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Vegetarian vs vegan

Vegetarian and vegan have similar meanings, but with some important differences. We will examine the difference between the definitions of vegetarian and vegan, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A vegetarian is a person who eats vegetables to the exclusion of the flesh of animals, poultry and fish. People become vegetarians for a variety of reasons, including health, availability of resources or objection to the treatment of farm animals. The term … [Read more...]

Upper crust

Upper crust is a term that has been in use since the 1400s, but only came into its current use in the 1800s. We will examine the definition of upper crust, its origins and some examples of its current use. Upper crust means the aristocracy, the upper class, those that occcupy the pinnacle of high society. Starting in the 1400s, the term upper crust referred to many things including a hat and the surface of the earth. By the early 1800s in Britain, upper crust was a slang term used to describe … [Read more...]

Hector

Hector is a proper name that is also used as a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. We will examine the meaning of the verb to hector, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. To hector someone means to bully them, to harass them in a threatening and aggressive manner. Related words are hectors, hectored, hectoring. The word hector, meaning to bully, is derived from a seventeenth-century London juvenile gang known as the Hectors. During the seventeenth … [Read more...]

Laughing stock

The term laughing stock can be traced back to the mid-sixteenth century. We will look at the definition of the term laughing stock, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A laughing stock is someone who is made sport of, who is subjected to mockery, ridicule or humiliation. Usually, the laughing stock is someone who is a serious or respected person and is not used to such treatment. The term laughing stock dates back at least to 1533, and is found in Sir Philip Sidney's … [Read more...]

Juvenile vs juvenal

Juvenile and juvenal are two words that are sometimes confused. We will examine the meaning of the words juvenile and juvenal, the very specific instance in which the word juvenal is used, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Juvenile describes something that relates to young people or animals, a youngster or someone under the legal age of adulthood. Juvenile may be used as an adjective or a noun. The word juvenile is derived from the Latin word juvenis, … [Read more...]

Tontine

A tontine is a financial instrument with an interesting history. We will examine the meaning of the word tontine, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A tontine is a financial instrument in which investors deposit money and are paid annuities. When an investor dies, his portion of the annuity is divided among the surviving investors instead of passing to his heirs. When the last investor dies, the principal most often passes to the state. The first tontine was … [Read more...]

Hand over fist

Hand over fist is a term that comes from the nautical world. It is an idiom, which 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 meaning of the term hand over fist, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Hand over fist means to do something very quickly, at a rapid pace. The term hand over fist almost exclusively is used when referring to the accumulation of money. The term … [Read more...]

Pink slip

Pink slip is an American term that dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. We will examine the meaning of pink slip, some possible sources of the origin of the term and some examples of its use in sentences. A pink slip is a written notice that one's employment is terminated. Supposedly, the term comes from the practice of putting a slip of pink paper in a terminated employee's envelope as notice. Interestingly, many people have attempted to find the origin of this belief, with … [Read more...]

Depravation vs deprivation

Depravation and deprivation are two words that are very close in spelling and pronunciation which are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of depravation and deprivation, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Depravation means the act of corrupting someone, of causing them to become bad or depraved, the act of making someone wicked or perverted. The word depravation is related to the word deprave, a fact which makes remembering the correct … [Read more...]

Track vs tract

Track and tract are two words that are often confused due to their close resemblance in pronunciation and spelling. We will examine the different definitions of track and tract, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Track may refer to a course used to race people, animals or mechanical devices against each other. Track may also mean a lane or path constructed by repeated use rather than by roadwork. Track may also mean a footprint or mark left by passing … [Read more...]

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