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Cursory vs curse

Cursory and curse are two words that seem as if they should be related, but they are not. We will examine the differing definitions of cursory and curse, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Cursory describes something that is done in haste, something that is done superficially and does not involve details or deep thought. Cursory is an adjective, related words are cursorily, cursoriness. The word cursory is derived from the Latin word cursorius which means … [Read more...]

Catcall

Catcall is an interesting closed compound word that has been in use since the mid-1600s. A closed compound word is composed of two words joined together without a space. We will examine the definition of catcall, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Originally, the word catcall referred to whistles or jeers at a public forum or a public performance, indicating disapproval or anger. While still used to mean jeers in a public forum, the word catcall has evolved to also … [Read more...]

Butterfly effect

The term butterfly effect is a popular term that was coined in the 1970s. We will examine the definition of the expression butterfly effect, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. The butterfly effect is the idea that a minute, local change in a system can precipitate large effects in another part of the system. The proposition is a founding idea of chaos theory, a mathematical theory that has been applied to other sciences and even everyday life. Most people understand … [Read more...]

Immolate vs emulate

Immolate and emulate are two words that are similar in spelling and pronunciation, but have very different meanings. We will examine the definitions of the words immolate and emulate, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Immolate means to offer as a sacrifice or to kill as a sacrifice, especially by the method of burning. Immolate may also simply mean to destroy. The word carries the connotation of complete annihilation. Immolate is a transitive verb, which is a … [Read more...]

Terroir and terror

Though seldom used, the word terroir is sometimes confused with the word terror. Close in spelling, these two words are unrelated. We will examine the definitions of terroir and terror, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Terroir is the environment in which a crop is produced, and includes the terrain, the soil, the climate, the cultivation practices and other factors. Terroir may refer to the environment or the characteristics imparted to the crop because … [Read more...]

Silva vs silver

Silva and silver are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but have very different meanings. We will examine the definitions of silva and silver, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Silva means the trees of a certain area, the trees of a forest. The word silva came into use in the mid-1800s and is derived from the Latin word silva, which means wood. The plural form of silva may be expressed as silvas or silvae. Silver is a shiny … [Read more...]

Horse of a different color and horse of another color

Horse of a different color and horse of another color are two forms of an idiom that dates back to Shakespeare. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meaning of the phrases horse of a different color and horse of another color, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Horse of a different color and horse of another color are phrases used to refer to … [Read more...]

Inference vs interference

Inference and interference are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but have different meanings. We will examine the definitions of inference and interference, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. An inference is a conclusion or deduction based upon evidence, particularly indirect evidence. Inference is a noun, first used around the turn of the seventeenth century, to describe the act of inferring. Inference is derived from the Latin word … [Read more...]

Sequacious

Sequacious is a word that is rarely used, and is therefore confusing to some people. We will examine the definition of the word sequacious, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Sequacious is an adjective that describes someone who does not have a mind of his own, someone who is easily influenced or easily led, someone who adopts the ideas, goals or prejudices of someone else without thinking deeply about them. Someone who is sequacious is not independent of thought. … [Read more...]

Perfunctory vs peremptory

Perfunctory and peremptory are two words that many find confusing. We will examine the definitions of perfunctory and peremptory, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Perfunctory describes something that is done in a quick, careless or routine manner. An action that is perfunctory has little thought behind it, usually it is a duty that one wishes to deal with using as little effort as possible. Perfunctory is an adjective, related words are perfunctorily, … [Read more...]

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