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Hold your horses

Hold your horses is one of those phrases that began with a literal meaning, and survives today with a figurative meaning. It is no surprise that the term arose during a time when settlers and gold miners were traveling westward across America using the power of horses. We'll look at the original meaning of the phrase hold your horses, how it is figuratively used today, and some examples of its use in sentences. Originally, hold your horses literally meant to pull up on a horse one was riding … [Read more...]

Gallop vs Gallup

Gallop and Gallup are two different words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings. We'll look at the definitions of gallop and Gallup, their origins, and some examples of their use in sentences. Gallop is one of the natural gaits of a horse. In the gallop, all four hooves are off the ground at the same time during each stride. Other natural gaits of horses are the walk, the trot, the canter or lope. Any quadruped may be referred to as … [Read more...]

Ascribe vs subscribe

Ascribe and subscribe are two words that are very similar in pronunciation and spelling, but have two different meanings. We'll examine the difference between ascribe and subscribe, their meanings and origin. We'll also look at a few examples of their use in sentences. Ascribe means to designate something as having caused something else. Ascribe may also be used to mean to categorize something as belonging to a certain origin. Ascribe also means to consider as a quality that belongs to a … [Read more...]

Will-o’-the-wisp

Will-o'-the-wisp is a word that was derived from a phrase popular in the 1600s. It describes a natural phenomenon but is also used figuratively. We'll look at the meaning of will-o'-the-wisp, the original phrase it is derived from and a few examples of its use in sentences. A will-o'-the-wisp is a ghost light seen in nature, usually hovering over a swamp or bog. These ghost lights are believed to be the result of the spontaneous ignition of naturally occurring methane gas. In the past, … [Read more...]

Serigraph vs lithograph

A serigraph and a lithograph are prints made of an original piece of art, however, the processes used to make them are different. We'll look at how serigraphs and lithographs are made, where the words serigraph and lithograph come from, and some examples of these words used in sentences. A serigraph is a silkscreen, though today more modern fabrics than silk are generally employed. To make a serigraph, the artist places a stencil on the fabric and forces ink through the places where the … [Read more...]

Laird vs lord

The words laird and lord have similar meanings with several key differences. We'll discuss the difference between the words laird and lord, the origin of these two words, and show a few examples of their use in sentences. Laird is a designation afforded the owner of a large estate in Scotland, it is the Scottish word for lord. The ability to call oneself a laird is attached to the ownership of land, whether inherited or purchased. The title of laird is not a peerage title, a laird is not a … [Read more...]

Jackalope

The jackalope is an American invention. However, there is a surprising connection to Renaissance Europe. We'll look at what a jackalope is, where it came from, and the correlation with a seventeenth century European scientific tome. We'll also examine a few uses of the word jackalope in sentences. A jackalope is a mythical animal that is deemed to be a cross between a jack rabbit and an antelope. The word jackalope is a portmanteau of these two words. In fact, most representations of … [Read more...]

Dudgeon vs dungeon

Dudgeon and dungeon are pronounced and spelled in a similar fashion, but mean two very different things. We'll discuss the difference between the words dudgeon and dungeon, their origins, and examine a few sentences using these words. Dudgeon means a state of extreme indignation, the feeling of being deeply offended. An archaic meaning of the word dudgeon is the wood used in the hilt of a dagger, though this definition does not seem to have any relation to the current meaning of the word … [Read more...]

Bottom line

The phrase the bottom line, like many idioms, has its roots in a literal meaning. We will explore the definition of the term the bottom line and its origins, as well as look at some examples of use in sentences. The bottom line describes the ultimate outcome of a situation or the most important or fundamental facet of that situation. When someone asks for the bottom line, he wants to cut out all superfluous details and focus on the primary problem or objective. The bottom line is an American … [Read more...]

Inherent vs inherit

Inherent and inherit are two words with similar pronunciations and spellings, but mean two very different things. We'll look at the difference between these two words, their meanings and origins, and some instances of their use in sentences. Inherent means intrinsic, something that is an essential characteristic, a part of something that is inseparable from that thing. In legal terms inherent describes something that is an inalienable right or privilege. Inherent is an adjective, the adverb … [Read more...]

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