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[Report] SENEWS-2007-09-09 Report

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Now the VOA Special English program Words And Their Stories.

Some unusuable words describe how a person spends his or her time. For example, someone who likes to spend a lot of time sitting or lying down while watching television is sometimes called "a couch potato". A couch is a piece of furniture that people sit on while watching television. Robert A., an artist from California developed the term "couch potato" in 1976. Several years later, he listed the term as a trademark with the United States government. Mr A. also helped write a funny book about life as of fulltime television watcher. It is called the official couch potato handbook. Couch potatos enjoy watching television just as mouse potatos enjoy working on computers. A computer mouse is a device that moves point or cursor on a computer screen. The description of mouse potato became popular in 1993. American writer A.C. is said to have invented the term to describe young people who spend a lot of time using computers.

Too much time inside the house using a computer or watching television can call someone to get cabin fever. A cabin is a simple house usually built far away from the city. People go to a cabin to relax and enjoy quiet time. Cabin fever is not really a disease. However, people can experience bother and restlessness if they spend too much time inside their homes. This is especially true during winter when it is too cold or snowy to do things outside. Often children get cabin fever if they can not go outside to play, so do their parents. This happens when there is so much snow that schools and even offices and stores are closed.

Some people enjoy spending a lot of time in their homes to make them nice places to live. This is called nesting or /. Birds build nests out of sticks to hold their eggs and baby birds. Some insects build / around themselves for protection while they grow and change. Nests and / provide security for wild life, so people like the idea of nests and / too. The terms / and nesting became popular more than twenty years ago. They describe people buying their first homes and / with many things. These people then have children. Now these children are growing and have left the nest. They are in college or they are married, and starting families of their own far away. Now these parents are living alone without children in their empty nest. They have become empty nesters.

This VOA Special English Program Words And Their Stories was written by Jill Moss. I'm F.L.
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