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Retcon

Retcon is a relatively new word that was first included in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2012. We will examine the definition of the word retcon, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Retcon is a literary device in which new information is introduced that puts a new meaning on previous events in the story.  Retcon may be used as a noun or a verb, related words are retconned, retconning. While the use of a retcon may be a clever twist in a story, usually readers or … [Read more...]

Atlas

The word atlas was first used in the late 1500s. We will examine the meaning of the word atlas, its interesting origins, and some examples of its use in sentences. An atlas is a collection of geographical data, primarily a compendium of maps. An atlas may show topological features, geographical boundaries, economic statistics, etc. The geographer Gerardus Mercator published the first atlas in 1595, titled Atlas Sive Cosmographicae Meditationes de Fabrica Mundi et Fabricati Figura. This first … [Read more...]

Ignominious vs ignoble

Ignominious and ignoble are two words that are sometimes confused. We will examine the differing definitions of ignominious and ignoble, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Ignominious describes something or someone who deserves disgrace or dishonor. Something or someone who is ignominious receives a deserved public shaming or embarrassment. The word ignominious is derived from the Latin word ignominiosus which means shameful. Related words are … [Read more...]

Aspersion vs dispersion

Aspersion and dispersion are two words that are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of aspersion and dispersion, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. An aspersion is an attack on someone's character or integrity. The word aspersion also means to sprinkle with something, such as sprinkling water during a religious ceremony. It is derived from the Latin word aspersionem. Today, one rarely sees the word aspersion used outside of the idiom … [Read more...]

Over the hump

Over the hump is an idiom with roots in World War II. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meaning of the expression over the hump, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Over the hump describes a situation in which one has already endured the most difficult part of something, the point where one may relax and coast into success. … [Read more...]

Pan out

The idiom pan out has been in use since the mid-1800s. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the definition of the expression pan out, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. To pan out describes something that turns out successfully, something that worked the way it should have or has turned out well. Pan out may also simply refer to … [Read more...]

Graveyard shift

The term graveyard shift is an interesting idiom that has nothing to do with working in a graveyard. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meaning of the term graveyard shift, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. The graveyard shift is a work shift that spans the overnight hours, typically from midnight until dawn. Rarely does a graveyard shift take place … [Read more...]

Amber vs ember

Amber and ember are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but have very different meanings. We will look at the definitions of amber and ember, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Amber is a particular type of fossil, composed of tree resin. Amber occurs in a range of colors including, yellow, brown, green, black and blue. By far, yellow and brown are the most common colors of amber. Blue is the rarest color of amber and only accounts … [Read more...]

Unsung hero

Unsung hero is a term that first appeared in the mid-1800s, though it has its roots in ancient Greece. We will examine the meaning of the term unsung hero, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. An unsung hero is a person who has achieved great things or committed acts of bravery or self-sacrifice, yet is not celebrated or recognized. An unsung hero may be someone who acts bravely in battle without notice, or someone who sacrifices himself for the good of the group, … [Read more...]

Hump day

Hump day is primarily a North American idiom that some may find confusing. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the definition of hump day, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Hump day is an idiom that means Wednesday, a day of the week. The term hump day first appeared in the 1960s in North America, most probably in business … [Read more...]

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