Smokey vs. smoky

Smokey is a proper noun and first name, whereas smoky is an adjective referring to an object being filled with or smelling of smoke. Until recently smokey was an accepted spelling of smoky in the Oxford English Dictionary. However, it is now thought of as … [Read more...]


A McJob is a low-paying job that requires little to no education and has no opportunity of advancement. It may also refer to a position filled by someone who is extremely overqualified. History In 1983 McDonald's coined the term McJob to promote a program they had designed to help affirmative … [Read more...]


Headwind is a wind that blows directly opposite of forward motion, or from the front. Headwind can also be used to describe anything that opposes growth or movement. It should always be spelled as one word, but can be singular or plural depending on context. The antonym for headwind is tailwind, … [Read more...]


Feckless is an adjective to describe something that is worthless or irresponsible. Its root, feck, comes from the Scottish word for effect. So feckless could be thought of as something or someone that is without effect. It also can be used as a noun or adverb, fecklessness and fecklessly, … [Read more...]


Machiavellian is an adjective used to describe conduct that is clever and dishonest, usually within politics. It can also describe a setting where people might use cunning and trickery to obtain a goal, such as a battle or election. History Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian diplomat and writer of … [Read more...]

Absorption vs. adsorption

Absorption is the process by which things are absorbed. Adsorption, on the other hand, describes the act of gas or liquid molecules adhering to a surface. Both words are commonly misspelled as absorbtion and adsorbtion. This spelling error is usually corrected automatically by a computer's … [Read more...]


To Mirandize is to inform an arrested suspect of his or her rights. The word derives from the Miranda v. Arizona U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which held that self-incriminating statements made by a crime suspect are not admissible in court unless the suspect is first informed of his or her rights to … [Read more...]


Multitask works as both an adjective and a verb. Its adjectival sense is the original, arising in the early 1960s to describe computing systems in which multiple processes execute simultaneously. The verb sense---to perform multiple tasks at once---came about soon thereafter, as did the participial … [Read more...]


A svengali is a person who controls another’s mind or has the ability to control others, usually with sinister intent. In the 1891 gothic-horror novel Trilby, by George du Maurier, Svengali is a hypnotist who transforms the title character into a famous singer. The book was popular in its time, so … [Read more...]


To eighty-six something is to cancel it, reject it, or prevent it from coming to fruition, and to eighty-six a person is to eject them, especially from a business premises, or to remove them from a role. For example, a picnic might be eighty-sixed because of rain, an injured player might be … [Read more...]

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