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Porch vs veranda or verandah

Porch and veranda or verandah are words that are sometimes used interchangeably, but in fact, have slightly different meanings. We will examine the definitions of porch and veranda or verandah, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A porch is a covered area that is attached to the front of a house or other building. A porch is external, however, it may include various types of railings, columns and screens. The word porch is derived from the Latin … [Read more...]

Stock vs stalk

Stock and stalk are two words that are pronounced very similarly, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of stock and stalk, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Stock may be used as a noun to refer to 1.) the merchandise in a store or warehouse 2.) farm animals 3.) financial shares in a company 4.) liquid that is used as a gravy or soup base obtained by boiling animal bones or … [Read more...]

Difference vs deference

Difference and deference are two words that are pronounced and spelled similarly, but have different meanings. They are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of difference and deference, where these words came from and some exmples of their use in sentences. Difference describes the way in which two or more people or things are unalike, the condition of being dissimilar. Difference might also mean a disagreement. Difference is a noun, the verb form is differ, related words are … [Read more...]

Derision vs decision

Derision and decision are two words that are sometimes confused. They are very close in spelling and pronunciation, but have different meanings. We will examine the definitions of derision and decision, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Derision means mockery, scorn or ridicule delivered contemptuously. Derision is a noun, the verb forms are deride, derides, derided, deriding. Deride is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. The … [Read more...]

Practical joke

Surprisingly, the term practical joke is about 250 years old. We will examine the meaning of the term practical joke, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A practical joke is a prank, a physical joke that is designed to cause slight embarrassment or consternation to the subject of the practical joke, but in a good-natured fashion. An few examples of  practical jokes is the use of a whoopee cushion or the practice of covering a car with Post-it notes. Of course, one … [Read more...]

Plutocrat vs autocrat

Plutocrat and autocrat are two words that are sometimes used interchangeably, but in reality have a slight difference in meaning. We will examine the difference between the definitions of plutocrat and autocrat, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A plutocrat is a person whose power or authority to rule is derived from his possession of great wealth. A plutocracy is a society that is governed by the wealthy. Plutocrat is considered a perjorative, and a … [Read more...]

Pith vs pit

Pith and pit are two words that are extremely close in spelling and pronunciation, but mean two different things. We will examine the difference between the definitions for pith and pit, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Pith is the name for the spongy and stringy matter that lines the skin of citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons. Pith is also means the soft, spongy core of things such as bones, plant stems or feathers. Sometimes, pith is used … [Read more...]

Diffidence vs difference

Diffidence and difference are two words that are sometimes confused. We sill examine the definitions of diffidence and difference, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Diffidence is shyness or excessive modesty stemming from a lack of self-confidence. Diffidence is a noun, the adjective form is diffident. The word diffidence is derived from the Latin word diffidentia, which means a lack of confidence, mistrust, failure to trust. Difference describes the … [Read more...]

On a shoestring and shoestring budget

The idioms on a shoestring and shoestring budget were coined in America during the late 1800s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definitions of the terms on a shoestring and shoestring budget, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. The phrase on a shoestring describes something that is attempted or accomplished with very little capital, with very … [Read more...]

Lead-pipe cinch

The idiom lead-pipe cinch is an American term that first appeared in print in the 1880s, though one may assume it was used in everyday speech before that time. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of the term lead-pipe cinch, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A lead-pipe cinch is a sure thing, a certainty. Lead-pipe cinch may also refer to … [Read more...]

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