Sarcophagus

A sarcophagus is a stone coffin. The plural form in Latin is sarcophagi, and in English it is sarcophaguses. Both are correct, though sarcophagi is by far the more accepted spelling. History The original Greek word sarkophagos meant "eating flesh", and was usually paired with the word lithos or … [Read more...]

Smokey vs. smoky

Smokey is a proper noun and first name, whereas smoky is an adjective referring to an object being filled with or smelling of smoke. Until recently smokey was an accepted spelling of smoky in the Oxford English Dictionary. However, it is now thought of as … [Read more...]

Headwind

Headwind is a wind that blows directly opposite of forward motion, or from the front. Headwind can also be used to describe anything that opposes growth or movement. It should always be spelled as one word, but can be singular or plural depending on context. The antonym for headwind is tailwind, … [Read more...]

Machine gun vs. machine-gun

Machine gun is a noun phrase that is defined as a weapon that fires bullets rapidly as long as the trigger is held down. When hyphenated, as machine-gun, the word becomes an adjective used to describe things that happen very quickly. Machine-gun can also be a verb, to shoot something with a machine … [Read more...]

Absorption vs. adsorption

Absorption is the process by which things are absorbed. Adsorption, on the other hand, describes the act of gas or liquid molecules adhering to a surface. Both words are commonly misspelled as absorbtion and adsorbtion. This spelling error is usually corrected automatically by a computer's … [Read more...]

Orthopedic vs. orthopaedic

Orthopedic is the Americanized version of the word orthopaedic. Both refer to the medical specialty focusing on the body’s musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. Orthopaedic comes from the Greek orthos (straight) and paidion (child), which … [Read more...]

Manner vs. manor

A manner is (1) a way of doing something, (2) a bearing or demeanor, and (3) a type. The plural form, manners, refers to a manner of behavior considered to be social correct. Constructions involving manner can often be shortened to single adverbs. For example, in a calm manner and in a public … [Read more...]

Tenant vs. tenet

A tenet is a principle held as being true, especially by an organization or a group of people. A tenant is (1) someone who pays rent to occupy property; (2) a dweller in a place; and, (3) in law, one who holds or possesses lands, tenements, or property by any kind of title. Examples Tenet He … [Read more...]

Rivaled/rivaling vs. rivalled/rivalling

In American English, the verb rival is usually inflected rivaled and rivaling, with one l. Outside the U.S., the more traditional double-l forms, rivalled and rivalling, are standard. Rival is one of a class of l-ending verbs whose inflected forms have lost the second l in American English. This … [Read more...]

Lay out vs. layout

Lay out is a phrasal verb meaning (1) to make a plan, (2) to knock to the ground, (3) to explain or describe, (4) to display, (5) to arrange, and (6) to prepare a corpse for a funeral. Like many phrasal verbs, it has a corresponding one-word form that functions as both a noun and an adjective but … [Read more...]

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