Learn English Language through The Avengers

Hello Everyone,

If your motivation to study English hard cannot be saved, it will be avenged! Haha! These days the movies from the Marvel Universe (Thor, X-Men, Iron Man, Spider Man, etc.) are becoming very popular. A while back Disney bought Marvel, and they plan to bring out a lot of Marvel Universe-centred movies in the future. So, this is a good reason for you to learn some of the vocabulary often used in these movies!

As always:

These videos are being made for two types of English language learners:

1. Those who have studied textbook English hard, but are having trouble understanding cultural references and nuanced English
2. Those who are tired of studying the same way every day, but still want to boost their vocabulary and English language ability through daily practice.


Here are the vocabulary and expressions for those of you who want to quiz yourself later!

Vocabulary and Expressions for Avengers
Term or Expression Definition
And the humans, what can they do but burn What can someone do but something = someone can/will only do something.
This is not a drill This is not a drill = this is not a test/exercise. This is the real situation.
Have you seen anything that might set this thing off? To set something off = to make something explode.
If there’s any tampering, sir, it wasn’t at this end Tampering = to do something/interfere with something to cause damage. To make changes on something without permission.
You have heart To have heart = to have courage/to be brave. This is an old expression that is from the latin word “cor,” meaning heart, which is where the modern English word “courage” comes from.
I come with glad tidings Tidings = news, information. This word is not often used these days.
He means to bury usLike the pharaohs of old To mean to do something = to try/to intend to do somethingPharaohs of old = The old rulers of Egypt to who were buried under the Pyramids.
Of course not, I’m here on behalf of shield To do something on behalf of someone/something = to do something for someone/to do something instead of someone else for someone (usually to help or represent them)
You’ve been more than a year without an incident, I don’t think you want to break that streak To break a streak = to stop/fail doing something that you have successfully done over a long period of time or many times.
This is out of line, director. You’re dealing with forces you can’t control Out of line = not doing what you are supposed to do. Acting badly.
He’s not from around here Someone is not from around here = someone is from another town/city/country. This is a joke because the expression is not usually used when talking about someone from another planet.
Grow a spine, Jarvis, I got a date Grow a spine = be brave, stand up for yourself, don’t be afraid.
The things that are about to come to light Bring/come to light = to make/become widely known.
Trading cards?They’re vintage Vintage = An adjective that means something is old, high quality, and valuable.
You’re gonna love it Doc, we got all the toys Toys = equipment/things that are fun to play with. For a scientist, toys would mean complicated machines and electronics that they can enjoy using.
Near mint Mint = perfect or nearly perfect condition. Example) I just bought this car, it is in mint condition.
Make a move, reindeer games Reindeer games = This is either a joke about the horns on Loki’s head that look like reindeer antlers, or is referring to the failure action movie Reindeer games starring Ben Affleck.
What? Rock of ages giving up so easily? Rock of ages = a musical-comedy-drama film about famous rock stars. Iron man is likely making fun of Loki’s hair/clothing style by saying that he looks like a rock star.
Still, you are pretty spry for an older fellow Spry = active or lively (particularly someone who is old) You are pretty X for a(n) Y = You are very X (adjective) even though you are Y (adjective or noun). Example) He is pretty strong for a child.
What’s your thing, Pilates? Your thing = the thing you enjoy doing or do often. In this case he is asking what Captain America does to become so strong.
You know, doing time as a capsicle Doing time = spending time locked up in prison or unable to move from somewhere.Capsicle = a joke on the words “captain” and “popsicle.”
Doth mother know you weareth her drapes? Doth mother know you weareth her drapes = A phrase taken from Shakespeare to make fun of Thor. Iron Man is saying that Thor looks like he’s wearing women’s clothing. Doth = do. Weareth = wear. Drapes = clothes.
He really grows on you, doesn’t he? Someone/something grows on someone = someone becomes more liked by someone
No hard feelings, point break, you’ve got a mean swing Point break = A movie about extreme sports athletes who do crazy things. He is making fun of Thor by likening him to the adrenaline junkie characters in this movie.Mean swing = to have a strong punch/strike
