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Let one’s hair down

The phrase let one's hair down dates back to women's grooming practices, four hundred years ago. We will examine the meaning of the idiom let one's hair down, where it comes from and some examples of its use in sentences. To let one's hair down means to behave in an uninhibited fashion, to behave freely. The idiom dates back to the 1600s, when women in the upper classes wore their hair in extremely elaborate hairdos, replete with feathers or flowers and towering two feet and more in height. … [Read more...]

Scared vs scarred

Scared and scarred are two words that are often confused. We will look at the difference in meaning between scared and scarred, where these two words come from and some examples of their use in sentences. Scared means frightened, afraid, fearful or nervous. Scared may be used as an adjective or the past tense of scare. The word scared are derived from the Old Norse word skirram which means to shun, to frighten, to avert. Scarred means left with a mark on one's skin from a burn, cut, sore … [Read more...]

Redress vs readdress

Redress and readdress are similar in pronunciation and spelling but have very different meanings. We will look at the definitions of redress and readdress, where the words come from and some examples of their use in sentences. Redress means to make something that is wrong, right again, to remedy a situation, to compensate for a grievance, to make reparation. It may also mean to clothe again. The word redress may be used as a noun or a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. … [Read more...]

Auld lang syne

Auld lang syne is an old Scottish term that is often used on New Year's Eve. We will look at the meaning of the phrase auld lang syne, where it originated and some examples of its use in sentences. Auld lang syne means old times past, times gone by. Auld lang syne is probably best known for a song by the same name that is traditionally sung at midnight on New Year's Eve, nostalgically remembering the people and events in the past year. Robert Burns is credited with writing the ballad Auld … [Read more...]

Step vs steppe

Step and steppe are two words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will look at the definitions of step and steppe, where the words come from and some examples of their use in sentences. Step means to pick up one foot and place it in another position, transferring one's weight in order to move through space, the distance covered by picking up one's foot and placing it in another position or the sound of this … [Read more...]

Country mile

A country mile is a term that dates back at least to the 1800s. We will look at the definition of the term country mile, its origin and some examples of its use in sentences. A country mile is a deceptively long distance, an extremely long way. The idea behind a country mile is the fact that most country roads are not in a straight line. Instead, roads in the country tend to meander up and down and all around. This makes it seem as if a mile in the country takes longer to cross than a … [Read more...]

Sequins vs sequence

Sequins and sequence are two words that sound very similar but have different spellings and different definitions. We will look at the meaning of sequins and sequence, where the words come from and some examples of their use in sentences. Sequins are small, shiny discs made from plastic or very thin metal that are used for decoration, especially on items of dress. Technically, a sequin has a hole in the very center, while a spangle has a hole at the top. Sequins are usually round, though they … [Read more...]

Rob Peter to pay Paul

The idiom rob Peter to pay Paul goes back at least 600 years, and possibly longer. We will look at the meaning of the phrase rob Peter to pay Paul, where it comes from and some examples of its use in sentences. To rob Peter to pay Paul means to take take money from one source to give it to another. Usually, robbing Peter to pay Paul means taking the money one would pay off one debt to pay off another debt, it is a situation where there is not enough money to go around and one must choose … [Read more...]

Nitty-gritty

Nitty-gritty is an American word, though its exact origin is up for debate. We will look at the definition of the term nitty-gritty, some theories of its origin and some examples of its use in sentences. Nitty-gritty means the essential core of a matter, the most vital details of a situation, the most practical part of something. There is a story that the term nitty-gritty originated in the time of slave ships, that the term referred to the detritus left in the bottom of a slave ship hold. … [Read more...]

Old as Methuselah

Old as Methuselah is an idiom that goes back to the fourteenth century. We will examine the meaning of the phrase old as Methuselah, where it comes from and some examples of its use in sentences. Old as Methuselah is an idiom that means extremely old. Methuselah is the name of a character from the Old Testament of the Bible, he was the grandfather of Noah. Methuselah is said to have died at the age of 969, making him the longest-lived figure in the Bible. The name Methuselah translates as man … [Read more...]

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