Prank call or crank call

A prank call is when someone calls a telephone line for the sole purpose of playing a prank or joke on the receiving end. The call is supposed to be anonymous and seen as funny for the prankster and slightly annoying for the user. Oftentimes it is associated with children or immature behavior. The person making the telephone call is a prank caller. A crank call is another name for prank call, though some make a differentiation between the two by saying a crank call  is the name for a prank … [Read more...]

April Fool’s or April Fools’

The occasion celebrated on the first day of April is officially called April Fools' Day in the United States. Each word of the title is capitalized and the fool is plural possessive. The singular fool's is listed as a variant spelling. However, this is not standardized and the main listing seems to vary from dictionary to dictionary (i.e., whether the plural or the singular is listed as the main spelling). Actual usage seems to support this non-preference, with both spellings being used about … [Read more...]


A chinwag is a conversation, usually small-talk or gossip. It is mainly used outside the United States. It may sometimes be seen as two words and this is an official variant spelling. It can also be a verb. To chinwag is to chat or gossip. The past tense is chinwagged, the present tense is chinwags, and the progressive tense is chinwagging. The two word spelling variation does carry over to the verb form, as in chin wagging and chin wagged. It should be noted that this word is informal and … [Read more...]

Fatuous vs facetious

Fatuous is an adjective that describes something or someone as absurd or brainless. It comes from the Latin word for foolish. The adverb form is fatuously and the noun form is fatuousness. Facetious is also an adjective. It describes something or someone as being deliberately casual or silly in serious matters and with inappropriate humor. Good synonyms are flippant, glib, and tongue-in-cheek.  The adverb form is facetiously and the noun form is facetiousness. It should be noted that most … [Read more...]

Be patient or have patience

Patient is an adjective that means to be amenable to waiting or accepting of delays. It is accompanied with peacefulness and a calm nature. Patience is the noun form of the adjective patient. One can be an adjective and have a noun. In all uses, either form is correct as long as the corresponding verb agrees. The verbs be and have can be conjugated through all tenses. However, it should be noted that be patient is used ten times more often than have patience. This was not always the … [Read more...]

-emia or -aemia

Both -emia and -aemia mean that there is a certain substance in one's blood. For example, hypoglycemia (or hypoglycaemia) is the condition of having too little sugar or glucose in one's blood. This suffix is mainly used in medical terminology. It also has variants of -hemia and -haemia. All these variants come from the Greek word for blood haima. The United States and Canada prefer -emia while other English-speaking countries around the world prefer -aemia. Though there is some crossover … [Read more...]

Bingeing or binging


A binge is an interval of time where one engages in an activity without limits. It is usually used in reference to eating or drinking alcohol. To binge is to be excessive in an activity, most usually eating. In recent years this has expanded to watching television shows or movies in consecutive order. With video streaming services, entire seasons or collections of media is available at a single time and one can binge for an entire weekend. There is even a compound verb binge-watch, though the … [Read more...]

Bill of goods

A bill of goods, as a phrase, has two meanings. The less common is a delivery of goods, a consignment. The more common definition is something that is knowingly presented in a false way, usually with the intent to deceive or gain something by the trickery. The vast majority of the time it is used with the verb sell. Occasionally one will see the phrase with the verb buy. Using the modifier false is slightly repetitive and isn't necessary. The plural is the awkward bills of goods. It is … [Read more...]

Bespeak vs bespoke

Bespeak is a verb that means to contract or hire a person or services before the necessary time. It also means to tell about something before it happens, like a prediction. Bepeak can mean a sign or evidence of something or to ask for something. The other forms of this verb include bespoke, bespoken, and bespeaking. However, bespoke has another meaning as well. It is used as an adjective for clothing, services, or even software that is made specifically for one person. Bespoke is also used … [Read more...]

Approbation vs approval

Approval is a noun that means deeming something or someone as good, acceptable, or within one's requirements. It can also mean to give permission. Approbation is a mass noun that means praise or approval. It is a direct synonym for the first definition of approval. It has two adjective forms, approbative and approbatory. Approbation is much more formal than approval, rarer, and less likely to be understood. Interestingly, as widely known as approval is now, that is how … [Read more...]

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