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Quick entries: U-V

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Udder vs. utter: Udder: a baglike mammary organ that secretes milk, characteristic of cows and other mammals. Utter: to say. (Take) umbrage: take offense. Underlie vs. underline (metaphorical senses): To underlie is to serve as the basis of something. To underline is to emphasize or … [Read more...]

Quick entries: T

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Tabula rasa: Latin for blank slate. In English, it refers to (1) a mind without preconceived notions, or (2) a fresh start at something. Take a shine to: to begin to like. Take aback: to surprise or disconcert. Take down vs. takedown: Take down is a verb phrase (e.g., Please take down … [Read more...]

Quick entries: S

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Salience: Saliency is far less common and has no meanings of its own. Sanction: an antagonym, meaning it has contradictory definitions---(1) to encourage or tolerate, and (2) to penalize. Of course, the word has several other definitions. Sang vs. sung: Sang has not gained ground as the … [Read more...]

Quick entries: R

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Radios: not radioes. Rainwater: The one-word spelling is accepted, but it is commonly spelled rain water. Rancor vs. rancour: rancor in American English; rancour everywhere else. Randomise vs. randomize: In the U.S. and Canada, it's randomize, randomized, randomizing, randomization, etc. … [Read more...]

Quick entries: P-Q

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Paediatrics vs. pediatrics: pediatrics in North America; paediatrics outside North America. The spelling distinction extends to all derivative words. Paid vs. paying: A paying customer is a customer who has paid. A paid customer is bad for business. Paraphernalia: personal belongings or … [Read more...]

Quick entries: O

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Oasis: plural oases. Off (first off, second off, etc.): First off, second off, etc. mean the same as first of all, second of all, etc., but they are more colloquial. Once and a while: mondegreen for once in a while. Once in a lifetime vs. once-in-a-lifetime: Hyphenate it if it comes … [Read more...]

Quick entries: N

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Nascent: just coming into existence, emerging, or being born. Nemesis: (1) an agent of retribution or vengeance, (2) a source of harm or setbacks. The plural is nemeses (a very welcome irregular plural, as nemesises doesn't exactly roll off the tongue). Neutralise vs. neutralize: In the U.S. … [Read more...]

Quick entries: M

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Machiavellian: marked by cunning trickery, especially in politics or government. Machine gun vs. machinegun: machine gun is two words as a noun phrase; machinegun is the verb for to shoot with a machine gun. Make pretend: make it pretend or make believe. Make up vs. makeup: make up is the … [Read more...]

Quick entries: J, K, L

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been well researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Jam: One's jam is a song, especially one that is soulful or has a beat, that has special meaning, inspires deep feelings, or inspires dancing. Jinx: to give bad luck. Jones: to have a strong desire for something. One who is jonesing for something is filled with obsessive want. The word is … [Read more...]

Quick entries: I

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Ibid.: abbreviation of Latin ibidem, meaning the same place. It's used in footnotes, endnotes, and citations to refer to the preceding note. Iconic: originally meant bearing great symbolic weight or representing its time or place. But now it's usually just a synonym of famous. Ideation: the … [Read more...]

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