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Picayune

Picayune is a word that is primarily used in North America, with an interesting origin. We will examine the definition of the word picayune, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.Picayune means petty, insignificant, not worth much. The word picayune seems to have entered the English language in the very early nineteenth century, in the Louisiana Territory. The United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, and as may be expected, the area contained … [Read more...]

Scintilla

Scintilla is a word with an interesting etymology. The etymology of a word is its origin and development through time. We will examine the meaning of the word scintilla, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.A scintilla is a small trace of something, a tiny particle of something whether it is something physical or something intangible such as an idea or feeling. The word scintilla is borrowed from the Latin, originally meaning a spark, a tiny glimmer of fire. In the … [Read more...]

No pain, no gain vs no pain, no game

No pain, no gain and no pain, no game are two phrases that are often heard. However, one expression is a well-known proverb and the other is an eggcorn, which is a misheard phrase, saying, lyric or slogan that retains the original meaning. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase that gives particular advice or shares a universal truth.We will examine the meaning of the correct term, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.No pain, no gain is a proverb that means in … [Read more...]

In a New York Minute

In a New York minute is an idiom with interesting origins. 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 meaning of the idiomatic phrase in a New York minute, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.In a New York minute means right away, immediately, quickly and without hesitation. As you may suppose, in a New York minute is an American … [Read more...]

Satisficing vs satisfying

Satisficing and satisfying are two words that are quite similar in pronunciation and spelling, but have very different meanings. We will examine the definitions of satisficing and satisfying, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.Satisficing describes something that meets the minimum requirements of a goal, performing something at a satisfactory level rather than at the maximum level possible. It is a strategy for decision making that was introduced by … [Read more...]

Right off the bat

Right off the bat is an idiom with its roots in the sports world. 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 expression right off the bat, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.Right off the bat means immediately, right away or from the very beginning. The phrase right off the bat is assumed to have come from the … [Read more...]

Come-hither look

The term come-hither look first appeared around the turn of the twentieth century. We will examine the meaning of the phrase come-hither look, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.A come-hither look is a one that is sexually inviting, a glance that is flirtatious or seductive. The term come-hither look first appeared around 1895 in newspapers as a way to express a woman's sexual designs in a euphemistic manner. Hither is a word that means this place, the place where I … [Read more...]

Fusillade vs fuselage

Fusillade and fuselage are two words that are spelled and pronounced similarly, but have very different meanings. We will examine the definitions of the words fusillade and fuselage, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.A fusillade is a succession of shots fired in quick succession or simultaneously. The word fusillade may also be used metaphorically, as in a fusillade of criticism. Fusillade may be used a noun or a verb, related terms are fusillades, … [Read more...]

Swatch vs swath

Swatch and swath are two words that are very close in pronunciation and spelling, but have very different meanings. We will examine the definitions of swatch and swath, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.A swatch is a small piece of cloth that serves as a sample. Often, swatches are collected in books to be used in designing and decorating. Swatch may also refer to any small sample, such as a paint swatch. A new use of the word has emerged to mean to try … [Read more...]

Cut-throat

The word cut-throat belongs to an interesting subset of compound words found in the English language. We will look at the definition of the word cut-throat, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.A cut-throat situation, competition or method describes one that is intensely competitive or ruthless, one in which no mercy is shown. Most often, cut-throat is used as an adjective, but it may be used as a noun to mean a murderer, someone who is liable to literally cut a … [Read more...]

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