Mean vs mien

Mean may be used as a verb to (1) indicate, signify or refer to a certain thing (2) indicate genuine intention (3) refer to the consequence of a certain thing or action (4) show the importance or value of a certain item or happening. Mean may be used as an adjective to indicate (1) unkindness or cruelty (2) malice (3) low social status (4) poor or shabby (5) miserly, stingy (6) skillful (slang) Mean may be used as a noun to indicate (1) the midway point (2) in mathematics, the number that … [Read more...]

Once in a lifetime vs once-in-a-lifetime

Once in a lifetime is a phrase that means an event or opportunity that is not likely to be repeated. The phrase once in a lifetime was first recorded in 1854, and can mean an event or opportunity that literally will not be repeated within one's lifetime, or more usually, is an exaggeration that refers to an event or opportunity that happens very infrequently. If the phrase once in a lifetime is used to describe when the event or opportunity happens, (it happens once in a lifetime), it is used … [Read more...]

Firsthand and secondhand vs first-hand and second-hand

To know of something firsthand means the information is obtained from the original source or from personal experience. Firsthand may be used as an adjective to explain the type of information that has been acquired or as an adverb, explaining how the information was acquired. Firsthand is the preferred spelling in North America, first-hand is the preferred British spelling, either spelling is correct. Secondhand refers to information or knowledge that is not from the original source and may … [Read more...]

Pram, baby carriage and baby buggy

A pram is a bed for an infant on four wheels, often with a hood that retracts. It is used to push the baby from room to room or on walks. Once a child can sit up, it has outgrown a pram.¬†Pram, the preferred word for those in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, comes from an abbreviation for the word perambulator. A baby carriage is the same item as a pram, it is an infant bed on four wheels that often has a hood that retracts. Americans and Canadians prefer to use the term baby … [Read more...]

Stroller or pushchair

A stroller is the North American and Australian term for an item used to push babies or small children from place to place. A stroller is chair-like, perched on wheels, and typically folds for easy storage or transport in the trunk of a car. The word stroller seems to have come into popular use in the 1920s. Pushchair is the British term for a chair-like, wheeled item used to push babies or small children from place to place. A pushchair is the same thing as a stroller. The word stroller … [Read more...]

Fur vs fir

Fur is a noun that means the hairy coat of an animal. Fur is also the skin of an animal which is covered with this fine hair, as well as a garment made out of fur. The adjective form appears before a noun, such as fur coat or fur trapper. The verb form means to affix fur to a garment or other item. Someone who is sick and has a coating on his tongue may be said to have a furred tongue. The British refer to the hard water coating inside a pipe or kettle, as fur. Fir is an evergreen tree with … [Read more...]

Coon’s age

Coon's age means a very long time. It is an Americanism that has fallen out of favor, and is considered offensive by many people. Coon is slang for raccoon, coined in the mid 1700's. The term coon's age was first used in the early 1800's and in fact, owes its origin to the folk belief that raccoons are long-lived. Raccoons are not truly long-lived, but their fur is quite hardy, which may have given rise to the belief that raccoons live for a long time. Because of the raccoon's bandit-like … [Read more...]

Aerie vs airy

An aerie is a nest of a bird of prey such as a hawk or an eagle, or any large bird. It is situated at great height in a tall tree or on a cliff. Aerie has also come to mean a large house or fortress situated up high on a hill, cliff or mountain. The word aerie comes from the medieval Latin aeria meaning open space. Airy is an adjective which means an open, breezy area in which fresh air circulates freely. Airy also refers to things or actions with no weight. Therefore, airy can mean light in … [Read more...]

Legislator vs legislature

A legislator is an individual who proposes, draws up and enacts laws. He is a member of a legislative body, either elected or appointed. American congressmen and members of the British and Indian parliaments are examples of legislators. The word comes directly from the Latin: legis lator, which literally means proposer of the law. A legislature is a deliberative group, usually a government group, either elected or appointed, made up of individuals who have the responsibility of writing, … [Read more...]

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