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Poof, pouf or pouffe

Poof, pouf and pouffe are three words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will examine the definitions of the words poof, pouf and pouffe, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Poof is mostly used as an interjection to mean something has disappeared. Poof may also be used to express derision or dismissal. Poof is used in British English as a slang term for a homosexual, it is an … [Read more...]

Idiot savant or savant syndrome

The terms idiot savant and savant syndrome are psychological terms that refer to the same diagnosis, but one is preferred over the other. We will look at the definitions of the expressions idiot savant and savant syndrome, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. An idiot savant is a person with an intellectual deficit, but who is incredibly gifted in one area. This gift may be of a mathematical, spacial, musical, artistic or other type of talent, or may … [Read more...]

Writer’s block

Writer's block is a term that describes a psychological state in creative people. We will examine the definition of the term writer's block, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Writer's block is a state of being in which a writer can not work on his project. Writer's block may include not being able to conceive an idea or not being able to bring an idea to fruition. Writer's block may come from trying too hard or it may come from not trying hard enough. Stress often … [Read more...]

Pathetic vs apathetic

Pathetic and apathetic are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but have different meanings. We will examine the definitions of the words pathetic and apathetic, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Pathetic describes someone or something that is weak, inadequate, helpless. Pathetic may describe a person who arouses sympathy, or it may describe a person who inspires anger or impatience. The adverb form is pathetically. The word pathetic … [Read more...]

Nomenclature

Nomenclature is a word that has been in use since Ancient Rome, though the meaning has changed slightly. We will examine the definition of the word nomenclature, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Nomenclature is a system of naming things, or a set of symbols.  Nomenclature is usually particular to a certain discipline, art or science. Nomenclature also involves the rules for applying names or terms in a particular field. The word nomenclature is derived from the … [Read more...]

Tariff

The word tariff has been in use since the 1590s. We will examine the meaning of the word tariff, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A tariff is a tax on items that are coming into a country. Tariffs are categorized in schedules, and may be imposed because goods are coming from a specific country or because the items fall into a certain category of goods. Tariffs may be imposed as punishments, but are most often used to protect the production of those goods in the … [Read more...]

Rebus

The word rebus goes back to the 1500s, and may be confusing. We will examine the definition of the word rebus, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A rebus is a puzzle, consisting of pictures or images that are used to signify the sounds of words or parts of words. For instance, a rebus consisting of a picture of an eye and a picture of a can of soup would translate to "I can." The first book of rebus puzzles was published in France in the mid-1500s by poet Etienne … [Read more...]

Beat a dead horse and flog a dead horse

Beat a dead horse and flog a dead horse are two idioms that mean the same thing. An idiom is a figure of speech that 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 definition of the phrases beat a dead horse and flog a dead horse, where these terms may have come from and some examples of their use in sentences. To beat a dead horse or to flog a dead horse means to belabor a point, to continue in a … [Read more...]

Prom and The Proms

The word prom has a very different meaning in the United States and Britain. We will examine the various meanings of the word prom, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. In the United States, a prom is a semi-formal dinner/dance held at the end of the year in high schools. The word prom is derived from the word promenade, which is a term for an informal parade at the beginning of a formal dance. The American prom began as a college semi-formal dance at the end of the … [Read more...]

Debauchery

The term debauchery dates back to the 1640s. We will examine the definition of the word debauchery, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Debauchery is an excessive participation in physical pleasure, especially sex, drugs and alcohol. Debauchery is immoral behavior, though not necessarily illegal behavior, and is extreme.  The plural form of debauchery is debaucheries. The verb form is debauch, which means to corrupt someone by means of sex, alcohol, drugs or other … [Read more...]

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