Specious vs spurious

For something to be specious it has to appear to be correct or true, but in reality is false or incorrect. There is a slight connotation of it being related to appearances, that the specious item has an allure that is untrue. Its derivatives include speciously and speciousness. Spurious, on the other hand, is something that is founded on illogical reasoning or false facts. It can be something that is similar in appearance to something else, without being the genuine item (e.g., drugs). … [Read more...]

Inculcate

  Inculcate is a verb which means to attain a habit or attitude by repetitive teaching, instilling or internalizing the instruction so it becomes part of the student. Similar to brainwashing without the pejorative connotation. The term is much more commonly found outside the United States. It makes inculcates, inculcated, inculcating, inculcation, and inculcator. Examples The nationwide cleanliness drive launched today is aimed at creating awareness among the people of the country so … [Read more...]

Foist

Foist is a verb which means to make someone or something accept something that he or she does not desire. It comes with the connotation that the acceptance comes by trickery or falsehoods. A slightly alternate definition is to pass something off as real or of value. A foister is someone who foists things. Examples Viewers have long wanted to pay only for the channels they watch, not the bundle that cable companies foist upon them. [Business Insider India] So if you can’t get what you … [Read more...]

Lesser or lessor

Lesser describes something has being smaller than something else, or having less of a certain quality. Not to be confused with fewer. Lesser is an adjective that is used before the noun it modifies. To be lesser-known is somewhat famous, but not of wide acclaim. Lessor is a person who leases their property. It is commonly used in reference to airplanes. It has two pronunciations in British English with the stress being allowed on either syllable. In the United States it has only one accepted … [Read more...]

Loop de loop or loop the loop

Grammarist

The dictionary lists a loop-the-loop as a thrill ride that sends its passengers in a complete 360 degree circle. It is more commonly used to describe anything doing the same movement. A plane can loop the loop in the sky when turns in a vertical circle. It follows the general rule of phrasal verbs that are hyphenated when used as a noun or adjective but separate words when used in verb form. The word loop comes from the Scottish Gaelic lùb which means to bend. Other phrases which … [Read more...]

Spat or spitted

A spit is a stick which holds meat or other items over a fire, usually to allow the food to turn while it is roasted. Spit is also another word for saliva or the fluid made by one's mouth. It can also be a small bit of land which leads into a body of water. To spit is to propel something (usually saliva) from your mouth or to put something on a spit (i.e., impale). If you put something on a spit this morning, you spitted it, you can also be spitting a pig for dinner. If you ejected … [Read more...]

News

News is a mass noun which means information that is just received or significant somehow. It is also an adjective used to describe things and people which find information to share with others. It has no plural form. One could count items of news or news sources, but not news itself. News has a quite few derivatives, such as, newspaper, newscast, newsperson, newsworthy, newshound, newshawk, newsmagazine, newsletter, newsmonger, and the adjective newsless. A newshound or newshawk is a … [Read more...]

Halcyon

As a noun, a halcyon is a kingfisher, or at least a bird which we have associated with the kingfisher. It is part of a Greek legend in which it calmed the sea. As an adjective, halcyon describes something or someone to be joyful, peaceful, or prosperous. The most common use is to describe a period of time as the halcyon days, which is a reference to the myth. According to the Greeks, the Halcyon days come every January. The seas would be calm so that the kingfisher's eggs were protected … [Read more...]

Happy median or happy medium

The correct idiom is happy medium and not happy median. The confusion of a phrase based on its pronunciation is called an eggcorn. Medium is the middle term for size, in between large and small. It is also the name for people who believe they can channel thoughts from the  dead, and the term for materials used by an artist. Median is the middle of a set of numbers, as well as the divider in a road. But while happy median does make logical sense, the standardphrase, which has been in use … [Read more...]

Restive

Restive is an adjective used to describe something as restless or fidgety. Politically it is used to describe regions in unrest or without peace. Restive is also used in reference to horses when they refuse to move forward by standing still or sliding backwards. Its derivatives include the adverb restively and the noun restiveness. Restive has seen an absolute reversal in definitions. The original word came from the Old French word restif which meant to remain still. The association with … [Read more...]

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