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Skunkworks

The word skunkworks has its origins in World War II. We will look at the meaning of the term skunkworks, where the word comes from and some examples of its use in sentences. Skunkworks describes a department in a company, laboratory or institution that works on non-traditional or out-of-the-mainstream projects. The first skunkworks was a project to develop the P-80 jet fighter at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in Burbank, California in 1943. The engineers worked under a large circus tent near … [Read more...]

Cantor vs canter

Cantor and canter are two words that are spelled and pronounced similarly, but have two different meanings. We will look at the definitions of the words cantor and canter, where they come from and some examples of their use in sentences. A cantor is a man whose job it is to sing and lead the prayers at synagogue. In modern times, a cantor has usually attended a cantorial school and is trained in musicality, he is an ordained member of the Jewish clergy. However, in smaller synagogues a cantor … [Read more...]

Duplicate vs duplicity

Duplicate and duplicity are two words that come from the same roots but have different meanings. We will look at the definitions of duplicate and duplicity, their common roots and some examples of their use in sentences. Duplicate means to make a copy of something, to have an exact pair of something, to reproduce an exact copy from an original. Duplicate may be used as a noun, verb or adjective. Related words are duplicates, duplicated, duplicating, duplication. The word duplicate is derived … [Read more...]

Ante- vs anti-

Ante- and anti- are prefixes. Though spelled and pronounced similarly, they have very different meanings. Learning the definitions of ante- and anti- is a good way to understand how to spell various words. We will look at the meaning of ante- and anti-, where these prefixes come from and some examples of their use in sentences. The prefix ante- means preceding or before, in relation to physical position or point in time. The prefix ante- is derived from the Latin word ante, which means in … [Read more...]

Going Dutch and Dutch treat

Going Dutch and Dutch treat are two related idioms that have their origins in the 1600s. We will look at the meaning of these two terms, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Going Dutch describes a situation where each participant in an activity pays his own way. Dutch treat also describes a situation where each participant in an activity pays his own way, the idea being that a Dutch treat is in fact no treat at all. The idea of the Dutch treat is a pleasant way … [Read more...]

Oompa Loompa

The term Oompa Loompa was coined by a beloved children's author. We will look at the original meaning of the term Oompa Loompa, the additional meaning the term has acquired, who invented the word and some examples of its use in sentences. An Oompa Loompa is a dwarf or short person. The term Oompa Loompa was coined by the author Roald Dahl to indicate a particular race of people who powered Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. The term Oompa Loompa is simply a reduplication, or a repetition of … [Read more...]

Bacteria vs virus

Bacteria and virus are two terms that are easily confused. We will look at the difference in meaning between bacteria and virus, the singular and plural forms, where the terms come from and some examples of their use in sentences. Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms that have cell walls but do not have an organized nucleus or organelles. Some strains of bacteria are beneficial while others cause disease. Disease-causing bacteria may be treated with antibiotics, though many diseases … [Read more...]

Covert vs overt

Covert and overt are antonyms, which are two words that have opposite meanings from one another. We will look at the difference between the words covert and overt, where the terms come from and some examples of their use in sentences. Covert means concealed, not in the open, not acknowledged, disguised. The word is often used in the term covert operation, which describes a secret action usually perpetrated by an intelligence agency. The word covert is derived from the French word covert, … [Read more...]

Word of mouth

Word of mouth is an idiom that is older than you may think. We will look at the meaning of the term word of mouth, when it first came into usage and some examples of its use in sentences. Word of mouth describes information that is passed orally from person to person in an informal manner, information that is transmitted without being written down. Word of mouth may refer to an oral tradition or storytelling, but today it is most used to describe informal advertising. When something has good … [Read more...]

Mr., Mrs., Ms. and Miss

Mr., Mrs., Ms. and Miss are titles that are used before surnames or full names as a sign of respect. We will look at the definition of these terms, where they come from, when to use them and some examples of their use in sentences. Mr. is a title used before a surname or full name of a male, whether he is married or not. Mr. is an abbreviation for Mister, it is pronounced like the word Mister. The abbreviation Mr. has been in use since the fifteenth century, it is a variant of the word … [Read more...]

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