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Symbol vs cymbal

Symbol and cymbal are two words that are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will look at the meaning of the words symbol and cymbal, where the words come from and some examples of their use in sentences. A symbol is a marking or character that is a representation of an object, a process, an organization, a company, etc. A symbol may also refer to something that stands for something else, it is often used as a literary … [Read more...]

From soup to nuts

From soup to nuts is an idiom from the United States. An idiom is a phrase that is usually meant figuratively. We will look at the meaning of the term from soup to nuts, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. From soup to nuts means from the beginning to the end, the whole thing, the entire gamut. The term from soup to nuts comes from the full-course dinner served during the 1800s, which typically started with a soup course and ended with port served with nuts. A full … [Read more...]

Suede vs swayed

Suede and swayed are two words that are sometimes confused. Though they are pronounced the same way, they are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will look at the meanings of the words suede and swayed, where these words come from and some examples of their use in sentences. Suede is a type of leather in which the flesh side is treated in a way that renders it velvety soft. Lamb, goat, calf and deer hides are the primary sources of suede. Because of its … [Read more...]

Tole vs toll

Tole and toll are two words that are spelled differently and have different meanings but are pronounced in the same fashion. They are homophones. We will look at the meanings of the words tole and toll, where the words come from and some examples of their use in sentences. Tole is a decorative type of painting that is applied to metal or wooden surfaces or decorative lacquer that is applied to metal or wooden surfaces. Tole is a type of folk art that stems from Germany or the Scandinavian … [Read more...]

Whine vs wine

Whine and wine are two words that are pronounced the same way but have different meanings and spellings. They are homophones. We will examine the difference in meaning between whine and wine, where these words come from and some examples of their use in sentences. A whine is a high-pitched cry or moan that is a complaint, a tone of voice that sounds like a complaint or a petulant complaint. Whine may also refer to a a high-pitched, annoying sound. Whine is also used as an intransitive verb, … [Read more...]

Going to rack and ruin

Going to rack and ruin is phrase that dates back to the latter 1500s. We will look at the meaning of the term going to rack and ruin, where it came from, an alternative spelling and some examples of its use in sentences. Going to rack and ruin is a phrase that means to deteriorate, to fall into disrepair, to become dilapidated. Related phrases are go to rack and ruin, goes to rack and ruin, went to rack and ruin. The word rack in this case is a derivation of the word wrack, an archaic word … [Read more...]

Skeleton in the closet and skeleton in the cupboard

A skeleton in the closet and a skeleton in the cupboard are idioms that have been around since the 1800s. An idiom is a phrase that is used figuratively and is generally not to be taken literally. We will examine the meaning of a skeleton in the closet and a skeleton in the cupboard, where the terms come from and some examples of their use in sentences. A skeleton in the closet is a piece of information that is hidden away due to its scandalous nature or ability to negatively impact one's … [Read more...]

Great Scott!

Great Scott! is and interjection that dates from the 1800s. It is a minced oath, which is an oath in which the profane or offensive word is replaced with a euphemism in order to make the term suitable for all audiences. We will look at the meaning of the term Great Scott!, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Great Scott! is an exclamation of dismay or surprise. Many people first encountered this term by watching the Back to the Future movies, Great Scott! was a … [Read more...]

Once in a blue moon

Once in a blue moon is an idiom that goes back to medieval times, though the meaning has changed from the original. We will look at the definition of once in a blue moon, where the term comes from, how the meaning has changed and some examples of its use in sentences. Once in a blue moon means rarely, seldom, not happening very often. The idiom is taken from a common term for an astronomical event. A blue moon is the second full moon that occurs within a calendar month. Since lunar months and … [Read more...]

Cold turkey

Cold turkey is a term that originated in North America with a slightly different meaning than the one it carries today. We will look at the definition of the term cold turkey, how its meaning has changed, and some examples of its use in sentences. Cold turkey means to quit something abruptly and without preparation or fanfare. Presumably, the term echos the idea of a cold turkey dinner which is one that does not take a lot of preparation and is presented without fanfare. Primarily but not … [Read more...]

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