Desperate vs disparate

Desperate describes a situation or feeling that is tremendously hopeless, that invokes despair. Animals or people who are desperate may exhibit risky behavior as they have nothing to lose. Desperate is an adjective, the adverb form is desperately and the noun form is desperateness. Desperate is derived from the Latin word desperatus, which means given up, despaired of. Disparate means absolutely different, not of a kind. Disparate describes things that are not comparable. Disparate is an … [Read more...]


A dewclaw is a vestigial toe that grows on dogs as well as certain other mammals, reptiles and birds. A dewclaw is non-functional, though there is some research that suggests that dewclaws help with traction when gripping something or running. A dewclaw is high on the leg and doesn't normally touch the ground. The term dewclaw is first seen in the 1570s, though the exact etymology is unknown. One theory is that the name comes from the fact that a dewclaw never touches the ground but only brushes … [Read more...]

Dew, do and due

Dew is the condensation that collects on surfaces from the water vapor in the air. Dew is often associated with the morning, and the word dew is often used figuratively to mean freshness, youth, innocence. Dew is primarily used as a noun but may also be used as a verb, related words are dews, dewed, dewing. Dewy is the adjective form. Do means to perform a task or action, to solve or work out a problem, to be adequate, to produce. Do is one of the top one thousand most frequently used words, … [Read more...]

Dent vs dint

A dent is a hollow depression in a surface, usually made by some sort of blow. Dent may also be used to describe a reduction in effect. Dent may also be used as a verb, related words are dents, dented and denting. Dent came into the English language in the fourteenth century as a variant of dint. Dint is an archaic word which means the impressions left by blows, particularly impressions left by a weapon. Dint comes from the Old English dynt which means stroke with a weapon. Today, dint is … [Read more...]

Done vs dun

Done is the past participle of do. Done may also be used as an adjective to mean 1.) completed, finished 2.) that food is cooked enough 3.) that something is used up or no longer occurring. Done comes from the Old English word don meaning make, act, perform, cause. Dun is a verb that means 1.) a brownish-gray color 2.) to relentlessly press for payment of a debt, related terms are duns, dunned, dunning and 3.) an ancient stone fort built in Ireland or Scotland. The adjective form of dun … [Read more...]

Dead ringer

A dead ringer is a person or thing that resembles an original to such an extreme amount that it is hard to tell the original and the dead ringer apart. Dead ringer is derived from the 1891 horse racing term, a ringer, which is a fast horse that has been substituted into a race to replace a slow one, often with a fraudulent name and pedigree, a ploy intended to throw off the racing odds. The dead in dead ringer means exact, precise. Dead ringer was not derived from the practice of supplying bells … [Read more...]

A dime a dozen

The phrase a dime a dozen refers to something very plentiful, common, and therefore, inexpensive. A dime is a unit of U.S. currency that is one tenth of a dollar, or ten cents. The dime was first minted in 1796. In the 1800s, many goods such as eggs or apples were advertised to cost a dime a dozen in the United States. A phrase that began as a way to tout good value for the money evolved into a phrase that means something nearly worthless by virtue of its commonness and easy availability. In … [Read more...]

Upload vs download

Upload means to transfer digital computer files from a client to a server. An example of uploading is transferring a video from a smartphone to a website, or transferring a PDF from a laptop to an archive website. The term upload comes into the English language in the late 1970s as computers develop. Upload may be used as either a noun or verb, related words are uploads, uploaded, uploading. Download means to transfer digital computer files from a server to a client. An example of downloading … [Read more...]

Devil’s advocate

A devil's advocate is a person who takes the contrary view only for the purpose of debate, one who tests the strength of an argument through lively opposition. A person who plays the devil's advocate does so in order to expose weak points in a philosophy and therefore examine a matter more thoroughly. A devil's advocate is not trying to "win" an argument, he is attempting to examine a problem from all sides. The term devil's advocate comes into English in the 1700s, from the Latin advocatus … [Read more...]

In the doldrums

In the doldrums is a phrase that means dispirited, feeling listless or mildly depressed. In the doldrums has a maritime origin, the Doldrums is an area in the ocean that is situated north of the equator and between two belts of trade winds. The trade winds meet in the Doldrums and neutralize each other, leaving the area windless. A sailing ship may be stranded in the Doldrums for a long period of time, running out of supplies and patience, waiting for a wind to blow it further on its journey. … [Read more...]

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