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Spanish fly

Spanish fly is a term that has been in use since the 1600s, though many find it confusing. We will examine the definition of Spanish fly, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Spanish fly is a green European beetle that has been in used as an aphrodisiac for hundreds of years, though this is a dangerous practice. These beetles exude an irritant known as cantharidin which may cause blisters. Users grind up the bodies of the beetles and ingest them. The cantharidin … [Read more...]

Nepotism

Nepotism is a word that has its roots in the Middle Ages. We will examine the definition of the word nepotism, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Nepotism is the practice of awarding a job, position, political appointment or other favoritism or benefit to a member of one's family based on that familial relationship rather than merit or seniority. Nepotism is usually a bad idea, as the person receiving the benefit is usually unqualified to execute that position or … [Read more...]

Ecclesiastical and ecclesiastic

Ecclesiastical and ecclesiastic are two words that mean the same thing but may be used as different parts of speech. We will examine the definition of ecclesiastical and ecclesiastic, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Ecclesiastical and ecclesiastic both describe something that is related to the Christian Church, something that is appropriate to be used in the Christian Church. Ecclesiastical and ecclesiastic may refer to the clergy, organization, … [Read more...]

Parody vs parity

Parody and parity are two words that are very close in pronunciation and spelling, but have very different meanings. We will examine the definitions of parody and parity, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A parody is a creative work such as a book, movie or play that imitates a known writer or genre. A parody is written to ridicule or poke gentle fun at the original work for comic effect. A parody exaggerates the characteristics of the original work. … [Read more...]

Requiem

The word requiem may be confusing to some. We will examine the definition of the word requiem, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Requiem is used to mean a Catholic funeral Mass or a religious observance in remembrance of a person who is deceased. Requiem may also refer to the music written or performed at a funeral Mass. The meaning of the word requiem has expanded to simply mean a tribute to someone who has died or a token of remembrance for someone who has died. … [Read more...]

Drive-by

The term drive-by is increasingly used as an adjective in many different circumstances. We will examine the meaning of the word drive-by, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Drive-by is an adjective that describes something done in a hurried manner, something done on the run or in a careless fashion. The term drive-by came into use in the 1970s-1980s, primarily to describe murders performed by shooting from a moving car or drive-by shootings. The term drive-by has … [Read more...]

Coddle and mollycoddle

Coddle and mollycoddle are two words that are sometimes interchangeable, though they also have secondary, unique definitions. We will examine the meanings of the words coddle and mollycoddle, where they came from, and some examples of their use in sentences. Coddle means to indulge someone, to pamper someone or overprotect him, to treat him as if he were a delicate flower. Coddle may also mean to cook an egg in hot water that is below the boiling point, rendering a type of soft-boiled egg. … [Read more...]

Paucity

Paucity is a word that many find confusing. We will examine the definition of the word paucity, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Paucity is a noun that means a lack of something, a too-small amount of something, an insufficient quantity of something, a scarcity. The word paucity has been in use since the 1400s, and is derived from the Middle English word paucite, which in turn is derived from the Latin paucitatem, which means little or few. The word paucity is … [Read more...]

Deposition vs disposition

Deposition and disposition are two words that are similar in spelling and pronunciation, and are sometimes confused. We will examine the differing definitions of deposition and disposition, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Deposition has several meanings. One meaning of deposition is the process of depositing something. A second meaning of deposition is the removal of someone from office or authority, particularly a king or queen. Most often, the … [Read more...]

Charlatan

Charlatan is an interesting word with an origin that dates back to the early 1600s. We will examine the definition of the word charlatan, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A charlatan is a con artist, someone who pretends to have a special ability or knowledge, someone who is an imposter or a huckster. The term charlatan is derived from a term for a seventeenth century peddler of potions and dubious medical cures, what came to be known as a snake oil salesman in … [Read more...]

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