Esoteric vs archaic

Esoteric describes something or someone has being difficult to comprehend, that the number of people who actually understand the concept is limited to a special few. The adverb form is esoterically. Archaic is a term for things or people that are ancient, and sometimes ancient and not of pertinence anymore. Some synonyms include out-dated or obsolete. The adverb form is archaically. Note here that each half of the definition can be interchangeable. Archaic items can be old but useful, old … [Read more...]


Pithy is an adjective to describe something or someone as being particularly good with words in a way uses few words and is clever. There is sometimes an associated level of enthusiasm about the words or the person declaring them. Something can be pithier and the pithiest. The adverb form is pithily and the noun form is pithiness. The adjective, pithy, may also be describing something or someone has having a lot of pith. Pith has several varied definitions. Foremost, it is the white layer … [Read more...]

Voluptuous vs voluminous

Voluptuous, besides being commonly misspelled and mispronounced, is an adjective that describes something or someone as appealing to the senses (e.g., sight, touch, taste). Most commonly it is used to describe a woman's physique as visually appealing. The adverb and noun forms are voluptuously and voluptousness, respectively. Voluminous is an adjective that describes something or someone as extremely big or taking up a lot of space. It is most commonly used in reference to clothing, … [Read more...]


Peckish is an adjective which can mean to be bothered/annoyed or to be famished. The hungry meaning is most popular in British English. The annoyed definition is quite less common, and almost exclusively found within the United States. The adjective comes from the verb peck, which can mean to strike the ground with a beak or to pick at food and eat slowly. A third definition is to kiss quickly. The noun form of this adjective is peckishness, but it is not recognized by most dictionaries as … [Read more...]

How’s it going

The idiom how's it going is another way to say how are you, how are things progressing, or what's up. The it can refer to life in general, a project, or your day. It should be noted that this idiom is said in many countries with the answer expected to be fine or good. This is not usually what a person says when he or she truly wants details of your life or day. Often this is said as a continuation of the greeting (e.g., Hi, how's it going?), and the return answer should also be a continuation … [Read more...]

Compared to or compared with

To compare two things is to evaluate them in reference to each other, their similarities and their differences. Both prepositions to and with may be used with this verb (e.g., compared to and compared with). In most situations they can be interchangeable and your meaning will be clear. A century ago, with was the favorite. Now it has fallen out of favor and compared to is found more often. If you or your audience are focused on nuances, there is a traditional distinction between the two … [Read more...]

Summa cum laude or magna cum laude

Cum laude is a phrase used mainly in the United States, though it is found in other countries as well. It is Latin and literally means with praise. It is used by universities and colleges to set some graduates apart as having honors. Magna cum laude is the next level up, meaning something like great honors. Summa cum laude means greatest honors. Each university sets their own distinctions for earning each honor. Rare honors can include egregia cum laude and maxima cum laude. The most … [Read more...]

Alliteration vs assonance

Alliteration is a noun used for the concept of words starting with the same phonetic sound and these words placed in a row or close together. Alliterate is the verb form of alliteration. To alliterate is to create alliteration either with spoken language or written words. The adjective form is alliterative, and the adverb is alliteratively. Assonance is the noun used to describe repetitive sounds in words, specifically vowels, which happen at any point in the word. The verb is assonate, … [Read more...]


An anachronism is something or someone that is out of place with history, either something that was misplaced in a timeline, or a person that does not fit well with his or her time period. This is often used to describe items or events in movies and books, where perhaps the author did not research as well as he or she should have. There are three adjective forms: anachronistic, anachronic, and anachronous (listed in the order of popularity). The adverb can be anachronistically, … [Read more...]

Board vs bored

A board is a planed piece of wood, a ruling body for some organizations, or a verb that means to get in or on a form of transportation, such as a plane or ship. It also has varied other definitions. The homonym bored is an adjective that means to feel restless or antsy as a result of lack of activity or interest in current activity. A related word, bore can either be a noun or a verb. One can be a bore if he or she lacks energy or enthusiasm, or if he or she seems to take enthusiasm away … [Read more...]

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