An also-ran is someone who lost a race, either athletic or political, by a large margin, or someone of little significance. It is hyphenated. Examples Texas Gov. Rick Perry got some good news last week. In a FOX News poll, Perry moved from an also-ran in the contest for the 2016 Republican … [Read more...]

Flip one’s lid vs. flip one’s wig

To flip one's lid and flip one's wig mean to suddenly lose control to some emotion, either anger or excitement. Flipping your wig is more commonly found in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, it is not an old phrase, but was born in North America in the 1980's. Examples Momma Dee … [Read more...]

At the end of the day

At the end of the day is an idiom with several meanings. It can literally be the end of one's waking hours, or the end of one's work hours. The phrase can also be used in a summary statement to mean 'when all the information has been considered' or 'the most important part is'. A related … [Read more...]

Hairy vs. harry

Hairy can mean either being covered in hair, or causing fear or difficulty. The word has carried this dual meaning since the mid 19th century. To harry is to persistently attack or harass. It has been around since before the 12th century. Examples Probably the most obvious quirk about the … [Read more...]


Shenanigans are silly or mischievous behaviors or activities. A shenanigan is a trick, usually of a questionable nature. It was first used in the mid 19th century in California during the Gold Rush, but we don't actually know where it came from before that, which seems … [Read more...]

Garter snake

A harmless North American snake is called a garter snake, not garden snake. Though, technically there is nothing wrong with using that name if you found it in your garden. Examples It turns out that the newts are preyed on by garter snakes that have responded by evolving resistance to the … [Read more...]

Gambol vs. gamble

To gambol is to playfully skip or frolic. It is spelled as gamboling and gamboled inside the US, and makes gambolling and gambolled outside the United States. To gamble is to bet money or take a risky action. It is spelled the same everywhere. Examples Silently we watch them gambol, two … [Read more...]


To galumph is to move in a clumsy or loud way. It was coined by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass. Carroll also invented the words chortle and snark. Examples What begins as a spry shuffle grows darker as electric guitars galumph and grind into the forefront. [NPR] Getting it on … [Read more...]


Another of the latest entries to the Oxford online dictionary is hate-watch, a verb for the practice of watching a television show or movie for the sole purpose to criticize or make fun. The verb is hyphenated as one word. Hatewatch as one word is a blog run to bring awareness to online … [Read more...]

Affluent vs. effluent

Affluent describes something or someone has having a lot of money. Effluent is the liquid sewage that is released as waste. Effluent is still listed in the dictionary as an adjective meaning flowing out, but the link to chemicals has become so common, a user would risk that … [Read more...]

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