J – K

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  • Jam vs. jambJamb: a post that forms the side of a door or window. Jam: 1. a preserve made from boiled and sugared fruit, 2. a congestion, 3. a difficult situation, and 4. a song that one holds to be especially moving or meaningful.
  • Je ne sais quoian intangible, distinctive quality, especially of a person, that can't be put in words.
  • Jejune1. dull or uninteresting; 2. childish; 3. meager or lacking nutrition.
  • Jeremiad: a literary work or speech expressing bitter lament, prophecies of doom, or mournful complaints about society.
  • Jewelry vs. jewelleryJewelry in the U.S. and usually in Canada; jewellery everywhere else.
  • Judgment vs. judgementJudgement is considered a misspelling in the U.S. The two spellings are now interchangeable in British English.
  • Judicial vs. judiciousJudicial = of or relating to justice. Judicious = showing good judgment.
  • Junction vs. junctureJunction: 1. a place where two things join or meet, or 2. the act of joining or meeting. Juncture: a point in time, especially one made critical by a confluence of circumstances.
  • Junkie vs. junkyJunkie: 1. someone who is addicted to narcotics; 2. one who has an insatiable interest in something. Junky: 1. worthy of being discarded; 2. meaningless or unbelievable.
  • Jury-rig, jerry-rig, jerry-builtJury-rig: to assemble for temporary use. Jerry-rig: variant of jury-rig. Jerry-built: built of poor-quality materials.
  • Just deserts vs. just dessertsJust deserts is the original. Just desserts is more common in the 21st century.
  • Kafkaesque1. marked by surreal distortion or a sense of impending danger; 2. of or relating to a nightmarish world where people are dehumanized by intricate bureaucratic systems.
  • Kaputdead, finished, or useless.
  • Ketchup, catsup, catchupKetchup is now the usual spelling.
  • KiboshTo put a kibosh on something is to put an end to it.
  • Kick off vs. kickoff (vs. kick-off)Kickoff/kick-off is a noun and an adjective. The verb is two words.
  • Kick the can down the roadto defer conclusive action with a short-term solution.
  • Klutza foolishly clumsy person.
  • Knee-jerk, kneejerkreflexive, unthinking, or automatic.
  • Knit vs. knittedThe uninflected form is traditional, but knitted is now at least as common.
  • Kowtow1. to bow in submission, worship, or respect; 2. to show servile deference.
  • Kudospraise or renown.

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