Credible, creditable or credulous

Credible is an adjective which means believable or trustworthy, convincing, able to persuade people of a successful outcome. Derived words are credibility, credibly, and credibleness. Credible first appears in the late fourteenth century from the Latin credibilis, meaning worthy to be believed. Creditable is an adjective which means deserving of acknowledgement, praiseworthy. Creditable refers to one who deserves credit. Derived words are creditableness, creditability and creditably. … [Read more...]

Coiffure vs coiffeur

A coiffure is a hairstyle, an arrangement of hair on a person's head. Coiffure usually refers to an elaborate styling of the hair. Coiffure may also function as a transitive verb, related words are coiffures, coiffured, coiffuring. The adjective form is coiffured. Coiffure comes from the mid-seventeenth century French word, coiffer meaning arrange the hair. A coiffeur is the person who arranges hair, the hairdresser or hairstylist. Strictly speaking, a female hairdresser would be a coiffeuse. … [Read more...]

Cay, quay and key

A cay is a naturally occurring low island, either a sandbar or a coral reef. Cay is most often applied to Caribbean islands, the preferred pronunciation is "key" Cay comes from the Spanish word, cayo, which means key. Its first use to refer to an island occurred in 1707. Key also may refer to a naturally occurring low island, either a sandbar or a coral reef. Key is most often applied to Caribbean islands. Key also comes from the Spanish word, cayo, which means key. A quay is a man-made … [Read more...]

Hue and cry

Hue and cry is a phrase that means a public outcry. The term comes from a common law established in the Statute of Winchester in 1285 which called upon any constable or private citizen who witnessed a crime to make a hue and cry to alert other citizens, and to keep up the hue and cry in pursuit of the fleeing criminal from town to town. All men who heard the shouts were to help pursue the criminal until he was caught and presented to the sheriff. Failure to assist upon hearing a hue and cry was … [Read more...]

Hole vs whole

A hole is (1.) a cavity, a hollowed-out place (2.) an opening passing through an object (3.) an animal burrow (4.) in the United States, a hole may be a cove or small bay (5.) a cylindrical cup sunk into a golf green in which a ball is to be hit, or hole may refer to one of the eighteen distinct sections of a regulation golf course (5.) a small, dingy, squalid room or house. Hole may be used as a transitive verb describing making a hole or driving into a hole. Related words are holes, holed and … [Read more...]

Currant vs current

A currant is a small dried fruit which is raisin-like, made from a Mediterranean grape, the zante. A currant is also a berry from a currant shrub such as a blackcurrant, redcurrant or whitecurrant. They are often used in baking and in jellies and jams. Currant comes from the mid-fourteenth century term raysyn of Curans, literally raisins of Corinth, referring to the zante. In the 1570s currant was also applied to the Northern European berry. Current is a flow of water or air that moves in a … [Read more...]

Clamor vs clamber

Clamor means an uproar, a loud outcry or sustained noise. Clamor may also be used as an intransitive verb or transitive verb, meaning to make or bring about a loud outcry or a sustained noise. Related words are clamors, clamored, clamorer, clamorous and clamoring. The British spellings are clamour, clamours, clamoured, clamourer, clamorous. Clamor comes from the fourteenth century Latin clamor, a shout, a loud call and from clamare, to cry out. Clamber means to climb or scale in an awkward or … [Read more...]

Baker’s dozen

A baker's dozen is a set of thirteen, twelve plus one more. The term baker's dozen comes from the habit of medieval bakers tossing in an extra loaf of bread called the in-bread or vantage loaf, in orders of a dozen loaves to be sure the order did not come up short by weight. If a baker's product was light, he had to pay a fine. Bakers were regulated by the trade guild,The Worshipful Company of Bakers, which was formed under the reign of Henry II. Today, merchants offer a baker's dozen as a … [Read more...]


A jackanapes is a presumptive, conceited person. Jackanapes can also refer to a rambunctious child. Jackanapes is a dated term that first appeared in the mid-fifteenth century as Jack Napes, referring to a tame ape. The name Jack Napes was then applied to a duke who was accused of treason and banished, his emblem was an ape on a chain. Jackanapes went through various spellings until it evolved into its present form. Examples This besuited jackanapes is fit neither to represent English … [Read more...]


Byproduct means an ancillary product or result of a primary process. A byproduct may be unintended, but not necessarily unwelcome. For instance, grape seed oil is a byproduct of the winemaking process, and molasses is a byproduct of the refining of sugar. Byproduct is the preferred form of the word, though sometimes it is written as by-product, but never two separate words. Byproduct is a compound word, coined in 1857. Examples One especially enticing byproduct of the dish is that you end up … [Read more...]

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