A philippic is a written or verbal speech or essay that is full of anger or bitterness against a person, company, or idea. Common synonyms are tirade or diatribe. The plural form is philippics. This term comes from the Greek word given to the speeches spoken against Philip II of Macedon. Subsequent speeches were called, in Greek, 'speeches relating to Philip'. Centuries later the term was applied to similar diatribes given against Marc Antony. When one is referring to these specific … [Read more...]

Collocate vs colocate

Collocate is a verb that is defined as words  or items being set side by side. It is discussed in length in this post. This word has been around since the early 1500s. Colocate is a verb that means to place two or more items closely together, sometimes in order to use a shared resource. An alternative spelling includes a hyphen, co-locate, though at least one prominent dictionary did not list it. The hyphenated spelling is the first listing in some European dictionaries, with no alternative … [Read more...]

Pooh-bah or poobah

A pooh-bah is a person who has a lot of power in government, usually by holding several positions or offices at the same time. Sometimes the pooh-bah knows that he or she has this power and is pompous or overemphasizes his or her worth. The plural is pooh-bahs. The term is sometimes capitalized because it started out as a proper noun. Pooh-Bah comes from a fictional work written in 1885, where the Grand Pooh-Bah acts much like the definition listed above. In our research, we found that it … [Read more...]

Esoteric vs archaic

Esoteric describes something or someone has being difficult to comprehend, that the number of people who actually understand the concept is limited to a special few. The adverb form is esoterically. Archaic is a term for things or people that are ancient, and sometimes ancient and not of pertinence anymore. Some synonyms include out-dated or obsolete. The adverb form is archaically. Note here that each half of the definition can be interchangeable. Archaic items can be old but useful, old … [Read more...]


Pithy is an adjective to describe something or someone as being particularly good with words in a way uses few words and is clever. There is sometimes an associated level of enthusiasm about the words or the person declaring them. Something can be pithier and the pithiest. The adverb form is pithily and the noun form is pithiness. The adjective, pithy, may also be describing something or someone has having a lot of pith. Pith has several varied definitions. Foremost, it is the white layer … [Read more...]

Voluptuous vs voluminous

Voluptuous, besides being commonly misspelled and mispronounced, is an adjective that describes something or someone as appealing to the senses (e.g., sight, touch, taste). Most commonly it is used to describe a woman's physique as visually appealing. The adverb and noun forms are voluptuously and voluptousness, respectively. Voluminous is an adjective that describes something or someone as extremely big or taking up a lot of space. It is most commonly used in reference to clothing, … [Read more...]


Peckish is an adjective which can mean to be bothered/annoyed or to be famished. The hungry meaning is most popular in British English. The annoyed definition is quite less common, and almost exclusively found within the United States. The adjective comes from the verb peck, which can mean to strike the ground with a beak or to pick at food and eat slowly. A third definition is to kiss quickly. The noun form of this adjective is peckishness, but it is not recognized by most dictionaries as … [Read more...]

How’s it going

The idiom how's it going is another way to say how are you, how are things progressing, or what's up. The it can refer to life in general, a project, or your day. It should be noted that this idiom is said in many countries with the answer expected to be fine or good. This is not usually what a person says when he or she truly wants details of your life or day. Often this is said as a continuation of the greeting (e.g., Hi, how's it going?), and the return answer should also be a continuation … [Read more...]

Compared to or compared with

To compare two things is to evaluate them in reference to each other, their similarities and their differences. Both prepositions to and with may be used with this verb (e.g., compared to and compared with). In most situations they can be interchangeable and your meaning will be clear. A century ago, with was the favorite. Now it has fallen out of favor and compared to is found more often. If you or your audience are focused on nuances, there is a traditional distinction between the two … [Read more...]

Summa cum laude or magna cum laude

Cum laude is a phrase used mainly in the United States, though it is found in other countries as well. It is Latin and literally means with praise. It is used by universities and colleges to set some graduates apart as having honors. Magna cum laude is the next level up, meaning something like great honors. Summa cum laude means greatest honors. Each university sets their own distinctions for earning each honor. Rare honors can include egregia cum laude and maxima cum laude. The most … [Read more...]

About Grammarist
Contact | Privacy policy | Home
© Copyright 2009-2014 Grammarist