Factious vs facetious

Factious is an adjective describing something or someone has having to do with factions, or separate groups within a larger body, usually separated by a belief or proclivity. It has derivatives of factiously and factiousness, though these are rarely used. It is pronounced \ˈfak-shəs\ (fact shish). Facetious, on the other hand, is a word to describe something or someone as intentionally funny, though usually failing to attain humor or inappropriate. It also has two derivatives … [Read more...]

At a loose end

  To be at a loose end is to have nothing to do. It is primarily used in British English. In the United States, there is a variant phrase to be at loose ends. This also means to have nothing to do, but it carries the connotation of nervousness, as in the situation not being able to do anything about a stressful situation. The British phrase suggests only boredom. The ngram above shows that the global popularity of the two versions has traded places over time, with the current … [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...]

Parlor or parlour

This is another United States and British division. A parlor (or parlour) is a room in the house specifically used to entertain guests. The custom of having a parlor has become less common. More likely you will hear the word in reference to a shop or business that is specific to one type of service (e.g., a massage parlor or a tattoo parlor) or a restaurant that sells one type of food (e.g., ice cream parlor). It can also be used as an adjective. A parlor trick is a simple magic trick, or … [Read more...]


Oases is the plural of oasis, and it is pronounced \ō-ˈā-ˌsēz\ (oh a ceez).  An oasis is a location with water in a desert, or figuratively can be a happy place surrounded by sadness. This can also be used for a period of time when things were good. It makes the adjective oasitic pronounced (oh uh sit ick), as well as oasal and oasean. Examples My first stint as Miss America for hire had been that September, in the desert oasis of Dunhuang, for the city’s International Grape Festival. … [Read more...]


A mouthful is the maximum amount a mouth will contain. It can also mean something that is extremely hard to pronounce, or something said that has a lot of meaning. The plural is mouthfuls. This word falls into the category of words with the suffix -ful. While this suffix means full, it is never spelled with two l's unless it is in the adverb form (e.g., cheerfully). Since an adverb form of mouthful  does not exist, it should never be spelled with two l's. However several mouths full of … [Read more...]


To jones for something is to want it very badly. It is commonly used with a drug addiction when the addict wants a hit of whatever drug he or she uses. You can also have a jones or a craving. The plural is joneses. The phrase keeping up with the Joneses means to measure yourself or household by what your neighbors do or buy. It started as a comic strip in 1913. If you are referring to the possessive, it would be Jones's. Examples “You know what I see when I look at my wrist. My … [Read more...]

Hijinks or high jinks

  High jinks is a plural noun referring to loud chaotic play, specifically characterized by its high energy and wildness. It can also be spelled hijinks. Some say that high jinks is used within the United States, while hijinks is found outside. However, we found that there is a good mix of either spelled used in all locations. And while the dictionaries list hijinks as the variant spelling, it is growing in popularity as the preferred spelling. The term seems to come from 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...]

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