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Delegate vs relegate

Delegate and relegate are two words that are similar in spelling and pronunciation but have very different meanings. We will look at the difference between the definitions of delegate and relegate, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Delegate means to authorize a representative to act on your behalf, to entrust a job or responsibility to someone else. A delegate may mean someone who has been authorized as a representative to act on your behalf, often a … [Read more...]

Dredge vs drudge

Dredge and drudge are two words that are very close in spelling and pronunciation and are often confused. We will look at the difference between the definitions of dredge and drudge, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Drudge means to do menial, hard work or a person who does menial, hard work. Drudge may be used as a noun or an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object. Related words are drudges, drudged, drudging, drudgery. The word … [Read more...]

Down to the wire

Down to the wire is an idiom that was first seen in print in the 1880s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the meaning of the term down to the wire, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Down to the wire describes a situation in which the outcome is not known or decided until the very last moment. The term down to the wire once had a fairly literal meaning. In … [Read more...]

Moonshine

Moonshine is an American term with its roots in British English. We will examine the meaning of the term moonshine, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. The most well-known definition of the word moonshine is illegal liquor, most often brewed in the Appalachian area of the United States. Moonshine may also be used to mean nonsense or a foolish idea, as well as the light shining from the moon. The term moonshine is derived from fifteenth century Britain. At that time, … [Read more...]

Alimentary vs elementary

Alimentary and elementary are two words that are often confused. We will examine the definitions of the words alimentary and elementary, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Alimentary describes something pertaining to food, sustenance or nutrition. The alimentary canal is the path that food takes in an animal or human from its entrance into the mouth to its expulsion from the anus. The word alimentary is derived from the Latin word alimentarius, which … [Read more...]

Latter vs ladder

Latter and ladder are two words that are often confused. We will examine the difference in meaning between latter and ladder, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Latter describes something that occurs near the end of something. Latter also means the second or the last in a series, though for the most part, latter only refers to the comparison of two things. Finally, latter may also mean the most recent. The word latter is derived from the Old English … [Read more...]

Skein vs scan

Skein and scan are two words that are sometimes confused. We will look at the definitions of the words skein and scan, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A skein is a length of yarn or thread that is loosely wound in a coil. A skein is a method of wrapping yarn or thread, and may be of varying lengths depending on the type of material used and how thick it is. The word skein is derived from the Middle French word escaigne, which means a hank of yarn. … [Read more...]

Cockamamie

Cockamamie is an informal American word with an interesting origin story. We will examine the definition of the word cockamamie, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences. Cockamamie describes something that is ridiculous or implausible. The word cockamamie is derived from a French decorating term, décalcomanie. The word décalcomanie was coined to signify a decorating craze of the mid- to late 1800s that involved the use of transfers, or decals, to decorate furniture and … [Read more...]

Earmark

Earmark is a compound word, which is a term made up of two or more words that when used together have a different meaning than the literal interpretation of the separate words. We will examine the meaning of the term earmark, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Earmark means to designate something for a particular purpose or designate something for a particular outcome. Earmark may also mean an identifying characteristic. Earmark may be used as a transitive verb, … [Read more...]

Gaiter vs gator

Gaiter and gator 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 difference in meaning between gaiter and gator, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A gaiter is a covering that protects the lower leg and ankle, usually made of leather or cloth. The plural form is gaiters, and the word is most often used in this form as gaiters come in pairs. Gaiters may … [Read more...]

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