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...]


Fie is an archaic interjection or exclamation expressing disapproval or disgust. It came into use during the thirteenth century, probably from the Old French fi, which is an exclamation of disapproval. Another influence is the Old Norse word, fy.  A correlating word exists in many languages, fie seems to have evolved as an onomatopoetic word, imitating a natural snort of disgust.  In the nineteenth century, fie-fie was a British slang term for a woman of tarnished reputation. Most English … [Read more...]


A fiat is an official decree issued by an authority. Fiat sometimes connotes arbitrariness, an imperial decree that may not be mitigated. The word fiat comes from the Latin word fiat, meaning let it be done. Fiat was the opening word in Medieval proclamations that were written in Latin. When Fiat is spelled with an uppercase F, it refers to an Italian car brand that is produced by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Fiat is the largest auto maker in Italy, the company traces its roots to 1899 when the … [Read more...]


A pipsqueak is an insignificant person, usually small or young. Pipsqueak is a term of contempt. Slang synonyms are short round, and squirt. Pipsqueak is an echoic word, which imitates a sound. Pipsqueak seems to have first appeared in the 1890s. It comes from the words pip, which refers to a small thing, and squeak, a word which signifies the sound that a small bird or animal makes under duress. Pipsqueak is often used by children to refer to their younger siblings in a derogatory manner. … [Read more...]

Prima donna

Prima donna is Italian for first lady. Prima donna has come to mean a temperamental or demanding person, a diva who insists on special treatment. Traditionally, prima donna refers to the leading female singer in an opera company. The prima donna receives the best roles. The term prima donna began in nineteenth-century Italy to describe the principal soprano of an opera company, these troupe members often had out-sized personalities on and off stage. Unless referring to an actual opera … [Read more...]


A LARP is a live action role-playing game in which participants physically interact with each other, taking on the roles of characters. The word is coined from the first letters of the phrase live action role playing. LARP may be used as a noun or adjective. LARPer is a noun used to describe one playing a LARP and LARPing describes the process of playing. LARP may be spelled lowercase as in larp, but in most cases LARP is capitalized, with the derivatives spelled in uppercase and lowercase … [Read more...]

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