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Get the ball rolling and start the ball rolling

Get the ball rolling and start the ball rolling are two versions of the same idiom. There are two very disparate origin stories for this idiom. We will look at the definition of get the ball rolling and start the ball rolling, where these terms come from and some examples of their use in sentences. Get the ball rolling and start the ball rolling are idioms that mean to start the action, to make the opening move. The related term keep the ball rolling means to continue the action, to keep the … [Read more...]

Burnish vs tarnish

Burnish and tarnish are two similar-sounding words that have very different definitions. We will look at the difference in meaning between burnish and tarnish, where the words come from and some examples of their use in sentences. Burnish means to polish something by rubbing it, to make something shine, to enhance appearance. Burnish is used literally and figuratively. It may be used as a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object, as well as a noun to mean the shine of a polished … [Read more...]

Goody two shoes

Goody two shoes is an idiom with a very old origin. We will look at the current meaning of the term goody two shoes, the original meaning, where it comes from and some examples of its use in sentences. A goody two shoes is a person who is overly well-behaved, someone who is smugly virtuous. The word goody, at one time, was a respectful term of address for a married woman of modest means, an abbreviation of the word goodwife. The goody two shoes in question is a character in a children's story … [Read more...]

Chatbot

Chatbot is a fairly recently coined word that sprang up with the advent of the personal computer in the 1990s. We will look at the meaning of the word chatbot, where the word comes from and some examples of its use in sentences. A chatbot is a a computer program that simulates interactive human conversation, usually over the internet. The use of chatbots has increased with the introduction of artificial intelligence precepts. Michael Maudlin invented the first chatbot program named Julia for … [Read more...]

Post-truth

Post-truth is a new word, it has been chosen as the Word of the Year for 2016 by the Oxford English Dictionary. Post-truth is a compound word, which is a word comprised of two words joined together to create a new word with a new meaning. We will look at the meaning of the term post-truth, where it comes from and some examples of its use in sentences. Post-truth describes a situation in which the importance of actual facts is supplanted by appeals to emotion and personal prejudices in … [Read more...]

Citizen journalism

Citizen journalism is a new word created for a new cultural phenomenon. We will look at the meaning of the term citizen journalism, where it comes from, and some examples of its use in sentences. Citizen journalism describes the gathering, filtering and dissemination of news by a member of the general public. Most often, citizen journalism occurs over the internet, it has arisen because of a perceived bias in traditional news organizations. A related term is citizen journalist. Citizen … [Read more...]

Have a bee in one’s bonnet

The idiom have a bee in one's bonnet has its origins in the 1500s. We will look at the meaning of the term have a bee in one's bonnet, where the term evolved from and some examples of its use in sentences. To have a bee in one's bonnet means to be obsessed with a certain idea, to be preoccupied with something. The term is derived from the Scottish idiom a head full of bees. This term is first found in a translation of Virgil’s Aeneid, rendered by the Scott Alexander Douglas in the mid-1500s: … [Read more...]

Been there, done that

Been there, done that is a phrase that's been around for approximately forty years, though the origin is in question. We will look at the meaning of the phrase been there, done that, where it came from, a popular, somewhat longer rendering of the term and some examples of its use in sentences. Been there, done that is a phrase used to indicate that the speaker finds the subject in question boring, due to over-familiarity or repetition. The term has most probably evolved from a phrase that was … [Read more...]

Wainscot or chair rail

Wainscot and chair rail are two architectural detail terms that are often confused. We will look at the meanings of the words wainscot and chair rail, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A wainscot is decorative paneling applied to the lower half of a wall around the perimeter of a room, also referred to as wainscoting or wainscotting.  It is thought that wainscotting was used as an insulation along stone walls. Once only constructed out of wood, usually oak, … [Read more...]

Trip the light fantastic

Trip the light fantastic is an interesting idiom that has its roots in a poem written by John Milton in the seventeenth century. We will look at the meaning of the phrase trip the light fantastic, where the term comes from and a few examples of its use in sentences. To trip the light fantastic means to dance, usually ballroom dancing. The idiom trip the light fantastic has its roots in the poem L'Allegro written by John Milton: "Come, and trip it as you go / On the light fantastic toe." In … [Read more...]

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