Our vocabulary lesson today comes out of Singapore, where the government has been applying economic policy measures to mitigate the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on their economy.

Our text is selection taken from an editorial column published by the Straits Times. The title is: Covid-19’s impact to still weigh on Singapore’s economy in 2021

“The deferment of loan repayments for small and medium-sized enterprises, the higher thresholds for bankruptcy and insolvency as well as moratoriums on legal action over rents and contracts, have also handed a lifeline to thousands of companies.”

Khanna, Vikram. “Covid-19’s impact to still weigh on Singapore’s economy in 2021”. Straights Times, January 2, 2021. Accessed January 4, 2021.


Our first highlighted word is “deferment” as in “deferment of loan repayments”. This noun comes from the verb “to defer”, which means to postpone or to delay.

So, a deferment is a postponement. Next you saw the word “thresholds”, as in “higher thresholds for bankruptcy”.  Threshold is a noun, and in this context, it refers to an established limit.

Then came “moratorium”, in the context of “moratoriums on legal action”. A moratorium is an authorization to delay something from happening.

So, in this case, a moratorium on legal action means that for now, legal action cannot be pursued – it is temporarily halted.

And finally, “lifeline”, as in “handed a lifeline to thousands of companies”. To understand this noun, imagine that you are drowning in the ocean, and someone in a boat throws you a rope to save your life. They have thrown you a “lifeline”.

That’s all for this lesson. I hope to see you again soon. As always, your comments are welcome below. Let me know what is happening in your country with regards to deferments of loan repayments, moratoriums on legal action, and established thresholds for insolvency.



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