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Equinox vs solstice

The equinox is the time when the sun crosses the celestial equator, which makes day and night very nearly of equal length. An equinox occurs twice a year, the vernal equinox marks the first day of spring and the autumnal equinox marks the first day of fall. Equinox is derived from the Medieval Latin word equinoxium, meaning equality of night and day. The solstice is the time when the sun reaches either its year-high point in the sky at noon, or when the sun reaches year-low point in the sky … [Read more...]

Vaudeville

Vaudeville is a genre of live entertainment that was popular in the United States and Canada from the 1890s through the 1920s. Vaudeville consisted of many independent acts that involved skits, drama, dancing, singing, music, trained animals and any number of interesting talents such as juggling and plate-spinning. Generally, these acts traveled from town to town, independently. Many legendary American entertainers had their starts in vaudeville, including Fred Astaire, Abbot and Costello and … [Read more...]

Spinster

A spinster is a middle-aged or older woman who has never married. Spinster is a derogatory term, do not use it. Spinster is sometimes seen in legal documents, though even there, it is falling out of use. In the 1300s, when the word spinster was first used, it described a woman whose occupation was spinning thread or yarn. At the time, unmarried women were supposed to keep themselves busy, usually by spinning. In the early 1700s the word spinster came to mean any unmarried woman who was beyond … [Read more...]

Firefly and lightning bug

A firefly is a nocturnal beetle that is bioluminescent. There are over two thousand species of fireflies, they are found the world ever. The firefly's bioluminescence is in its abdominal organs and is used by the males and females to signal each other during courtship. The substance that allows fireflies to emit their light is called luceferin, the color of this light may be yellow, green or even red. The word firefly appears around the 1650s, the plural form is fireflies. Lightning bug is … [Read more...]

Put one’s best foot forward

Put one's best foot forward means to make the best impression one can, or to get off to a good start. The origin of this phrase is murky. One theory is that to put one's best foot forward refers to starting a journey with your best or strongest foot. Another theory is that the left side was considered the sinister, evil or unlucky side. Therefore, one would start out on the right foot in order to ensure blessings or good luck. Shakespeare wrote: "Nay, but make haste; the better foot before." in … [Read more...]

Antlers vs horns

Antlers are branched bony structures grown by mostly male members of the deer family, though female reindeer or caribou also sport antlers. Antlers appear to grow as a pair, though in fact they sprout from a single bony plate located above the skull. Generally, antlers grow from the spring through the summer. Antlers are covered with velvet while growing, once the antlers have achieved their full potential the velvet dries up and is rubbed off by the deer. In the winter and after mating season … [Read more...]

Silviculture

Silviculture is the science of the cultivation of trees to meet diverse needs. Silviculture is a branch of the science of forestry. Many different silvicultural systems are used to establish and maintain healthy forest growth, including clearcutting, seed-tree, shelterwood and selection. Trees are replenished in various ways, including seeds, seedlings and cuttings. The word silviculture is derived from the Latin word silva meaning wood and the French word culture meaning cultivation. Related … [Read more...]

Tacit vs taciturn

Tacit describes something that is understood without being overtly or directly expressed. Tacit also means something that is in effect by virtue of the operation of the law, it needn't be explicitly expressed. Tacit is an adjective, related words are tacitly, tacitness. The word tacit comes from the Latin word tacitus, which means achieved without words, assumed as a matter of course, silent. Taciturn refers to a person who is uncommunicative, someone who is disinclined to talk. Taciturn is … [Read more...]

Didactic vs pedantic

Didactic refers to something that is intended to teach something or demonstrate something, especially something to do with morality. Didactic instruction is characterized as ponderous, boring, or pushing a moral agenda in an underhanded fashion. Didactic comes from the Greek word didaktikosm, which means apt at teaching. Didactic is an adjective, related words are didactically, didacticism. Pedantic means focusing too much on trivial details when discussing or teaching material. A pedantic … [Read more...]

Spoof

Spoof describes a humorous parody or satire or the act of producing a humorous parody or satire. Spoof may also describe a prank or joke, or playing a prank or joke. Spoof¬† is used as a noun or a verb, related words are spoofs, spoofed, spoofing, spoofer, spoofery. The word spoof was coined by a British comedian, Arthur Roberts, in the late 1800s to mean a hoax or deception or the act of creating a hoax or deception. In the early 1900s spoof also came to mean a humorous parody or satire or the … [Read more...]

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