A patsy is a person who takes the blame for something he or she did not do, as in a scapegoat. The term can also be used to describe a person who is easily fooled or gullible. A con man might look for a patsy for a scam. The word can be used in other instances that do not directly match these definitions, but always carry the idea that the person is foolish or incapable in some way. Sometimes patsy is used as an adjective to describe something as too easy or without subsistence. A patsy game … [Read more...]

Tabula rasa

  Tabula rasa comes from Latin where it meant blank slate. This is how it is used today as well, though there are nuanced differences in the actual English definition. It can refer to something in an unaltered state, or the mind of a person before it is influence by others. Rasa can be pronounced with an ess sound or a zee sound. The plural of tabula rasa is tabulae rasae which is spelled differently but keeps the Latin -i pronunciation \-ˌlī-ˈrä-ˌzī, -ˌsī\ (tab u lye raz … [Read more...]

Razzmatazz or razzamatazz

A razzmatazz is a ploy to attract attention, it is usually loud or exuberant. It is thought to come from razzle-dazzle, and carries the connotation that the action is done to deceive or distract someone. It has no plural. Razzamatazz is a variant spelling of razzmatazz, and it is extremely less common. Some list it as the British spelling, however, it is found both inside and outside the Unites States. However, in Spanish the word stays as razzmatazz. Examples He must block out all the … [Read more...]

Water under the bridge

The phrase water under the bridge means to let the past go and do not hold a grudge or harbor bad feelings. There is reference here to the one directional flow of water and when it passes under a bridge, it does not pass back ever again. It is usually used in the form of something being water under the bridge. It originated in 1913 and grew in popularity in the 1930s and is currently enjoying its widest use. Examples Malta captain Michael Mifsud has called on his team-mates to put the … [Read more...]


  Heyday is a noun which refers to a time when something or someone was in its prime or at the height of its power or influence. In the phrase having a heyday, the meaning can be slightly different. For a company or field of study to be having a heyday, means they are in their prime or at the peak of their influence. For an individual to have a heyday means he or she is having a great time, or be able to use the maximum of their talents. Archaically, heyday was also used to mean … [Read more...]

Brand spanking new

  The phrase brand spanking new means to be entirely new or recently created, and was first recorded in 1860. It evolved from the compound word brand-new and the phrase spick-and-span. Also, spanking, while the main definition is to hit someone on the butt, can also mean to move quickly. So one might say that a brand spanking new object was created quickly or appeared very fast. In truth, no one knows quite how it was coined or what it originally referred to. This idiom is not … [Read more...]


  Effete is an adjective describing something as feminine or effeminate. An alternative definition is for something to lack effectiveness, to not have strength or bravery or to be unable to act. Its derivatives include effetely and effeteness. In the seventeenth century, effete meant being past the childbearing years, or to not be fertile. One can see the transition of this to other topics, so that governments and armies were not fertile, or ineffective. Examples Dinesh Gundu … [Read more...]

Debark or disembark

To debark is to disembark, which is to get off of an airplane or ship or other mode of transportation. Both can also be the act of removing someone or something from the same vessels. Both have noun forms of debarkation and disembarkation, which refer to the location the person debarked at. Additionally, one can debark a tree, or remove the bark from a tree. One would then be a debarker. Examples Four Smith County Jail trusties, equipped with chainsaws and straight-draw shave tools, which … [Read more...]


To fuddle is to make disoriented or confused, especially with liquor. It used to mean to be drunk, and one could be a fuddler if one drank a lot. Today the term is used rarely and usually with a full knowledge the term is outdated. To befuddle someone is to confuse or stupefy, as if he or she were drunk. It is mush more common than fuddle. It makes the noun befuddlement. A person or object can be a befuddler. Examples Corporate America is currently caught up in a torrid infatuation … [Read more...]


Agitprop is political propaganda, usually art or literature with the sole purpose of persuading people to believe a certain set of ideals, originally Communism. It was coined in 1935 as a blend of the Russian words agitatsiya (agitation) and propaganda, and more specifically the shortened name of the Agitation and Propaganda Section of the Communist Party. Agitprop can be used as a noun or adjective. Examples “I suppose the closest it comes to, as a genre, is agitprop. Without doubt our … [Read more...]

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