Awry vs wry

Awry means not going to plan, amiss, off course, not in the correct position. Awry may be used as an adjective or an adverb. Wry means twisted, as in a facial expression, or something perverse or amiss. Wry also describes dry or gently mocking humor. Wry is an adjective, the comparative and superlative forms may be spelled as wryer and wryest or wrier and wriest, the noun form is wryness. Both wry and awry are derived from the Old English word wrigian, which means to turn, move, … [Read more...]

Seasonable vs seasonal

Seasonable means appropriate or usual for the season of the year, something is taking place during the appropriate season. The most prevalent use of the word seasonable is to describe weather. Seasonable is an adjective, related words are seasonably, seasonability, seasonableness. Seasonal describes something that occurs during a certain season of the year, something characteristic of a certain season or something that only occurs during a certain season. Seasonal is also an adjective, … [Read more...]

Off the record vs not for attribution

Off the record describes information that is communicated with the expectation that the listener will not publish the information or attribute the information to the speaker. Off the record also refers to asides in business or criminal proceedings that are not entered into the record. In journalism, off the record is often confused with the term not for attribution. Strictly interpreted, information communicated off the record is only for the edification of the journalist. This information might … [Read more...]

Gunwale and gunnel

A gunwale is the upper side of a ship or boat or the uppermost planks of a wooden vessel. Originally, the gunwale of a ship was the part of the deck where the guns were mounted and the term was spelled gonne wale, meaning gun plank. Gunwale is pronounced GUNnull. Gunnel is an alternate spelling of gunwale, the definition of gunnel is also the upper side of a ship or boat or the uppermost planks of a wooden vessel. This spelling is gaining momentum as it is closer to how the word is … [Read more...]

Zero tolerance

Zero tolerance means punishing transgressions to the full extent of the law without considering extenuating circumstances or the previous criminal record of the transgressor. Zero tolerance means no excuse or explanation will mitigate the penalty for breaking a rule or law. Zero tolerance first appeared in the United States in the 1970s to battle endemic crime, such as drugs. Interestingly, the first use of the term zero tolerance was by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the 1950s and … [Read more...]

Riptide, rip current or undertow

A riptide is an extremely strong current that occurs when the ocean tide pulls water through a small area such as a bay, lagoon or other confined body of water. Riptides occur during the ebb tide and are reversing currents. A riptide is very hazardous to swimmers. The word riptide is sometimes rendered as two words, rip tide. A rip current is a dangerous current that occurs on a beach. Water is pushed up on the beach through the action of breaking waves, this water must escape back to sea. If … [Read more...]

Reluctant vs reticent

Reluctant means disinclined to do something, unwilling to do something, resistant to doing something. Reluctant has a negative connotation, as if the person in question is perhaps stubborn or overscrupulous. Reluctant is an adjective, derived from the Latin word reluctantem, the adverb form is reluctantly. Reticent means quiet, not liable to communicate thoughts, ideas or feelings readily, reserved. Reticent describes a quiet temperament and does not carry a negative connotation. Reticent is … [Read more...]

Receipt vs recipe

A receipt is an acknowledgement of something having been received. Often, a receipt is an acknowledgement of payment for goods or services rendered. Receipt may be used as a noun or a verb. An archaic meaning of receipt is recipe, the use of the word receipt to mean recipe survived until the latter part of the twentieth century in the United States, especially in the southern United States. Receipt is derived from the Old French word recite, which means receipt, recipe, prescription. A recipe … [Read more...]

Variety is the spice of life

Variety is the spice of life is an expression that means life is more interesting when one tries new things to vary one's experiences. Variety is the spice of life is an idiom and a proverb that encourages one to branch out and to stay out of a rut. The idiom was coined by William Cowper, the exact quote is "Variety’s the very spice of life," which Cowper wrote in 1785 as a comment on rapidly changing fashion. Though the sentiment of embracing variety and change in one's life as the key to an … [Read more...]

Minimum vs minimal

Minimum means the least amount possible, the smallest possible amount required, recorded or attainable. Minimum may be used as a noun or an adjective, the word comes from the Latin word minimum which means smallest thing. The plural form of minimum may either be minimums or minima, minimums is the most prevalent. Minimal also means the least amount possible, the smallest possible amount required, recorded or attainable. However, minimal may also mean a small or negligible amount, not … [Read more...]

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