Conflict of interest

conflict of interest

Legally a conflict of interest is a conflict between a person's personally interests and their professional obligations. Generally, the phrase is used when it seems a person's personal interests interfere with an impersonal matter. The generally accepted plural is conflicts of interest; however, … [Read more...]

Gage, gauge, and gouge

Besides being a surname, a gage is something given as a security of an obligation, such as a glove or hat in a duel. It is also a variant spelling of gauge, though the latter spelling is much more common. Gauge can be an tool that measures and displays the level of something. Or as a … [Read more...]


A sycophant is a person who praises others to make themselves look better, usually people in powerful positions. It is similar to the word psycho, but does not carry the connotation of being crazy. History This comes from the Greek word sykophantēs, and originally was a combination of sykon fig … [Read more...]


In the past willy-nilly meant willingly or unwillingly; or without consideration for those involved. Now it has the more common definition of without a plan or haphazardly. It is hyphenated. Examples What happens at, say an auction, when a guy arrives pushing a wheelbarrow of money, handing it … [Read more...]


Fracking is a shortened version of the phrase hydraulic fracturing, a process which uses high-pressured liquid to force gas or oil out of the earth. Examples Shale oil and gas drilling employing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, produces millions of gallons of chemical-laced wastewater. [ABC … [Read more...]


A kludge is a temporary solution to a problem, usually with mismatched parts. It is a synonym for jury-rig and its variants. It can be phonetically confused with sludge or crud, but does not carry the connotation of being dirty. Examples Windows 8 hasn't gone over well. It's an odd … [Read more...]

Improvise vs. improvize

In an instance of agreement, the proper spelling is the same everywhere in the English-speaking world: improvise. It means to speak without preparation or invent something using the materials at hand. Examples However, the actress says that the western dance helps her to improvise and fine tune … [Read more...]


An also-ran is someone who lost a race, either athletic or political, by a large margin, or someone of little significance. It is hyphenated. Examples Texas Gov. Rick Perry got some good news last week. In a FOX News poll, Perry moved from an also-ran in the contest for the 2016 Republican … [Read more...]

Flip one’s lid vs. flip one’s wig

To flip one's lid and flip one's wig mean to suddenly lose control to some emotion, either anger or excitement. Flipping your wig is more commonly found in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, it is not an old phrase, but was born in North America in the 1980's. Examples Momma Dee … [Read more...]

At the end of the day

At the end of the day is an idiom with several meanings. It can literally be the end of one's waking hours, or the end of one's work hours. The phrase can also be used in a summary statement to mean 'when all the information has been considered' or 'the most important part is'. A related … [Read more...]

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