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Knuckle under vs knuckle down

Knuckle under and knuckle down are two idioms that are similar but have very different meanings. 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 look at the difference between knuckle under and knuckle down, where the terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Knuckle under means to give in, to submit, to yield. The term knuckle under is an American phrase that was first used in the … [Read more...]

Piebald, skewbald, pinto or paint

Piebald, skewbald, pinto and paint are all terms that describe coloration patterns for horses. We will examine the difference between the terms piebald, skewbald, pinto and paint, where the terms come from and some examples of their use in sentences. A piebald horse is a horse with colored splotches on a white background, primarily black splotches on a white background. The skin under the darker splotches may or may not be pigmented, the skin under the white background is not pigmented. … [Read more...]

Have one’s ears pinned back vs pin one’s ears back

To have one's ears pinned back and to pin one's ears back are two phrases that are extremely similar but have very different meanings. We will examine the difference in meaning between these two phrases and where they are most often used, as well as some examples of their use in sentences. To have one's ears pinned back means to be severely scolded or to be bested in an athletic contest, soundly. The idiom have one's ears pinned back is an American phrase that came into use in the mid-1800s. … [Read more...]

Going bananas

Going bananas is an idiom that was originally coined in the United States. 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 idiom going bananas, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Going bananas means going crazy, becoming insane. It may als0 mean to go wild with anger, or to erupt with enthusiasm with accompanying cheering. The term going bananas is not … [Read more...]

Eyelet vs islet

Eyelet and islet are two words that are pronounced in the same way but have different spellings as well as different meanings. These types of words are called homophones. We will look at the meanings of the words eyelet and islet, where these words come from and some examples of their use in sentences. An eyelet is a hole that is punched in leather, plastic or fabric so that string or rope may be laced through it. The metal ring that reinforces such a hole is also called an eyelet. Eyelet is … [Read more...]

Erupt vs irrupt

Erupt and irrupt are two words that are often confused. We will discover the difference between the words erupt and irrupt, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Erupt means to explode suddenly and violently, to break out dramatically, to exhibit a mood change. Erupt describes the action of a volcano exploding, of a rash or skin blemishes breaking out on the skin, of a tooth breaking through the gums, as when a baby is teething. Related words are erupts, … [Read more...]

Beer vs bier

Beer and bier are two words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings. We will examine the meanings of the words beer and bier, where the terms come from and some examples of their use in sentences. Beer is an alcoholic beverage brewed from grain, usually malt, and flavored with hops. Beer is the third most popular beverage in the world, surpassed in popularity only by water and tea. Beer is the oldest alcoholic beverage, possibly dating back … [Read more...]

Vertigo vs vertiginous

Vertigo and vertiginous are two words that are sometimes confused. We will look at the meanings of the words vertigo and vertiginous, the relationship between the two, where these words come from and some examples of their use in sentences. Vertigo is a condition in which the subject feels dizzy or feels as if he is spinning or moving when in fact he is standing still. Vertigo usually causes a loss of balance, and perhaps sweating and nausea. It is a medical condition that may be caused by … [Read more...]

Based vs baste

Based and baste are two words that are pronounced in the same way, but are spelled differently and have two different meanings. They are homophones. We will examine the definitions of based and baste, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Based is the past tense of the verb base, which means to use something as a foundation or a starting point. Related words are bases and basing. The word base comes from the Old French word bas, meaning depth. Baste has … [Read more...]

Heebie-jeebies

Heebie-jeebies is an American term that is easily traceable to its source in the early twentieth century. It is a reduplicated phrase, which is a phrase in which part of the root word is repeated in another word. Heebie-jeebies is a rhyming reduplicated phrase. We will look at the meaning of the phrase heebie-jeebies, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Having the heebie-jeebies means to be in a state of nervousness, anxiety, or fear. The state of having the … [Read more...]

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