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First World problem

The term First World problem was first coined in the late 1970s, but it was popularized by an internet meme in the early 2000s. We will examine the meaning of the phrase First World problem, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A First World problem is an inconsequential frustration, an unimportant annoyance that is blown out of proportion due to the sufferer's lack of real and important problems. An example of a First World problem is a smart phone that only receives … [Read more...]

Savor vs saver

Savor and saver are two words that are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will examine the definitions of savor and saver, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Savor describes the act of enjoying something, especially for its flavor. When one savors something, one lingers over the enjoyment of that thing. Savor may be used as a noun, but is most often used as a transitive verb, … [Read more...]

Keeping up with the Joneses

Keeping up with the Joneses is an American phrase that dates back to the early 1900s. We will examine the meaning of the term keeping up with the Joneses, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Keeping up with the Joneses means to strive to emulate the success of one's peers, to show that one is as wealthy or as accomplished as one's neighbors or peers. In this case, Joneses is the plural form of the surname Jones, and is meant to signify a generic family of neighbors. … [Read more...]

Whippersnapper

Whippersnapper is a word that goes back hundreds of years. It is a closed compound word, which is a word composed of two separate words that were used together so often that they eventually became melded into one word. We will examine the meaning of the word whippersnapper, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A whippersnapper is a young person who is presumptuous, a young person who is overconfident. The term whippersnapper is derived from the terms snipper-snapper … [Read more...]

Sun vs son

Sun and son are two words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will examine the definitions of sun and son, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Sun is the name for the star that is at the center of our solar system, it is the star which the Earth orbits around. Sun also denotes the light and warmth that emanates from the sun and reaches Earth. Sun is also used generically to … [Read more...]

Egg someone on

To egg someone on is an idiom with an interesting origin. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of to egg someone on, where this phrase came from and some examples of its use in sentences. To egg someone on means to incite a person to take a course of action, to encourage someone to do something, especially something socially unacceptable, something criminal or something … [Read more...]

Roux, rue or roué

Roux, rue and roué are three words that are often confused. We will look at the definitions of roux, rue and roué, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A roux is a mixture of a fat, such as butter, and flour, that is used to make a sauce or a gravy. The term roux is derived from the French culinary term beurre roux, which means browned butter. Rue means to regret something, to wish one may undo something. Rue carries a connotation of bitterness. Rue is a … [Read more...]

Put a damper on

Put a damper on is an idiom that was first used in the 1700s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the meaning of put a damper on, where the phrase came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Put a damper on means to dishearten someone, to make something less successful or less pleasurable, to inhibit something or somehow curtail it. Damper may indicate something that quenches a … [Read more...]

Fifteen minutes of fame

Fifteen minutes of fame is a phrase that was coined in the 1960s and is often quoted and referred to in modern times. We will examine the meaning of the phrase fifteen minutes of fame, some derivations of the term, who coined it, and some examples of its use in sentences. Fifteen minutes of fame refers to the phenomenon of ordinary people becoming famous for a short period of time. The term seems to be even more appropriate now than when it was coined in 1968, with the advent of … [Read more...]

Flecks vs flex

Flecks and flex are two words that are pronounced in the same manner but have very different meanings as well as different spellings. They are homophones. We will examine the definitions of flecks and flex, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Flecks is the plural form of the word fleck, which describes a particle of something, a flake of something, a small patch of color or light. Fleck may be used as a noun or a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes … [Read more...]

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