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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...]

Connive vs contrive

Connive and contrive are two words that are often confused. We will examine the definitions of connive and contrive, where these two different words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Connive means to secretly scheme to commit something underhanded, immoral, illegal or mean, usually along with someone else. Connive may also mean to allow something underhanded, immoral, illegal or mean to occur by looking the other way and doing nothing to stop it. Connive is an … [Read more...]

Take a back seat

Take a back seat is an idiom that may be older than 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 meaning of the phrase take a back seat, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. To take a back seat means to take or be put into a position of less power or subordination. The idiom take a back seat refers to the seats in the rear of a theater, church, bus or car, … [Read more...]

Tacks vs tax

Tacks and tax are two words that are pronounced in the same fashion but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the definitions of tacks and tax, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Tacks is the plural form of the word tack, which is a small nail with a broad head. Tack may also mean a pin used to keep a tie man's tie in place, a long basting stitch or a course of action. Tacks is also the present … [Read more...]

Infomercial

Infomercial is a portmanteau word that was coined in the late twentieth century. A portmanteau is a word that is composed by blending the sounds and the meaning of two different words. We will examine the meaning of the word infomercial, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. An infomercial is a television program that is in fact a long commercial disguised as entertainment. Infomercials are often thirty minutes or an hour long in order to fit into programming … [Read more...]

Soared vs sword

Soared and sword are two words that are pronounced in the same fashion but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the definitions of soared and sword, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Soared is the past tense of the word soar, which means to fly high, to rise into the air, to glide on air currents. Soar is an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object. Soar may also be … [Read more...]

Wend vs wind

Wend and wind are two words that are pronounced the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the definitions of wend and wind, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Wend means to travel in a direction in a slow or meandering fashion. Wend is an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object. Related words are wends, wended, wending. The word wend is derived from the Old … [Read more...]

Stick-in-the-mud

Stick-in-the-mud is an idiom that can be traced back to the 1730s. 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 stick-in-the-mud, where the term came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Stick-in-the-mud is used to denote someone set in his ways, someone who lacks a sense of adventure and does not appreciate change. The term stick-in-the-mud goes back at least to the … [Read more...]

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