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Halfhearted and half-hearted

Halfhearted and half-hearted are two spellings of the same word. They are both compound words, which are two separate words that are joined together. We will examine the definition of halfhearted and half-hearted, where it came from and some examples of their use in sentences.Halfhearted and half-hearted mean without enthusiasm, without any zest or interest, without any energy. The terms halfhearted and half-hearted date back to medieval times and are based on the idea that the heart was the … [Read more...]

Belay vs belie

Belay and belie are two words that are often confused. We will examine the definitions of the words belay and belie, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.To belay means to attach a rope to an object in order to secure it or to secure a person with a rope. The term belay is most often used in mountain climbing or rappelling. The word belay is also used in maritime language as a command to stop or desist. Belay is used as a noun or a transitive verb, which is a verb … [Read more...]

Juxtapose

Juxtapose is a back-formation from an older word. A back-formation is a word derived from an existing word, usually by removing a suffix. We will examine the definition of the word juxtapose, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.Juxtapose means to compare two objects, ideas or images so that the differences between the two are emphasized. When two things are juxtaposed, interesting relations are sometimes drawn between them. Two things may be juxtaposed in order to … [Read more...]

Boots on the ground

Boots on the ground is a relatively new military idiom that is slowly making its way into general use. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meaning of the phrase boots on the ground, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.Boots on the ground refers to active ground troops in a military campaign, men or women who are physically … [Read more...]

Sanctimonious vs sanctify

Sanctimonious and sanctify are two words with similar roots but very different meanings. We will examine the definitions of the words sanctimonious and sanctify, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.Sanctimonious is an adjective that describes behaving as if one is morally superior to others or attempting to appear as if one is more pious than others. Calling someone sanctimonious is derogatory, and carries the connotation of pointing out a person’s … [Read more...]

One-horse town

The idiom one-horse town has been around at least since the mid-1800s. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meaning of the phrase one-horse town, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.A one-horse town is a town that is extremely small, with a slow pace, few amenities and no excitement. The term one-horse was once used much more … [Read more...]

Wiki

Wiki is a term that came into wide use in the mid-1990s, though it was used long before that as a colloquialism. A colloquialism is usually used by English speakers in a certain geographic area or English speakers of a certain dialect. We will examine the meaning of the word wiki, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.Wiki refers to an internet database or website that may be edited by the community of users. The first use of the term wiki as a computer term was the … [Read more...]

Straw that broke the camel’s back and the last straw

The straw that broke the camel’s back and the last straw are two idioms that stem from the same proverb. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase that gives advice or shares a universal truth. We will examine the meaning of the expressions the straw that broke the camel’s back and the last straw, where they came from and some examples … [Read more...]

Semi-, hemi-, and demi-

Semi-, hemi- and demi- are all prefixes that mean the same thing for the most part, but are used in different circumstances. A prefix is a set of letters that is affixed to the beginning of a word in order to give it a new meaning. Prefixes are not words that may stand alone.Semi- is a prefix that means half, partially or almost. Semi- may also mean something that occurs twice within a specific amount of time. The prefix semi- is derived from the Latin semi- which means half. Most often, … [Read more...]

Take for granted or take for granite

Take for granted and take for granite are two phrases that are often confused, but only one is correct. We will examine the definition of the correct phrase, where these expressions came from and some examples of the use of the correct phrase in sentences.Take for granted may mean to assume something is true without testing it or questioning it, or to expect something to always be available. Take for granted may also mean to not be grateful for something or someone or not appreciate … [Read more...]

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