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Lukewarm

Lukewarm is a word that dates back to the fourteenth century. We will examine the definition of the word lukewarm, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Lukewarm describes something that is tepid or only slightly warm, something that is neither hot nor cold. Usually, when something is described as lukewarm it is not a compliment nor is it something to be desired. By the sixteenth century the word lukewarm was also used figuratively to mean unenthusiastic, lacking zeal. … [Read more...]

Titan vs tighten

Titan and tighten are two words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the definitions of titan and tighten, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A titan is someone who is a giant in their field or industry, a person who possesses outstanding importance or intellect. The word titan is taken from the Greek word, which refers to figures in mythology. The … [Read more...]

Parting shot

The idiom parting shot, like most idioms, is derived from a literal meaning of the phrase. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of parting shot, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A parting shot is a cutting remark made at the point of departing a scene or area. The idea is to deliver a retort without giving the recipient a chance for rebuttal. … [Read more...]

Watt vs what

Watt and what are two words that are very close in pronunciation and spelling, but have different meanings and are often confused. We will examine the definitions of watt and what, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A watt is a unit of measure of power, equal to one joule per second. A watt is a measurement of electricity and the rate at which it dissipates or is used. The word watt was derived from James Watt, a Scottish scientist and inventor who is … [Read more...]

Top dog

Top dog is a term with murky origins. We will examine the definition of top dog, where this term came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Top dog refers to someone who is at the top of the pecking order, someone who is dominant or at the apex of his field. The term top dog used as an idiom seems to only date back to the 1800s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. Other terms such as over dog … [Read more...]

Sledge vs sludge

Sledge and sludge are two words that are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of sledge and sludge, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Sledge is the British term for a vehicle or toy used to slide downhill on ice or snow. This type of sledge may have runners or a smooth bottom. A sledge is also a vehicle with runners used to transport people or loads over ice and snow, often pulled by horses or oxen. Sledge may also be used as a verb to … [Read more...]

Down at the heels

Down at the heels is an idiom with origins reaching back nearly three hundred years.  An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of the phrase down at the heels, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Down at the heels describes someone or something who is not prosperous, someone or something who has sustained a run of bad luck that has left them … [Read more...]

Reinvent the wheel

Reinvent the wheel is an idiom that may not be as old as you think. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of the phrase reinvent the wheel, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. To reinvent the wheel means to waste one's time working on creating something that has already been created by someone else, or trying to solve a problem that has already … [Read more...]

Cast aspersions

Cast aspersions is an idiom that dates back to the late 1500s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of the phrase cast aspersions, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. To cast aspersions means to call into question someone's integrity, to criticize someone's character, to slander someone. The phrase cast aspersions first appeared in the late … [Read more...]

Rotund vs rotunda

Rotund and rotunda are two words that are often confused. We will examine the definitions of rotund and rotunda, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Rotund may mean spherical or round, but most often rotund is used to describe a person who is portly or overweight. When referring to speech, rotund means grandly eloquent. The word rotund is an adjective, related words are rotundly, rotundness. The word rotund is derived from the Latin word rotundus, which … [Read more...]

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