And I’d like to know how Loki used it to turn two of the sharpest men I know into flying monkeys Sharpest = smartestFlying monkeys = the flying monkey slaves in the Wizard of Oz.
You’ve really got a lid on it, haven’t you? What’s your secret? Mellow jazz? Bongo drums? Huge bag of weed? To have a lid on something = to stop something/to hold down something.What’s your secret = What makes you able to do something?
I think Loki is trying to wind us up To wind someone up = to make someone angry or aggravated. To make someone eventually explode emotionally, similar to the process of winding up a jack in the box toy.
That’s his MO, isn’t it? MO = Short form of the Latin term “modus operandi” which means a way of doing things. In particular, it is often used to describe how a criminal typically does crimes.
Why shouldn’t the guy let off a little steam? To let off steam = To let go of anger/stress or another intense emotion. Usually people do this by either relaxing or engaging in some energetic activity. (Also used in Frozen)
Back offI’m starting to want you to make me Back off = stop it, go away, get away from me.
We have a perimeter breach, hostiles are in shield gear Perimeter breach = perimeter is an area, and breach means to be broken throughHostiles = enemies, bad people
Are you ever not going to fall for that? To fall for something = to be tricked by something/someone to believe something that isn’t true.
I’m clocking out here To clock out = to lose consciousness. Originally this means to leave work (after punching your card in the work clock).
Suit up Suit up = put on your suit/uniform. (You can see the character Barney say this expression a lot in the TV series How I Met Your Mother.
I want eyes on everything To have eyes on something = to make preparations so that you can see everything that is going on somewhere. This can be by camera, person, or some other thing/device.
A man with breath-taking anger management issues Breath-taking = surprising, amazingAnger management issues = to have a problem with controlling one’s anger
They’re fish in a barrel down there Fish in a barrel = from the expression “like shooting fish in a barrel” which means they are easy to kill/hit. Easy targets.
Right, better clench up Legolas Clench up = to tighten your butt muscles to get ready for something, to have courage, make sure you don’t poop your pants because of fear.
Legolas = Iron man is making fun of him saying he is like the Elven archer Legolas from Lord of the Rings.
Jarvis, you ever heard the tale of Jonah?Uh, sir, I wouldn’t consider him a role model Jonah = a person from the bible who is famous for being swallowed by a whale. Iron Man jokes that he wants to copy Jonah by going in the giant flying monster and Jarvis warns against it.
Let’s just take a day Take a day = to take a day off. To take a vacation/holiday.
I don’t think you understand what you’ve started.Letting the avengers loose on this world. To let someone loose on someone/something = to let something go crazy/wild/uncontrolled on someone, usually resulting in damage/destruction.
They are not the cowering wretches we were promised Cowering = standing in fear, afraid.Wretch = horrible, useless, weak and despicable.
There’s a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. I don’t know what it is, but I wanna try it Shawarma = Middle-Eastern food, is kind of like a burrito with different kinds of meat and sauces in it.Joint = Old English word used since 1877 for “place, building, establishment,” which is used to refer to restaurants, stores and even prisons.

Report Card Summary


Genuine Language Usage: As a heavily fiction-based movie, a lot of the characters do not act like typical people. As such, they don’t use a lot of language that I would consider to be genuine every-day English. A good example is Iron Man, who excessively makes cultural reference jokes with almost everything he says. It isn’t common that a person can be quick enough to think of this many cultural reference jokes to use sequentially, so I don’t consider it a very good example for ESL learners. A lot of the other dialogue in this movie is similarly not genuine, and made mostly to humour and entertain the audience.

Educational Value: If you really enjoy comic books, then this movie will be great for you. There are a lot of Marvel Universe specific vocabulary that you need to know if you want to really get into this series. However, in terms of the actual amount of English you can take away and use in daily life, there is not much.

Fun Factor: I love super-hero movies, especially ones by Marvel. There are moments in this movie where my heart just tingles with excitement because of all the cool stuff going on! In terms of enjoyability, I recommend watching this movie.


If you have any questions or comments about the vocabulary please leave a comment and please don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!