Bite-size or bite-sized

For something to be bite-size it should be able to be consumed in one bite or one mouthful. The adjective can also describe things which are attainable or easily handled. It should always be used with a hyphen. Though in the tradition of hyphens, it will most likely be phased out at some point in this word's lifetime. Bite-sized is a variant spelling, though in the present tense is the official entry in most United States dictionaries. Bite-sized is the main entry in some European … [Read more...]

None are or none is

None is a pronoun most of the time. It means nothing, zero, no one, or not any part. Some believe it can only be singular in construction, but that is not true. Most seem to think that because none can mean 'not one' that it is always singular, but none can also mean 'not any'. See the examples for uses in plural or singular. Examples Singular But on Friday, which was the last day of filing nominations, among the 24 candidates who filed their nominations from the area none was from the … [Read more...]

Mayhap or mishap or snafu

Mayhap is an archaic way to say maybe or perhaps. It is an adverb in construction. It does not have a plural and should not be written as mayhaps. It has largely been replaced by other words, including those used to define it, like maybe and perhaps. A mishap is an accident or unfortunate coincidence. The plural is mishaps.  A snafu, on the other hand, is a hard or complicated problem or the mistake that causes the confusing problem. The plural is snafus. It was coined in the 1940s as an … [Read more...]

Appellation vs appellative

An appellation is a title or the name of something. An archaic definition included the act of calling something by its name. It is also a designation for winegrowers to use if their vineyards are in a certain part of the world. An appellative is an adjective describing something as having to do with a common noun. It can also be used to mean something is prone to naming things or giving titles. Its derivatives include the adverb appellatively and the noun which is … [Read more...]


Outside of the United States a treacle is a kind of syrup that is made of molasses and other ingredients. Inside the US, and outside as well, treacle can also be used to describe anything that is overly sweet or sentimental, perhaps to the point of annoyance or irritation. Treacle also used to be the name of an anti-poison treatment. Treacly is the adjective form, describing something or someone as overly sweet or looking like treacle. In this form it can … [Read more...]

Nosy Parker

To be a nosy parker is to look into other people's business when you don't need to, to be a busybody, or a snoop. It is mainly used outside of the United States, so much so that it has a variant spelling inside the US, nosey Parker. It does not need to be hyphenated unless used as an adjective. The origin of the idiom is unknown, though some ascribe it to a postcard which referred to a peeping tom in Hyde Park. Parkers were park-keepers, but there is little evidence that the idiom was … [Read more...]


The adjective loquacious describes someone or something as able to talk a lot, or tending to converse excessively. It has the derivatives of loquaciously and loquaciousness, the adverb and noun forms respectively. The word has been around since at least the middle of the seventeenth century. Its root is the Latin word for speaking loqui. Loquacious is pronounced lōˈkwāSHəs (lo kway shus). Examples Former NFL cornerback Fred Smoot, a loquacious player who has been trying to launch a … [Read more...]

Stick to, stick by, or stick with

To stick is to attach to something or not move. There are three prepositions that are commonly used with this verb, by, with, and to, which change the verb to a phrasal verb. For the most part these can be used interchangeably to mean remain loyal or be persistent, especially if there is hardship involved. In each phrasal verb, stick can take the usual formations of sticks, stuck, and sticking. A related phrase stick to your guns means to stay confident in a decision and not be swayed by … [Read more...]

Shop till you drop

To shop till you drop is an American idiom which means to buying things until you are physically tired and cannot walk around the shops anymore. Sometimes it is spelled shop 'til you drop. In this usage of till as a conjunction meaning 'until', and of the spellings are acceptable (e.g. till, til, or 'til). The phrase is found in print as early as the 1920s, and possibly earlier. Not surprisingly it started as an advertising slogan. It meant that you should go to one store instead of running … [Read more...]

Talk turkey

If people are to talk turkey, they are going to have an honest and open dialogue, usually with the motive to move forward through a problem. It is an American phrase that goes back to the early 1800s. Originally it meant to talk agreeably or pleasantly, which is almost an complete reversal to its current meaning, though if the motive is to move through a problem, then all parties should be reasonable amicable. Last century, the phrase went from agreeable to honest when the phrase changed … [Read more...]

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