Clark reached the Pacific ocean along the way. They had mapped more than 3000 miles. They had learned about new plants and animals. With the help of secretary, we are a Shoshone woman. They had met many native American groups. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, that Lewis and Clark expedition had shown that the United States was a rising nations spread over a wide and fruitful land.

[00:02:49] So that was our story about the Lewis and Clark expedition. I hope you like the story and you learn something new about it, but it’s time now to learn some new words from this story of ours. The first word I’m going to talk about is bewildered. B E w I L D E R. Now in our story, we said it would be, well they’re both men.

[00:03:11] And what bewildered, both men was the response, the unexpected response of the French official who asked, how much will you give us for the whole of Louisiana? The man was going there just to negotiate a port. And now he’s negotiating for the whole state for this huge piece of land. So it was. Bewildering.

[00:03:32] It would be wielder both men. So what is the meaning of bewilder if something bewilders you, it is so confusing or difficult that you cannot understand it. Well, at the time, of course, Monroe did not understand what the man was talking about. Mean. Imagine he went there to buy eggs and the man wants to sell the whole chicken.

[00:03:53] So you get the idea. It was bewildering it be wilderness, both men difficult to understand confusing. And that was our first word. The second word is procure. P R O C U R E. Procure now in our story, we said that the United States bought the whole state of Louisiana for $15 million, about 3 cents an acre.

[00:04:17] The United States would procure this huge piece of land. What is the meaning of procure? In simple terms we can simply say procure is to buy simply to buy, but it has a little more depth in the meaning of it. First of all, it’s a formal word. So you wouldn’t want to use it in your everyday conversation, but it’s a very important and a very common word.

[00:04:40] Even if it is formal, if you procure something, especially something that is difficult to get. You obtain it. Of course, the simple meaning of that is by, but this word has more depth. If you want to use it in this sense, use procure specially if you want to use it in formal situations. So that was our second word procure.

[00:05:02] Now let’s move on to talk about our third word. Spirited. Spirited is spelled SP I R I T E D spirited. Now in our story, we said to ready himself for the journey. Lois engaged in a spirited study of scientific techniques. So it’s not about something that you have to do and you just don’t feel like doing it, but you’re doing it just because you have to do it.

[00:05:28] No, it was a spirited study. I studied with energy. He studied with enthusiasm. That is a spirited study. And when we want to talk about spirited actions, spirited actions, show, great energy and courage. And when we can use spirited as well to talk about people as spirited person is very active, lively, and confident.

[00:05:53] So you get the idea here. We’re not talking about something you’re just doing because you don’t feel okay. I have to do it. So I’ll do it. No, it is something that you’re doing it with all your heart. You put all your heart in it. That’s a spirited study that Lewis engaged in before he embarked on his great expedition.

[00:06:12] And now for our next word, disheartened disheartened is spelled D I S H E a R T E N. Disheartened. And in the story we said, as the men followed the Missouri river and struggled to cross, the Rockies much happened to this heartened them. Does that mean much happen to encourage them or to discourage them the word dishearten and it’s from the heart, this the opposite.

[00:06:39] So it means that something to weaken or destroy the hope, courage or enthusiasm, what happened and to them on the journey may discourage people, but not Lewis and Clark, even those things happen to dishearten them, but they didn’t stop. They never gave up. So that is the word disheartened. Now let’s move to the next word.

[00:07:01] Hostile. Hostile is spelled H O S T I L E hostile. And in our story, we said they suffered from all the hazards associated with crossing a rugged and often hostile wilderness. Or the wilderness we know we’re talking about wild places, maybe wild animals, no food, no water, et cetera. But we’re talking about hostile wilderness.

[00:07:29] It is not a very nice wilderness. It’s not welcoming. It’s not safe. Hostile situations and conditions make it difficult for you to achieve something. And the wilderness was hostile, was making their task even more difficult, but the men never gave up and hostile. Of course, we can use it to talk about people.

[00:07:52] If you are hostile to another person or an idea, you disagree with them or disapprove of them often showing this in your behavior. And someone who is hostile can also be unfriendly and aggressive. So that was about hostile. And now let’s move on to talk about the last word we want to focus on in today’s episode.

[00:08:13] And that is fruitless in our story. We talked about all the difficulties. They didn’t find their way to the Pacific ocean at the beginning. Of course. And all these problems, the disappointments, yeah. The strenuous journey was far from fruitless. It was not fruitless 18 months. They reached the Pacific ocean.

[00:08:36] They mapped more than 3000 miles. They learned about a lot of plants and animals. They met many native American groups, so these were great results for one expedition for one of the most famous expeditions in American history. But here we’re talking about. That was far from fruitless. It was not fruitless because fruitless actions and events or efforts do not achieve anything at all.

[00:09:03] And we can not call this expedition fruitless because it wasn’t, it had a lot of results. The ones I just told you about. So fruitless simply means something that is. Unsuccessful something that is done in vain with no results. It didn’t achieve anything at all. And by the way, fruitless is spelled F R U I T L E S S.

[00:09:26] So these were our words for today, and that was our story. I hope you liked it. I hope you like the words we talked about. Let me remind you that if you take the link you find in the description of this episode, you will get the transcript of this episode. You will get the interactive activities for these words.

[00:09:44] And for 14 more words, because every week we have activities for 20 words, we choose to focus on some of them in a story to make the episode likable and easy to follow. But if you would like to learn more words, take the link and you will find the 20 words, including those six. We just talked about with exercises, with downloadable PDFs, everything you need to make these words permanent in your active vocabulary bank.

[00:10:11] This is your host, Danny. Thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcasts. I will see you next time.

Quizlet Interactive Activities

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