Schizophrenia as an adjective

Schizophrenia is a complex medical disease in which the person loses touch with reality and thinks or acts in illogical ways. A person can be schizophrenic if he or she is diagnosed with schizophrenia. The person can also be called schizophrenic if he or she shows conflicting thoughts or actions, so it is as if he or she has lost touch with reality. An event or object can also be schizophrenic.  The adverb form is schizophrenically. The word comes from the Greek which literally means … [Read more...]

Prodigious vs prolific

Prodigious is an adjective that describes something or someone as extremely impressive, either in mass or quality. Prodigiously is an adverb usually used as a second modifier. Prodigiousness is the noun form. While this word comes from prodigy (a young someone who has an incredible ability) the adjective prodigious does not refer to someone being a prodigy. Prolific is an adjective used to describe someone or something as producing many things, as in fruit from a plant, music from a … [Read more...]

Gaiety or mirth

Gaiety is a noun for a attitude or atmosphere that is happy or lively, something with lots of energy. The plural is spelled gaieties. An alternative spelling is listed in US dictionaries as gayety, but this has been out of favor for decades and is only used now for proper nouns or in old quotes. Outside the US a common phrase is the gaiety of nations. It means a sense of happiness or cheerfulness, and may sometimes be used ironically to mean the exact opposite. Mirth can be a synonym … [Read more...]

Recognize vs recognise

Recognize means to remember, acknowledge truth or legal authority, or to realize something. British English lists an alternate spelling as recognise, but the main entry is recognize. North Americans (yes, that includes Canada) prefer the ize spelling, and this is accepted everywhere. However, outside North America some prefer the ise spelling and it is not incorrect. This spelling change goes across all derivatives including: recognizability, recognisability, recognizable, recognisable, … [Read more...]

Convivial vs congenial

Convivial is an adjective used to describe something or someone as having to do with a good time, usually a large social event with lots of food and drink. Sometimes it is used to describe something as friendly, but in the sense that people are friendly over small talk at a party. The noun form is conviviality and the adverb form is convivially. The word comes from the Latin convivium for feast or banquet. Congenial is an adjective used to describe something or someone as being liked … [Read more...]

Say one’s peace vs piece

The main problem with this phrase is that piece and peace are homophones. So until you read a phrase, you don't know which one is used, or misused. Say one's piece is the traditional version of the phrase and means to give a prepared speech or share an established opinion. Make peace means to let go of a grudge or reconnect with someone after an argument. Hold one's peace is to stay quiet about one's objections. This is most often heard in marriage ceremonies. An argument can be made … [Read more...]

Redneck vs hick vs hillbilly

Redneck is a term that can act as a noun or an adjective. It is a stereotype of a white person from the United States, usually from the South in a small town. This person is uneducated with outdated or discriminatory views. The term was coined in the 1890s, describing the suntan farmers would get between hairline and shirt collar. From the beginning it was used by the upper class in a derogatory manner, but it was also embraced by those people it described. They were proud of their "red … [Read more...]

Second that emotion or notion or motion

Second that emotion was the title of a popular song by Smokey Robinson in 1967. It was a play on words from the phrase second that motion. It can be used to say that someone doesn't feel the same way as someone else, but it is almost exclusively tongue in cheek and referencing the song. Second that motion is a phrase used in formal meetings. A motion is a proposal of action, which may or may not need to be seconded. To second something is to agree that it should be done. Usually a motion … [Read more...]


Parsimony is a noun that describes the personality trait of being stingy or unwilling to part with one's money. Another synonym is thrifty, so the term can either have a good connotation or be pejorative. The law of parsimony is a scientific principle that basically says the simplest explanation is the most likely to be correct. It is also known as Ockham's Razor. The phrase law of parsimony is uncommon enough that every instance we found of it had an explanation in text. A person who is … [Read more...]


A gadfly is a term that may encompass several fly species that bite or irritate either livestock or people. Figuratively, a gadfly is someone who irritates or annoys, specifically by constant criticism. Sometimes this criticism is for the purpose of moving someone or a group of people into action. The plural is gadflies. The term comes from the word gad which has several meanings. It can be a name or an interjection. As a verb, it means to move to and from different locales purely to find … [Read more...]

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