Intermural, intramural and extramural

Intramural means operating within the walls of a single institution or community. In North America, intramural sports are competitions arranged within one school or institution. Intramural may also refer to a normal course of study at a university. In biology, intramural means within the walls of a body cavity or organ. Intramural is an adjective, the adverb form is intramurally. Extramural means operating outside the walls, extramural sports would involve competitions with teams outside of … [Read more...]

Minuet vs minute

A minuet is a ballroom dance with short, dainty steps. The minuet is a dignified dance for a group of couples, first popular in seventeenth century France. Music for this dance is also called a minuet, often part of a sonata, symphony or suite. The beat is in 3/4 time. Minuet comes from the French word menuet, meaning fine, delicate, small, narrow. Minute has two meanings. 1.) When the accent is on the second syllable, miNUTE, it functions as an adjective meaning small, tiny, insignificant. … [Read more...]

Fiscal vs physical

Fiscal is an adjective that means relating to the public treasury or government revenue. In North America, fiscal also means of or relating to matters of finance, a fiscal year is an accounting year. Some companies choose to have their fiscal years begin and end on dates other than the calendar year, for tax purposes. The United States government's fiscal year is currently October through September. Fiscal comes the Middle French fiscal, from the Late Latin fiscalis meaning of or belonging to … [Read more...]

Competence and competency

Competence describes a person's capability to do something adequately, or a person's mental capacity to understand the proceedings of a trial. Competence is the noun form of competent, which is an adjective. Competency describes a person's capability to do something adequately, or a person's mental capacity to understand the proceedings of a trial. Competency is an alternate noun form of competent, which is an adjective. In effect, competence and competency are interchangeable, though … [Read more...]

Resign vs re-sign

Resign, used as a transitive verb, means to give up or relinquish something. Resign, used as an intransitive verb means to leave a position or job. In chess, when one resigns, one ends the game by conceding defeat. To be resigned means to accept the inevitable. Related words are resigns, resigned, resigning, resigner and resignation. Resign appears in the English language in the late fourteenth century with the meaning give up, surrender, abandon, submit, relinquish, coming from the Latin … [Read more...]


A jinx is an object or a person that is believed to bring bad luck. A jinx may also refer to an unfortunate spell of bad luck. As a transitive verb, jinx means to bring bad luck or cast a nasty spell. The word jinx first appeared in the United States in the early twentieth century as sports slang, it was originally spelled jinks. At that time, jinx referred to anything which brought bad luck to a baseball player. The word spread into standard American English. Many believe that the word … [Read more...]

Arc vs arch

An arc is a curved shape or the curving path of a moving object. In mathematics, an arc is part of a circle's circumference. An arc is also a sparking discharge conducted from one electrode to another. The verb forms of arc are arcs, arced and arcing. Arcked and arcking are technically correct forms, but rarely used. Arc comes from the Old French arc meaning bowed or curved. An arch is a curved structure that spans an opening and usually supports a bridge or roof.  An arch may also be a … [Read more...]

Cotton candy or cotton floss or fairy floss

Cotton candy is spun sugar that consists of very fluffy, threadlike fibers of melted sugar, usually pink, and almost always wrapped around a paper cone. Cotton candy melts in your mouth, it is sold at circuses, fairs, carnivals, festivals and some sporting events. Cotton candy is made in a machine which melts the sugar into a liquified state and then blows it through tiny holes where it cools and solidifies quickly. The cotton candy machine operator then runs a paper cone around the bin to … [Read more...]


Eschew means to avoid, to shun, to abstain from voluntarily and deliberately, especially because you believe it is the proper thing to do. Eschew is a transitive verb, one that takes an object. Related words are eschewed, eschews, eschewing and the nouns eschewal and eschewance. Eschew came into use in the mid-fourteenth century from the Old French eschiver, meaning shun, dispense with, it is also related to the German words sciuhen meaning to avoid, escape and scheuen which means to fear, … [Read more...]


Finagle means by devious methods. Finagle may take an object and function as a transitive verb, meaning to arrange by craftiness or trickery. Without an object, finagle functions as an intransitive verb and means to use craftiness or trickery. Related words are finagles, finagled, finagling and the noun, finagler. Finagle originated in the United States in the 1920s from the dialectical fainaigue, which means to cheat or renege at cards. Finagle's Law is nearly the same as Murphy's Law. … [Read more...]

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