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Shoot oneself in the foot

To shoot oneself in the foot is an idiom that stems from a practice common during World War I. 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 phrase shoot oneself in the foot, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. To shoot oneself in the foot means to sabotage oneself, to make a silly mistake that harms yourself in some fashion. The phrase comes from a … [Read more...]

Quince vs quints

Quince and quints are two words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will examine the difference between the definitions of quince and quints, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Quince is a small, hard, pear-shaped, bitter fruit or the bush that this fruit grows on. Quince is a member of the Rosaceae family, which includes pears and apples. Quince must be cooked in order to be … [Read more...]

Baptism by fire and baptism of fire

Baptism by fire and baptism of fire are two idioms that mean the same thing. Baptism by fire is more often used in the United States and baptism of fire is more often used in Britain. 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 meaning of baptism by fire and baptism of fire, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Baptism by fire and baptism of fire describe … [Read more...]

Insolent vs insolvent

Insolent and insolvent are two words that are sometimes confused. We will examine the difference between the definitions of insolent and insolvent, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Insolent means displaying a lack of respect, being rude, contemptuous or too bold in the face of authority. The word insolent is derived from the Latin word insolentem, which means unwonted, unusual, arrogant, beyond what is acceptable. Related words are insolence and … [Read more...]

Born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth

Born with a silver spoon in one's mouth is an English idiom. 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 born with a silver spoon in one's mouth, where the phrase came from and some examples of its use in sentences. To be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth means to be born with all the advantages, to be born into a rich family. This, of course, is based on the … [Read more...]

Traitor vs trader

Traitor and trader are two words that are pronounced very similarly and are often confused. We will examine the difference between the definitions of traitor and trader, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A traitor is someone who betrays his country, his friends, a cause or his principles. A traitor breaches trust in some way or commits treason against his country. Perhaps the most famous traitor of ancient times was Brutus, who betrayed Caesar. The word … [Read more...]

Kiss of death

The idiom kiss of death has uncertain origins, but there are several theories. 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 kiss of death, some possible explanations for its origin, and some examples of its use in sentences. A kiss of death is something that occurs that guarantees the failure of an enterprise. Most people believe that the term kiss of death has its roots in the … [Read more...]

Microfinance, microcredit and microloan

Microfinance, microcredit and microloan are terms that came into use in the mid-1970s when these practices were pioneered. We will examine the definitions of the terms microfinance, microcredit and microloan, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Microfinance is a system of banking services made available to clients who are not served by traditional banks because of their location and poverty. Usually, the mission of microfinancing institutions is to aid … [Read more...]

Nun vs none

Nun and none are two words that are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will examine the difference between the definitions of nun and none, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A nun is a woman who belongs to a religious congregation, especially one in which the woman takes a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. Nuns are most commonly Roman Catholic, though other religions also … [Read more...]

Nicks vs nix

Nicks and nix are two words that are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the difference between the definitions of nicks and nix, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Nicks is the plural form of the noun nick and the second person present tense of the verb nick. Nick, when used as a noun may mean a small, accidental cut. It is also used in British slang to mean … [Read more...]

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