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Morbid vs moribund

Morbid and moribund are two words that very close in pronunciation and spelling, but mean two different things. We will look at the difference between the words morbid and moribund, and look at their common roots. In addition, we will provide examples to show the difference in their use. Morbid is an adjective which describes someone who has an abnormally intense interest in unpleasant or gruesome subjects such as suffering, disease and death. Being morbid may be a lifelong mindset or only … [Read more...]

Six ways from Sunday

Six ways from Sunday is an idiom that has undergone many changes over the last several hundred years. We will talk about the meaning, origin and variations of the term six ways from Sunday, as well as provide several examples of use. The idiom six ways from Sunday means in every way possible, having done something completely, having addressed every alternative. Six ways from Sunday seems to have its origins in the middle eighteenth century as the phrases both ways from Sunday and two ways … [Read more...]

W00t

W00t is a relatively new word that is spelled with both letters and numbers. We'll look at where the term w00t came from and where it is used, as well as provide a few examples. W00t first appears in the mid-1990s, online. W00t is an exclamation of joy, of triumph, of success. The word w00t is an example of leet, which is an online language that consists of letters and numbers combined into words. There is some discussion as to the origin of the word w00t. Some link it to the song Whoot, … [Read more...]

Throw in the towel

The idiom throw in the towel, like so many idioms, was first used in a literal sense. We'll look at the meaning of throw in the towel, where the phrase came from, its evolution, and some current examples of its use. Throw in the towel was originally a prize-fighting or boxing term. When a fighter was unable or unwilling to continue fighting his opponent, then his representative would throw a towel in the middle of the ring to signal their fighter was finished. Fighters sweat and bleed in the … [Read more...]

Contiguous vs continuous

Contiguous and continuous are very close in spelling and pronunciation, the two words are easily confused. However, there is a distinct difference in meaning between contiguous and continuous which we will define, with examples that will illustrate those differences. Contiguous describes two or more things that share a border, two or more things that touch, that are physically next to each other. For instance, the forty-eight states that make up the mainland of the United States are contiguous, … [Read more...]

Bridezilla

Bridezilla is an American term that was first used in the 1990s. We can even pinpoint the first use of the term bridezilla, along with the person who coined the word. Bridezilla is a portmanteau, which is a word that is composed by blending the sounds and the meaning of two different words. In this case, bridezilla blends the word bride with the word Godzilla to create a term that describes a woman who plans her wedding without regard to others, a woman who is demanding and difficult to please … [Read more...]

Big kahuna

Big kahuna is an idiom that is derived from the native Hawaiian language. The word kahuna has gone through many variations in translation until it finally joined the English language in the middle of the twentieth century in the idiom the big kahuna, a term many Hawaiians find offensive. The first known translation of the Hawaiian word kahuna appeared in an 1865 Hawaiian-English dictionary as a derivation of the word kahu, which means to cook in an earthen oven. At this time, kahuna was … [Read more...]

Equivocate vs prevaricate

The words equivocate and prevaricate sound similar and have similar meanings, but there is a definite difference between the two. We will identify the similarities and differences, as well as show you some examples of the proper use of the words equivocate and prevaricate. Equivocate means to speak vaguely, to use ambiguous language in order to remain noncommittal or to hide the truth. Equivocate is an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not require an object. Related words are … [Read more...]

GIF

GIF is a word that is only about thirty years old but has undergone quite an evolution in meaning. And even though GIFs are now pervasive, many people are still unaware of the correct pronunciation. The word GIF is in reality an acronym for Graphic Interchange Format. This method of rendering a computer file compresses the image, rendering the file smaller without degrading the quality of the image. These smaller image files proved extremely handy in the days of the dial-up modem. The GIF was … [Read more...]

Annual, perennial or biennial

Annual, perennial and biennial are related words that are particularly used in gardening terminology. In general, annual describes something that occurs once a year, such as an annual Christmas party, or something that lasts for one year, such as an annual magazine subscription. In gardening terminology, annual describes a plant with a life cycle that takes less than a year to complete, from germination to seed production. Bedding plants that must be replanted each spring are annual plants. … [Read more...]

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