Ceremonial vs ceremonious

Ceremonial means being used for or relating to a formal ritual or event. Ceremonial may also mean a position that bestows only nominal authority or power. Ceremonial is an adjective, a word that modifies a noun. Ceremonial comes from the Latin, caerimonia which means religious worship.Ceremonious means pertaining to or appropriate for a formal ritual or event. Ceremonious may also mean overly polite. Ceremonious is an adjective, a word that modifies a noun. Ceremonious comes the French … [Read more...]

Cannon fodder

Cannon fodder refers to soldiers or other enlisted personnel who are considered expendable. Usually, the men or women who are considered to be cannon fodder are the least-trained and of the lowest socioeconomic group. Cannons are tubes from which projectiles are fired, usually cannon balls. Fodder is an Old English term for food, epecially hay or straw. Thus, cannon fodder is "food" to be consumed in battle.Shakespeare's play, Henry IV, mentions the concept of men being food for battle. But … [Read more...]

Transparent, translucent and opaque

Transparent, translucent and opaque are adjectives that describe the amount of light that is able to pass through an object. Transparent, translucent and opaque may be used in the literal sense or figurative sense.Transparent is an adjective that describes material that allows objects behind it to be seen clearly. Glass windows are transparent. Transparent may also mean easy to spot or detect.  Related words are transparently, transparency and transparentness.Translucent is an adjective … [Read more...]

Rain, reign and rein

Rain is a condensation of moisture that drops to earth. Rain may be used as a noun or a verb, the verb forms are rain, rains, rained, raining. The adjective forms are rainy, rainier and rainiest. A derivitive is raininess. Rain may also be used to describe something that pours down in a fashion akin to rain. Rain comes from the Old English regn.Rein refers to the part of a horse bridle that is a long strip of leather attached to the bit which is in the mouth of the horse. There are two of … [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...]

Hooves or hoofs

Hooves is the plural form of hoof, the horny part of an animal's foot, especially, a horse.  Hoof comes from the Old English word, hof. The plural of hof is hofas, which when pronounced, would have sounded like hooves.Hoofs is also a plural form of hoof, the horny part of an animal's foot. Hoofs is a much older rendering of the plural form of hoof.  While still considered correct by many dictionaries, the actual use of the word hoofs is rare.Hooves has become the much preferred plural … [Read more...]

Kneeled vs knelt

Kneeled is the past tense of kneel, a verb which means to bend the knees and rest upon them. Kneeling is often a position employed when praying or abasing oneself before another.Knelt is also the past tense of kneel, it is a form that gained prominence in the 19th century and is common today. The words kneeled and knelt are equally correct and interchangeable.A kneeler is a bench with a shelf designed to make it easier for one to kneel. A kneeler is also known as a prie-dieu, a French … [Read more...]

No love lost

No love lost between two people means that they are not friends, they dislike each other intensely. No love lost may describe any two people, male or female.The phrase no love lost has interesting origins. In the sixteenth century, no love lost could mean that the couple either hated each other equally or loved each other equally. Unrequited love was considered love lost, so if two people's sentiments matched in intensity and amount of regard, whether love or hate, then there was no love … [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...]

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