Quick entries: W, X, Y, Z

  • Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment.


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    Wait for the other shoe to drop: to wait for something to happen, especially an event precipitated by someone one has done earlier.

    Water under the bridge: something that is unimportant and worth forgetting or forgiving.

    Ways: informally, sometimes a singular noun meaning way or a long way—as in, we still have a ways to go.

    Wheelhouse: where one’s greatest strength lies.

    Whereby: through which or according to which.

    (The) whole nine yards: Completely, in every possible way. The exact origins of the idiom are mysterious, but it dates from the middle 20th century.

    Willy-nilly: It used to mean willingly or unwillingly or without consideration for those involved. It now usually means without a plan.


    Wiseacre: (1) a person who wishes to seem wise; (2) sarcastically, a wise person.

    With all due respect: a gentle way of signaling that you are about to say someone is very much mistaken. It’s overused.

    With that having been said: wordy. Consider whether you need it at all. If you do need it, try with that said or just that said.

    Withal: archaic for despite everything to the contrary or besides.

    Withitness: the state or quality of being with it—i.e., aware, knowledgeable, and perceptive.

    Wonder vs. wondermentWonderment has no meanings of its own and may always give way to wonder.

    Writ large: Writ is an archaic variant of written. In modern English, writ large is figurative for prominently exhibited or carried out.



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