Elephant in the room

The elephant in the room is a large, obvious, and important thing that no one wants to address because the problem is uncomfortable. The elephant in the room is an American phrase with murky origins, the first reference being in 1935 to mean something obvious and incongruous. In the 1950s, the elephant in the room came to mean what it means today, something enormous that people choose to ignore because it is uncomfortable to deal with. An interesting example of ignoring the elephant in the room … [Read more...]

Desert vs dessert

Desert may be pronounced two ways, when the first syllable is stressed, as in DEsert, it is a noun or adjective meaning a dry, desolate area, especially one covered in sand, waterless and usually hot during the day and chilly at night. Related words are desertic and desertification. Desert comes from the Late Latin desertum meaning thing abandoned. When pronounced as deSERT, the word means 1.) to abandon, to leave someone, to abandon a military post without permission, to leave a place so as it … [Read more...]

Rational or rationale

Rational is an adjective which means in accordance with logic, sensible, reasonable, having the ability to reason. Rational connotes the absence of emotion when addressing a problem or argument and relying only on facts and logic. The adverb form is rationally and the noun forms are rationalness and more commonly, rationality. The verb form is rationalize, related forms are rationalizes, rationalized, rationalizing, rationalization. Rationalize may sometimes mean an attempt to justify one's … [Read more...]

Bounteous vs bountiful

Bounteous is an adjective which means given without restraint, given generously. Bounteous also means abundant, plentiful. The Oxford English dictionary considers bounteous to be an archaic word, related words are bounteously and bounteousness. Bountiful is an adjective which means given without restraint, given generously. Bountiful also means abundant, plentiful. Related words are bountifully and bountifulness. Bounteous and bountiful are interchangeable, though some dictionaries prefer the … [Read more...]


The ampersand (&) is a symbol which is used as shorthand for and or the Latin et, as in &c. The ampersand appears in the first century in Old Roman Cursive, when the Latin word, et, (which means and) was sometimes written with the e and t linked together. Later, the symbol that consisted of the conjoined Latin letters e and t came to be used as a substitute for the English word, and. The symbol & was not called an ampersand until the 1800s. At that time, the & was considered the … [Read more...]

Poisonous vs venomous

Poisonous is an adjective which describes a plant, animal or other substance that causes sickness or death if inhaled, ingested or touched. Poisonous may also refer to a malicious or toxic environment or situation. The adverb form is poisonously, the noun form is poisonousness. Poisonous first appears in the 1570s, derived from the word poison, which meant a deadly potion or substance. Venomous is an adjective which describes an animal that injects poisonous venom into a victim through a bite … [Read more...]

Innate vs enate

Innate is an adjective which means a quality, attribute or talent that is inborn, natural, existing within someone or something since birth. The adverb form is innately, the noun form is innateness. Innate comes into the language in the early fifteenth century derived from the Latin innatus, the past participle of innasci meaning to be born in or originate in. Enate is an adjective which means to be related through one's mother's lineage, enatic is also a used as an adjective to mean to be … [Read more...]

Devil’s food cake

Devil's food cake is a chocolate cake that is baked mainly in the United States and Canada. A devil's food cake differs from a chocolate cake in its ingredients. A chocolate cake normally calls for melted chocolate, a devil's food cake calls for cocoa with the main liquid ingredient being boiling water with baking soda. These ingredients create a richer, more moist devil's food cake. Presumably, devil's food cake was created to be the antithesis of the angel food cake, which is extremely light … [Read more...]

Cross the line

To cross the line means to overstep a boundary, to go beyond socially accepted behavior. When one crosses the line, one goes from being acceptable to being unacceptable. One may cross the line by asking questions that are too personal, by acting outside the rules, or or giving in to temptation. Someone who has crossed the line has displayed behavior that is offensive. Related terms are crosses the line, crossed the line and crossing the line. According to Google's Ngram, the term cross the line … [Read more...]

Dog breed names

Dog breed names are derived from information specific to that breed. A dog breed may be named after that breed’s place of origin. The Dalmatian breed hales from the region of Dalmatia, situated in present-day Croatia, the Dogue de Bordeaux breed comes from the Bordeaux region of France and the Australian Shepherd, an example of which may be seen on the Life with dogs website, from Australia. Some dog breed names originated from the job that the breed was developed to perform. The Rat Terrier was … [Read more...]

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