Knave vs nave

  A knave is someone (usually a man) who has no morals or ethics, is dishonest or deceitful. It is also the name for a Jack in a deck of playing cards. A nave is a hub of a wheel or the part of a church that is long and narrow. Examples And while he's put together a fine cast, it sometimes leans too heavily on guest stars; it's a treat to see James Spader, as in "Lincoln," once again playing a fancy knave, but when Meryl Streep shows up as a minister's wife it feels like a joke … [Read more...]

Trooper or trouper

If someone is a trouper he or she does what needs to be done without complaining or whining. A trouper is also part of a troupe, or a group of people, usually an acting troupe or theatre troupe. If someone is a trooper he or she is a soldier at entry level or an officer in the police. In British English it is also a ship used to move troops. Both words come from the French troupe, which carries the same meaning as today. Some dictionaries list trooper as a synonym of trouper, however, … [Read more...]


Sangfroid means to keep your cool, or to stay calm under great strain. One can be sangfroid or show great sangfroid. Sometimes dictionaries list a spelling variation as sang-froid with a hyphen. This comes from the original French spelling. However, most of English usage drops the hyphen. In French sang-froid means cold blood. To be cold-blooded in English is a bad thing, meaning to have no emotion in a situation that should elicit great emotion. However, if one's blood is cold instead of … [Read more...]


  An ignoramus is a word for a person without any intelligence, an extremely dumb individual. It is a pejorative term meant to be an insult. The plural is ignoramuses. Some dictionaries list ignorami as a variation of the plural, but this is a backformation by those who suppose since ignoramus comes from Latin that it would have the Latin -i plural. However, in the original Latin, ignoramus was a verb, not a noun, and would still have the -es plural. Originally it was as an … [Read more...]

Factious vs facetious

Factious is an adjective describing something or someone has having to do with factions, or separate groups within a larger body, usually separated by a belief or proclivity. It has derivatives of factiously and factiousness, though these are rarely used. It is pronounced \ˈfak-shəs\ (fact shish). Facetious, on the other hand, is a word to describe something or someone as intentionally funny, though usually failing to attain humor or inappropriate. It also has two derivatives … [Read more...]

Razzmatazz or razzamatazz

A razzmatazz is a ploy to attract attention, it is usually loud or exuberant. It is thought to come from razzle-dazzle, and carries the connotation that the action is done to deceive or distract someone. It has no plural. Razzamatazz is a variant spelling of razzmatazz, and it is extremely less common. Some list it as the British spelling, however, it is found both inside and outside the Unites States. However, in Spanish the word stays as razzmatazz. Examples He must block out all the … [Read more...]

Parlor or parlour

This is another United States and British division. A parlor (or parlour) is a room in the house specifically used to entertain guests. The custom of having a parlor has become less common. More likely you will hear the word in reference to a shop or business that is specific to one type of service (e.g., a massage parlor or a tattoo parlor) or a restaurant that sells one type of food (e.g., ice cream parlor). It can also be used as an adjective. A parlor trick is a simple magic trick, or … [Read more...]


Oases is the plural of oasis, and it is pronounced \ō-ˈā-ˌsēz\ (oh a ceez).  An oasis is a location with water in a desert, or figuratively can be a happy place surrounded by sadness. This can also be used for a period of time when things were good. It makes the adjective oasitic pronounced (oh uh sit ick), as well as oasal and oasean. Examples My first stint as Miss America for hire had been that September, in the desert oasis of Dunhuang, for the city’s International Grape Festival. … [Read more...]


A mouthful is the maximum amount a mouth will contain. It can also mean something that is extremely hard to pronounce, or something said that has a lot of meaning. The plural is mouthfuls. This word falls into the category of words with the suffix -ful. While this suffix means full, it is never spelled with two l's unless it is in the adverb form (e.g., cheerfully). Since an adverb form of mouthful  does not exist, it should never be spelled with two l's. However several mouths full of … [Read more...]


To jones for something is to want it very badly. It is commonly used with a drug addiction when the addict wants a hit of whatever drug he or she uses. You can also have a jones or a craving. The plural is joneses. The phrase keeping up with the Joneses means to measure yourself or household by what your neighbors do or buy. It started as a comic strip in 1913. If you are referring to the possessive, it would be Jones's. Examples “You know what I see when I look at my wrist. My … [Read more...]

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